Trade and Professional Associations
Keller and Heckman attorneys advise many professional, trade, and other non-profit association clients, serving in both an external general counsel capacity and as specialized subject matter experts. We advise associations on antitrust issues, as well as corporate governance, incorporation, employment, and organizational issues. Our attorneys draft and negotiate a variety of agreements central to association operations and assist with intellectual property matters, endorsement arrangements, and co-branding initiatives. We counsel association clients on general employment matters, and draft executive and staff employment agreements. We also help associations implement privacy and data security programs and evaluate legal risks of e-commerce activities. In addition, we counsel on liability and insurance matters related to association activities, assist in responding to third-party subpoenas, and handle litigation or claims.
Recognizing that associations often involve competitor collaborations, antitrust compliance is top of mind in assisting association clients. Our attorneys address trade and professional association antitrust concerns, such as association membership criteria, statistical programs, certification programs, and joint research activities. We counsel clients on a wide range of antitrust subjects, including relations with competitors; distribution arrangements with wholesalers, dealers, and retail customers; pricing practices, including permissible price discussions and price discrimination issues; unfair practices, including misuse of advertising; exclusive dealing arrangements; and mergers and acquisitions.
Keller and Heckman attorneys advise clients on issues under the Sherman, Clayton, Federal Trade Commission, and Robinson-Patman Acts, and state antitrust statutes. We prepare and implement tailored antitrust compliance programs to ensure that each association’s activities comply with antitrust and other applicable requirements, while meeting membership promotion and retention goals, minimizing product liability exposure and maximizing opportunities for non-dues revenues.
We routinely review meeting agendas, minutes, and correspondence that may contain information with antitrust implications, paying particular attention to permissible discussions at meetings, membership rules, services provided to non-members, standards and certification programs, statistical activities, joint research, and credit information exchanges. We assist clients in obtaining business review letters from appropriate regulatory authorities and advise clients on how to structure joint research and development projects in compliance with guidelines for collaborations among competitors.
Regulatory and Legislative
Keller and Heckman attorneys work closely with association public relations counsel and are experienced in industry crisis management. We regularly provide written reports and other information on legal, regulatory, and legislative subjects of interest to associations and their members, covering regional, national, and international developments. Frequent subjects include environmental law issues, worker safety and OSHA compliance, employee relations, food and drug matters, hazard communication, product and chemical safety, and transportation matters, as well as advertising, privacy, and data security questions. We also represent associations before legislative and regulatory bodies, as needed.
Trademark and Copyright
Keller and Heckman helps association clients develop trademark and copyright strategies. We prepare and file applications for registration, develop guidelines and license agreements for use of trademarks, address intellectual property rights in contracts, and handle intellectual property infringement matters.
- Provided advice to trade associations on insurance matters, including event cancellation insurance related to the COVID pandemic
- Represented food trade associations in regulatory matters in North and South America, Europe, and Asia
- Provided regulatory and general support regarding chemical control, sustainability, worker safety, and science and governance matters for several trade associations, in addition to counseled on antitrust and corporate matters
- Provided strategic advice and regulatory support to trade associations to further the policy interests of member companies throughout the food packaging supply chain
- Provided strategic legal advice to chemical industry trade associations on legislative, regulatory, and public policy issues
- Represented a large number of trade associations regarding the implementation of portions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and reached a successful outcome after several meetings with FDA officials and the submission of written comments
- Represented a major national trade association in connection with proposed revisions to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
- Represented national trade association in Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advertising matters
- Advised association clients on privacy legislation and compliance initiatives.
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Areas of Focus
Counseling clients on relations with competitors, distribution arrangements with wholesalers, pricing practices, misuse of advertising, exclusive dealing arrangements, and mergers and acquisitions; advising clients on the manner in which information may be exchanged among association members; reviewing discounts given to members in connection with trade shows and other programs; attending association meetings at which sensitive subjects may be discussed; and counseling clients on compliance with information requests from government agencies or third-party antitrust inquiries
Advising clients on employment-related issues and questions, helping them create employee compliance manuals, and negotiating CEO and other employment agreements
Advising on corporate governance, incorporation, and organizational issues; counseling clients on maintaining their tax-exempt status draft; and negotiating hotel, convention center, public relations, consulting, website development and hosting, and other vendor contracts
Preparing and filing applications for registration, development guidelines, or license agreements for use of member logos and other marks; addressing intellectual property rights in contracts and agreements; and handling infringement issues
Preparing comments on proposed regulations and legislation; representing organizations in proceedings before regulatory bodies; preparing testimony on proposed legislation; advising on regulatory and legislative strategy; and drafting legislation
Representing clients in policy matters, both directly and in an amicus capacity