Food & Beverage

Overview

Our practice touches on every aspect of the food and beverage industry, including national and local producers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, restaurateurs, mobile food vendors, food transportation and delivery companies, food packaging companies, brewers and pet-food companies. We advise our clients in all stages of evolution, from business entity formation and expansion to merger and acquisition, on virtually all their legal needs to help them grow their businesses, protect innovation and protect their brands. With deep corporate, litigation and intellectual property experience, our Food & Beverage industry team synergizes across practice groups to develop solutions for the unique challenges facing our clients.

Our Experience
We provide a full slate of services, including corporate compliance, mergers and acquisitions, vendor agreements, intellectual property counseling, franchise and distribution matters, real estate, insurance coverage, and employment and labor issues. In addition to these corporate legal and counseling services, our litigators stand ready when a dispute arises. For more than 50 years, our litigators have been called on to represent food and beverage industry clients in cases involving franchise and distribution issues, vendor disputes, intellectual property and trade secrets protection, employment law issues, merger and acquisition disputes, unfair competition, and consumer claims.
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Representative Matters

We have represented a wide range of food and beverage industry leaders, including:

  • securing utility and design patents for consumer products and manufacturing technologies on behalf of a nationally-recognized pet food brand 
  • securing utility patents for award-winning innovation for consumer product, packaging, manufacturing, agriculture and clean technologies on behalf of a nationally recognized premium food production and distribution company
  • representing a publicly traded bakery in connection with its $175 million sale to a national food producer, including the resolution of four class action/shareholder derivative lawsuits challenging the sale 
  • defending a producer of snack cakes and sweet baked goods against class action claims brought by independent distributors of the producer alleging breach of contract and related claims
  • defending a national seller of vegetable, fruit and flower seeds against a putative class action alleging that its website violated state wiretapping and privacy laws by purportedly collecting information about the users of website
  • defeating an unfair labor practice charge brought by a union and a union employee against a national meat packaging company following a two-week hearing before the National Labor Relations Board 
  • representing a U.S. Department of Agriculture organization created and funded through a commodity checkoff program in its development, marketing and licensing of a new direct functional food additive for meat packers
  • representing a U.S.-based coffee roaster and retailer in connection with its international expansion plans, including the development of a product delivery strategy to minimize tariffs to which its products will be subject
  • representing a company that develops restaurant automation technology in connection with the procurement and enforcement of its intellectual property portfolio
  • representing one of the world’s largest suppliers of fresh and prepared produce in matters involving its intellectual property portfolio
  • representing a global leader in the manufacture, marketing and distribution of spices, herbs, seasonings and flavors to the entire food industry:
    • in connection with multiple multimillion dollar acquisitions
    • in a broad array of complex contractual matters to enable consolidation of its corporate offices into a new global headquarters 
  • resolving a putative class action lawsuit brought against a restaurateur alleging that it improperly charged beverage taxes to its customers
  • securing the dismissal of a putative class action brought on behalf of nearly 500 independent distributors of a publicly traded food production company that alleged the company improperly charged them an administrative fee in connection with the collection of federal employment taxes and failed to remit the taxes to the IRS 
  • serving as outside general counsel to a national producer and distributor of frozen dessert products, including a complex lawsuit involving a purchase option for the acquisition of intellectual property
  • representing a mobile food vendor in connection with the management and enforcement of its intellectual property portfolio 
  • defending a supplier of custom nutrient premixes and ingredients in a patent infringement case based on allegations that it infringed on five separate patents 
  • serving as outside general counsel to a bottled spring water producer, including the representation of the company in connection with its sale to a publicly traded international food company
  • representing an on-demand convenience delivery service catering to snack food and convenience store products, handling a wide variety of matters, including real estate, employment, intellectual property, litigation and tax
  • securing summary judgment in favor of a food products importer in a complex case alleging that the importer was responsible for damage to the products caused by insect infestation 
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Publications

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