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Decentralized Virtual Currencies|
Bitcoin and other decentralized virtual currencies are quickly becoming a major force in online payments. However, decentralized virtual currencies raise complex regulatory and consumer protection issues. Perkins Coie is working with industry participants to navigate these complex issues.
Recent government enforcement actions by the Department of Justice, Office of Homeland Security, IRS, Secret Service, SEC and various state agencies, recent guidance issued by the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which asserts that businesses using virtual currencies might be engaged in money transmission activity, suggest that the government intends to apply long-standing, wide-ranging and hard-to-interpret money services business laws to the virtual currency industry. In light of the complicated legal landscape and the high stakes involved with noncompliance, individuals and companies connected to the virtual currency ecosystem should promptly seek guidance.
Perkins Coie, has a long history representing Internet and technology leaders, is at the front lines of these issues – helping clients navigate the thorny challenges faced by bitcoin and other virtual currency businesses.
Perkins Coie provides regulatory investigations and compliance counseling, litigation support, consumer protection counseling, and business transaction assistance, regarding a range of bitcoin and digital currency systems, services and products. Our clients include virtual currency exchanges, payment processors, investors, and industry associations.
Perkins Coie provides paralegal and legal document assistance to the virtual currency industry clients with respect to various regulatory issues, including compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act, FinCEN regulations, and securities and commodities laws and regulations. We help them draft anti-money laundering policies and organize their internal policies and practices for compliance. We have also assisted these clients in responding to inquiries from federal and state law enforcement and regulatory agencies. Our experienced investigations and white collar defense group regularly defends corporate clients and individuals against criminal and civil allegations of fraud, money laundering and other misconduct. Our defense practice includes particular experience in defending clients and property against government asset seizures and forfeitures.
Areas of Emphasis
White Collar & Investigations|
Perkins Coie's White Collar & Investigations practice successfully represents companies and individuals in a wide range of complex matters at the federal, state and local levels, and advises clients on all aspects of corporate compliance programs. Our team includes high-profile attorneys with years of experience conducting and evaluating complex investigations and representing clients in high-stakes litigation. Our ranks include former U.S. Attorneys and Assistant U.S. Attorneys, a former SEC Enforcement Branch Chief, SEC counsel, a U.S. State Department attorney, state prosecutors, and other former government regulators.
We defend individuals and Fortune 500 companies, both domestic and international, facing the most serious criminal and civil allegations, including health care fraud, securities violations, and antitrust violations, as well as False Claims Act and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) offenses. We conduct sensitive and high-profile internal investigations for corporate clients and advise clients about proactively addressing industry and client-based probes to mitigate reputational, brand, and litigation risk. We also design and implement corporate compliance procedures, provide training programs, and audit those procedures to measure compliance. Whether preparing policies to avoid problems or dealing with employee misconduct after it has occurred, we use our expertise to help clients find practical, effective solutions to their toughest compliance problems.
Our attorneys, paralegals and legal assistants have managed numerous parallel criminal and civil proceedings with federal and state prosecutors as well as many government agencies and regulatory bodies, including the Department of Justice (DOJ),Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Federal Reserve, Federal Trade Commission (FTC),Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). We also have substantial criminal appellate expertise, in both federal and state courts.
By virtue of our experience and reputation as former prosecutors and government attorneys, we have the tools to represent our clients vigorously and to negotiate the best possible outcome in high-profile matters across the nation.
Areas Of Focus
- Asset Seizure and Forfeiture
- Compliance and Internal Controls
- Computer Crimes
- Corporate Social Responsibility & Supply Chain Compliance
- Environmental and Wildlife
- False Claims Act
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
- Healthcare Fraud
- Higher Education
- Public Corruption
- Securities Enforcement
- Represented Google in negotiating a non-prosecution agreement with the District of Rhode Island related to Canadian online pharmacy ads.
- Conducted internal investigation for a Fortune 500 company in matters involving allegations of insider trading and violations of the FCPA.
