The innovative and disruptive nature of many platform companies places them in a unique and evolving legal landscape – and this is where Farella's lawyers in the Platforms Initiative excel.
Digital platforms and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allow us to share data, retrieve information, and interact with others. These platforms dominate how we consume news, livestream entertainment, play games, buy and sell goods, communicate with friends and strangers, and more. However, risk exists for both suppliers and users in this space because there is a significant amount of uncertainty with respect to the applicable laws.
What We Do
Our lawyers bring insight, knowledge, technical understanding, and practical legal experience to help platform companies and those who use them solve novel legal problems at the crossroads of law, technology, and policy.
For platform companies, third-party software extension developers, and others, the business aspects of their companies are often more complex than they appear and are not always well understood. Whether a start-up, early-stage, growth-oriented middle-market firm, or established company, the Platforms Initiative team works to resolve complex business challenges facing clients in this continually evolving space.
For example, platform companies and suppliers need practical and strategic guardrails that help leaders and employees comply with existing laws, user agreements, and other contractual arrangements to protect their operations and avoid unnecessary litigation. Farella lawyers have years of experience dealing with the statutes that impact platform-related activities, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Stored Communications Act, the California Consumer Privacy Act, the California Privacy Rights Act, and the European General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, among others.
The Platforms Initiative team is multidisciplinary in scope. We can advise start-ups through foundational tasks, such as company formation and capitalization, customer contracts, user agreements, terms of service, and software licensing, and deal with other legal and business concerns related to corporate, regulatory, employment, intellectual property, risk management, and policy. We offer right-sized staffing and often take on a trusted outside general counsel role to provide sophisticated yet affordable legal advice to start-up ventures. From building a product to working out effective legal strategies, to avoiding missteps, our team helps companies of all sizes navigate hurdles and sets them up for success as ongoing enterprises.
The team's counsel on risk avoidance and mitigation is targeted and practical for companies involved in data mining, analytics, aggregation, and public information scraping. These companies frequently run into thorny disputes arising from allegations in matters where Farella's team has notched significant successes, including highly publicized "David versus Goliath" wins.
In a precedent-setting lawsuit, Farella represented hiQ Labs, a venture capital-backed app developer, in securing a preliminary injunction preventing LinkedIn from terminating its access to LinkedIn members' public profile information.
API Extension Developers
Principles are expensive. Sometimes it's not wise to fight an entity with a bottomless checkbook but instead say, "Okay, you got me; we will adjust."
Disruptive Technology Companies
Many platform companies and platform-related suppliers are disrupting specific industries where existing laws aren't clearly applicable or are too cookie-cutter to work. Our attorneys are not afraid to lean into or challenge those laws. With our technical knowledge and fluency in law, we can explain to judges why specific laws don't work for up-and-coming technologies.
We also often find ourselves fighting for the disruptive underdog. We are willing and able to take on big companies on their behalf and have significant successes to show for it, including hiQ versus LinkedIn; BladeRoom versus Facebook (now Meta) and Emerson Electric; and CNEX versus Huawei.
Benefits and Advantages of a Dedicated Platforms Initiative Team
When working with cutting-edge technology enterprises, our foremost goals are always to help our clients mitigate risks, avoid costly litigation, and be successful. However, we are also very good at keeping bad situations from worsening. We are a resolution-oriented team that offers practical advice in settling disputes to ensure cost-effective and satisfactory outcomes.
In non-contentious and contentious matters, we are always mindful of each client's business objectives, which can be highly nuanced. Our team stays agile and lean. We're not too big that our fees are prohibitive, but not too small to handle tough, sophisticated matters. Even in high-stakes disputes, we strive for the appropriate balance of senior and junior attorneys without compromising quality outcomes.