According to a 2010 World Technology Evaluation Center study, nanotechnology breakthroughs are having a significant impact on the global marketplace, with current estimates showing $91 billion in nanotechnology-enabled products on the market in the United States and $254 billion worldwide. The economic impact of nanotechnologycontaining products and related jobs is forecasted to increase exponentially, doubling every three years and resulting in a projected $3 trillion market and 6 million workers by 2020.
Nanotechnology has already had a profound effect on the development of many industries, including chemicals, electronics, health care products, textiles, and homeland security. By 2020, nanotechnology will be seamlessly integrated into a broad spectrum of processes and products. While the use of nanotechnology undoubtedly has many benefits for business and society, it requires new business practices and approaches toward risk and liability assessment, as well as careful monitoring of ever-increasing government regulation.
We have helped many of our clients navigate the complex business and legal issues spawned by this evolving technology and its diverse applications. Our approach is individually tailored to each client, using a multidisciplinary team of lawyers drawn from differing practices including intellectual property, government regulation, environmental, life sciences, product liability, corporate, labor and employment, and antitrust to address each client’s particular needs.
Intellectual Property Protection
Intellectual property protection is critical throughout the product development life cycle to nurture and leverage innovation and maximize company valuation. The nature of nanotechnology science and applications demands a multidisciplinary team that embraces a diverse range of skills and capabilities. Our
Intellectual Property lawyers possess the scientific education and engineering backgrounds vital to meet the challenge of protecting a wide range of nanotechnology applications and products. We have extensive experience
protecting intellectual property assets from initial conception through product maturity, as well as assessing infringement concerns. We assist in leveraging intellectual property assets to maximize the ability to use nanotechnology-containing applications in a wide range of products and processes.
Environmental and Regulatory Compliance
Nanotechnology companies are potentially subject to differentregulatory and compliance regimes from competing foreign, federal, and state governmental entities. These regulations can have a significant impact on the manufacture and use of nanotechnology products. We understand how nanotechnology products fit into existing regulatory structures, and we track the various ever-changing
regulations promulgated by federal agencies such as the EPA, FDA, and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). We have experience navigating nanotechnology companies through the environmental, regulatory, and contract requirements necessary to bring nanotechnology-containing products to market.
Product Liability Litigation and Risk Management Counseling
We have extensive national and internationalexperience defending product liability and mass tort claims for our clients and have defended a wide range of claims
involving the aerospace, chemical, polymer, electrical, mechanical, medical device, pharmaceutical, automotive, and other industries. Our thoughtful, innovative, and cost-effective solutions have enabled our clients to succeed in confronting significant product liability and mass tort issues. In addition to our litigation experience, we regularly develop and help clients implement proactive solutions and risk management initiatives to help avoid litigation altogether.
Bringing nanotechnology-containing applications to the market frequently requires substantial investments through the life of the company. Our corporate lawyers have significant experience in establishing creative legal approaches to enable companies to attract and retain the necessary capital required to bring these applications to market. We apply our extensive experience to helping early and middle-stage technology companies structure themselves to grow and prepare for the future.
Contracting and Joint Ventures
Nanotechnology companies frequently partner with others as their companies grow. These partners can include large industry leaders seeking licensing arrangements with innovation enterprises, governmental, and quasigovernmental entities providing research and development funds, and university and research institutes. Effective preparation, negotiation, and administration of these agreements are critical to maximize the benefits of a proposed research collaboration, government contract, or grant award. We have extensive knowledge of federal government contracts law and assist with developing effective collaboration strategies to work with university partners to leverage federal and state research funding.
Workplace, Labor and Employment Issues
While using cutting-edge technologies, many nanotechnology companies face the same old labor issues. Our lawyers represent private and public employers in employment litigation, traditional labor law, wage/hour issues, competition-related litigation, immigration matters, workers’ compensation proceedings, and administrative proceedings before the U.S. Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), and various state agencies. A large part of our practice is devoted to helping our clients achieve their goals of withstanding challenges by government agencies, labor organizations, and employees through counseling and strategic planning.
- Representing an emerging technology company in developing and commercializing nanotechnology-enabled drug delivery devices.
- Representing a research institution in the licensing of nanoparticle manufacturing technology for commercial development.
- Counseling a Fortune 100 technology company on environmental, health, and safety regulatory matters.
- Representing a major information technology company in the acquisition of a quantum dot manufacturing facility.
- Representing an emerging materials technology company regarding development, protection, and marketing strategies for nano-enabled composites.
- Assisting a biotechnology company with intellectual property protections related to clinical trials involving a nanotechnology-based medical device.
- Negotiating a license and development agreement involving several nanotechnology-based products, including medical devices, sensors, and actuator systems, between multiple commercial and university partners.
- Counseling an emerging technology incubator and related companies regarding a range of research, development, government grant, and investment issues.
- Developing a commercialization licensing approach for nanotechnology-enabled microvalve technology for use in assistive devices.
- Representing companies that develop and manufacture sensors, instruments, and data collection platforms in securing patent protection for inventions involving the production and use of carbon nanostructures.
- Assisting a manufacturing client with the development of an environmental, health, and safety policy to address the use and distribution of nanomaterials.
- Representing an emerging technology firm and a range of other nanotechnology employers in immigration matters, including sponsorship of employment-based visas (H-1B, L-1, E-1, E-2, E-3, and TN).
- Representing a range of employers in permanent residency sponsorship, both within and outside the labor certification process.
- Assisting a technology firm in a government audit of an H-1B sponsorship.
Product Liability eNewsletter - Spring 2014
April 28, 2014
FDA Issues Draft Nanotechnology Guidance to Food and Cosmetics Industries - Product Liability Update
April 25, 2012