- Represented Northrop Grumman in a False Claims Act case under the Coast Guard Deepwater Program, obtaining summary judgment and dismissal of Realtor’s claim seeking $720 million in damages in connection with eight 123-foot patrol vessels delivered to the Coast Guard.
- Conducted internal investigation for a major university into potential false claims violations relating to federal grant funding.
- Represented and obtained a dismissal for Evergreen International Airlines in a fraud lawsuit brought under the federal False Claims Act.
- Served as court-appointed trustee in bankruptcy fraud matters involving over $100 million in life settlement funds.
- Served as lead trial counsel and obtained a $108 million federal court judgment against the former mayor of East Chicago, Indiana, and his former aides in a groundbreaking racketeering case brought by the State of Indiana.
- Served as court-appointed bankruptcy examiner to conduct an investigation involving a company that manages over $100 million in government pension programs.
- Represented former CEO of global financial services company in a matter involving claims of market manipulation by the DOJ and CFTC.
- Represented The Boeing Company and two of its senior executives in a federal securities class action related to the 787 Dreamliner airplane; obtained dismissal of case with prejudice.
- Represented the former Chief Risk Officer of Countrywide Financial Corporation, the country's largest mortgage lender, in investigations by the SEC and other authorities and in securities litigation.
- Secured dismissal of SEC insider trading claim and release of frozen assets in SEC v. Sanchez on summary judgment where the SEC alleged defendant traded on inside information ahead of an announced corporate takeover.
- Successfully defended an individual against civil forfeiture and criminal racketeering charges relating to internet gambling, obtaining dismissal and return of seized property, following extensive trial and appellate court practice.
National Leaders In White Collar Crime
Our attorneys have been widely recognized for their excellence and have earned top ratings in Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, and Super Lawyers. Members of the Investigations team are recognized as leaders in their fields and serve in leadership positions in the America Bar Association’s National White Collar Crime Committee and the Association of SEC Alumni (ASECA) as well as other national and state associations and foundations.
Our attorneys also serve as frequent speakers at national conferences on emerging white collar issues and as authors and commentators in the press; they have been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post,BusinessWeek, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune and other TV and print media.
Social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube are not only challenging traditional business and marketing models, they are also giving rise to a plethora of new legal issues. Perkins Coie understands the challenges presented by this new media because our attorneys work on a daily basis with clients across the social media spectrum. We work with pure social media companies, as well as retailers, manufacturers and traditional media companies launching their own social networking features or participating on other platforms.
Perkins Coie's Social Media industry group takes a multidisciplinary approach to solving our clients' legal issues, thus encompassing all of the ways social media intersects with their businesses. Perkins Coie has extensive experience in dealing with social media issues commonly arising in the areas of privacy and data security, user-generated content and content liability, and labor and employment, among others.
Social Media Startups
Retail Strategy: E-Commerce, Branding and Marketing
Retailers and manufacturers are embracing social media to market their products or launch their own networks as new brand channels. At the same time, they are striving to protect their brand online against fake fan pages or negative messaging. Because our lawyers work with pure social media players on their terms and conditions, we understand how retailers can effectively manage their social media presence. We also work with retailers and traditional media companies on the following:
- Trademark and brand protection
- Product/service marketing on social media sites
- Purchase of advertising
- Deployment of Web sites or online product launches that leverage social media technologies
- Review and negotiation of platform and partner agreements
We regularly counsel our clients on privacy and social media issues involving a combination of state, federal, and international laws and regulations. We have counseled numerous clients on development of social networking sites and communities to ensure compliance with current and emerging privacy, data security laws, and Internet safety best practices. We have also counseled clients on the unique privacy issues and terms-of-use obligations relating to marketing and data collection through social networking sites and have assisted in the drafting of privacy policies. In addition, we help social media clients respond to legal and governmental requests for information about their members.
