Farella Braun+Martel’s Internet Law Group is committed to the evolution of the internet as an open medium for dynamic commerce and communication. Our attorneys are passionate in their shared belief that the internet should be a space where entrepreneurs have the flexibility and freedom to experiment with new and forward-looking business models. Our firm has a dynamic internet team with wide ranging capabilities to serve the critical needs of emerging and established companies in the areas of litigation, intellectual property, Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) compliance, business transactions and privacy law. Like all of Farella’s industry teams, our Internet Law team leverages the experience of various corporate and litigation practice groups.
Our professionals understand the nuances of conducting business on the internet from both a legal and a practical perspective. We have assisted clients with internet-specific issues dealing with copyright / DMCA compliance, trademark, tax, software, licensing, corporate structures and funding through public and private markets. Much of our experience is in the context of litigation and trial work; however, we also have assisted clients implement corporate, employment, regulatory and retail programs specific to their corporate goals and objectives.
Our cross-discipline team assists our clients with:
- Regulatory Rules on Internet Marketing
- CAN SPAM Act Polices
- Post Cyber Attack Hacking Prosecution
- Merchant Payment dealings and disputes
- Asset Protection and Agreement Enforcement
- Clearance, Registration, and Acquisition of domain names and Websites
- Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act
(ACPA) and other unfair competition (e.g., California’s 17200)
- Trademarks and Copyright monitoring of works used by third-party Websites
- Copyright, Trademark, and Other Notice development for Websites
Our clients realize the benefits of our experience through our approach to navigate strategically the intersection of established legal precedent and the constant evolution or creation of new mediums of expression, display and delivery. In addition to our aggressive legal approach, our lean teams scale to the speed of the internet.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Defense
We have developed a strong track record of vigorously defending online businesses including search engines, file-hosting services and others against claims of copyright infringement. Our creative team of attorneys has litigated matters involving the DMCA, the Stored Communications Act, the fair-use doctrine, online privacy and free speech. Our experience is demonstrated through our clients’ success in resolving copyright matters with first-of-their-kind legal arguments in various jurisdictions across the United States. We also have focused experience counseling clients regarding the changing aspects of copyright law and the DMCA.
Companies have recently demonstrated an increased importance, and therefore value, of patent portfolios. Top technology companies are paying billions for portfolios to protect and expand their market share. Our litigation teams have deep experience with the patent litigation process, and recently won a rare federal jury verdict in a patent matter. We take a business view of patent litigation, because we understand that our clients’ core competency is in producing products not litigation. What this means is that we can, and do, battle when needed, but also understand that in many cases licensing or other settlement is more profitable to our client long-term.
Cybersquatting and deceptive domain name usage could be the most recognized forms of internet trademark infringement, but they are not the only forms. Unscrupulous individuals and companies regularly attempt to obtain a strategic advantage over their competitors by leveraging other’s trademarks in online materials without permission. We have extensive experience assisting clients to distinguish between fair use and actionable trademark infringement. Regardless of how your trademark appears in unapproved online (e.g., Web sites, metadata, key words or advertising), what have handled the situation and can assist you to rectify the problem in a quick, discrete and cost effective solution that meets your needs.
Depending on your viewpoint, or perhaps how data intensive your business is, you may feel that “privacy is dead” like some internet leaders or you may take a polar opposite stance that privacy is more important now than it ever has been. Every company that manages data electronically has the potential for a cyber attack, yet many companies have an entire business model based on the ability to track and therefore sell usage patterns. Privacy remains of huge importance in virtually every marketplace, and we have experience representing companies that take both positions.
Consumer Class Action
The internet has changed access to information and commerce in ways that we cannot yet comprehend. The ingenuity of internet pioneers pushes the boundaries of the laws and regulations to protect consumers and buyers of services that were developed years before the internet was invented. This nexus creates a unique opportunity for enterprising members of the plaintiff’s bar, and a quagmire for the defense bar. Core to Farella’s litigation services is a deep understanding of California’s § 17200 and the federal consumer protection laws developed through years of litigation and trails as the plaintiff and defendant in consumer class actions.
Cloud / Storage
As companies increase their leverage of the internet for business processes and move towards off site electronic data storage and the Software-as-a-Service model, reductions in expenses occur and new risks are created. We regularly assist clients contend with this new litany of risks including, but not limited to: data breaches, hosting of illegal content, inaccessibility of critical business information, and meeting legal and ethical obligations to identify, preserve, and produce discoverable information in response to litigation. Our business lawyers also assist clients with regards to contracts and ensuring contract provisions meet their needs while maintaining necessary protections in this developing business model.
Insurance Coverage for Internet Disputes
Farella’s Insurance Coverage Group has maintained a presence at the forefront of coverage issues affecting the technology and information industries that predates the internet. The depth and breadth of our practice is unmatched by any other policyholder practice, and we have obtained insurance recoveries for liabilities and losses arising out of our clients’ internet operations. These matters have included coverage for intellectual property liabilities (including patent, trademark and copyright infringement), data security breaches, losses arising from defective software, and other commercial torts. While many of our coverage clients wish to remain anonymous, we have represented companies including Visa, Coupons, Inc., Prosper Marketplace, Inc., McAfee, and Verisign seeking coverage under general liability, technology errors and omissions, data security, media liability and directors and officers policies. In addition, we have advised, and actively litigated for, a broad array of technology clients seeking insurance recoveries, including Atmel, Seagate, Oracle, NVIDIA and Applied Materials.