In the area of enforcement, we have prosecuted and conducted investigations on behalf of social media clients against spammers, hackers, phishers and other computer system abusers and criminals. For example, in 2009 we helped Facebook secure a $711 million judgment against Sanford Wallace, one of the world's most notorious spammers, commonly known as the "Spam King."
User-Generated Content and Content Liability
As part of their social media strategy, companies are now using blogs, micro-blogs and even customer reviews to enhance their online identities and promote their products. At the same time, they need to be aware of potential liability for user-generated content and other content that may be posted or used in connection with such activities, including intellectual property claims, defamation claims and rules established by the Federal Trade Commission, and understand the scope and limits of the protections available through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and Communications Decency Act (CDA). We have a deep understanding of the ways in which companies are leveraging user-generated content and help them navigate a minefield of laws and regulations. We have represented Internet and social media clients in a wide variety of litigation and disputes involving content liability claims, including copyright, trademark, trade secret, right of publicity and advertising law claims, and cases involving the application of the DMCA and the CDA.
Social media poses a set of issues that touch on everything from maintaining confidential company information to the appropriate use of these tools in the workplace. The potential power and utility of these sites can quickly give way to legal and public relations disasters. Before employment, employers may be gathering too much information about potential applicants. During employment, employers may be opening themselves to liability for statements by their employees, for wage and hour issues, or even for prohibiting employees from engaging in certain types of social media use. And, after employment, employers may not be taking proactive steps to protect their trade secrets. Drawing on both our deep knowledge of employment law and our familiarity with cutting-edge technology, we help clients define what is right for them and draft online social media workplace policies that support their goals.
Our team also engages in regular use of social networking platforms both professionally and personally. This use has helped our team truly understand and anticipate the complex issues that can arise in these settings and provide a means for communicating relevant news and updates to clients who use these services themselves.
As a further service to our clients, our attorneys regularly post to Perkins Coie's blogs. These blogs offer forums to share our insights and stay abreast of rapid changes surrounding Internet and social media-related issues. See our news section for more information on our blogs. Additionally, our attorneys frequently write on this topic for online and print publications and regularly serve as speakers at numerous e-commerce, privacy and social networking events.
The growth of the Internet and e-commerce has been accompanied by an ongoing shakeout as companies define and refine their competitive niche. We help them respond through redeployment of key intellectual properties and more traditional corporate solutions, including mergers and acquisitions.
Electronic Financial Services
Financial services, payment products and payment systems have been redefined by the Internet, the development of new electronic payment infrastructures, and the entrance into the financial services market of new payment service providers. Our Electronic Financial Services practice provides regulatory compliance counseling, consumer protection counseling, and business transaction assistance regarding a wide range of payments matters related to emerging and traditional payment systems, services and products. Our clients include technology infrastructure providers, wireless carriers, online and physical retailers, payment service providers, social networking companies, software application developers, credit and debit card networks and payment standards associations.
Capabilities and Experience
- Mobile banking, mobile payments, mobile commerce and mobile marketing
- Online payments, e-commerce and peer-to-peer payments
- Virtual currencies, electronic cash wallets and real money transfers
- Decentralized crypto-currency programs
- Gift card, rebate card and other stored-value programs
- Loyalty and membership cards and “Points” programs
- Emerging payment systems and payment processing
- Credit card processor, payment gateway and merchant agreements
- Private label, co-branded, corporate and purchasing credit card agreements
- Payment processing provider service agreements
- Payment Industry technology standards and associations
- Licensing of technology and software
- Encryption, electronic authentication and digital signatures
- Channel distribution and strategic partnerships
Areas of Emphasis
- Gift certificate laws
- Unclaimed property and escheat laws
- Money transmission and “Money Service Business” laws
- Anti-money laundering laws and programs
- Consumer lending and loan brokering laws
- Electronic fund transfers laws including those applicable to recurring payments
- Financial privacy and data security laws and regulations, including Gramm-Leach-Bliley
- Credit, debit and ATM association rules
- Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standards
- Consumer protection laws related to payments products and services
- Consumer credit laws and regulations
- Fair debt collection practices
- Gambling, lotteries and sweepstakes
- Coupons and rebates
- Electronic authentication and digital signature requirements
We advise and counsel financial services clients regarding a variety of legal matters:
Our clientele encompasses a wide variety of financial institutions and vendors to the industry, including investment advisers, broker-dealers, securities firms, family offices, asset managers, registered investment funds and other fiduciaries, bank holding companies, commercial banks, non-bank lenders, mortgage lenders, leasing companies, insurance companies, electronic commerce and mobile payments systems providers, software application developers and other technology service providers, private equity and hedge funds and institutional real estate companies.
Retail & Consumer Products
The competitive environment for retailers becomes more complex all the time. Online technology and the explosion of big-box stores have provided consumers with the ability to find the right product, at the best price, more quickly than ever before. Rapidly shifting retail trends, fueled by extensive media coverage and demanding and well-informed consumers, force retailers and property owners to contend with fierce competition, price pressure, marketing challenges and employment issues.
Perkins Coie’s Retail & Consumer Products industry group understands the highly competitive environment in which world-class retailers, manufacturers and distributors, as well as national real estate landlords and tenants, operate. Our attorneys work with a diverse range of clients in the retail, consumer products and real estate industries throughout the United States and in certain international jurisdictions. With 16 domestic offices across the United States and three international offices in Asia, we can help clients meet their strategic goals. We advise clients on a range of issues including tax, marketing, litigation, intellectual property, labor, real estate,franchising, consumer protection and bankruptcy.
We have represented some of the world's most admired and successful companies in a variety of issues commonly faced by retailers:
Internet Tax Matters
We have represented some of the most significant e-tailers in a variety of matters, including retail sales tax collection obligations, catalog and Internet sales, application of sales tax to the purchase of consumables, and capital assets and property tax disputes for big-box retailers and mall owners.
We have advised clients on the laws governing privacy, spam and false advertising for their advertising and promotional campaigns.
Intellectual Property Litigation
Our attorneys have represented many traditional retailers in a variety of intellectual property disputes across the country. We have represented numerous companies with a significant retail component in patent, trademark, copyright and unfair competition litigation, as well as companies that manufacture, market and distribute products for sale by traditional retailers.
Trademark & Copyright
The Trademark & Copyright group has experience in all aspects of trademark and copyright counseling, rights acquisitions and maintenance. Our attorneys help our retail and consumer products clients develop intellectual property strategies and programs (both in the United States and internationally), identify and perfect intellectual property rights, and assert or defend these rights in court.
Our Patent group focuses on procuring patents and providing patent advice to both traditional retailers as well as e-commerce companies. We have procured many patents for manufacturers of consumer products.
Labor & Employment
Our Labor & Employment attorneys regularly counsel some of the largest national retailers on a variety of issues, from day-to-day employment counseling, to strategic planning and advice, to the defense of aggressive class action litigation. We have represented, advised and defended clients throughout the nation.
Real Estate & Land Use
We have assisted a wide range of retail clients and owners and tenants in connection with their real estate needs, including acquisitions and dispositions, land use and leasing.
Our attorneys have represented franchisors in trademark selection, clearance and counseling, domestic and international trademark registration, domain name counseling, registration and enforcement, trademark coexistence and consent agreements, and enforcement of trademark rights.
Consumer Protection Actions
We have a broad range of experience in handling Consumer Protection Act complaints, investigations and litigation.
Retailers are not immune to financial trouble. Members of our Bankruptcy group have represented clients in virtually every aspect of the retail business, including retail debtors in reorganization and liquidation proceedings; committees of creditors, purchasers of assets, individual unsecured creditors, trade creditors with reclamation and similar claims, secured creditor, and trustees and receivers.