Whether a domestic company operates abroad or an overseas company looks to do business in the United States, both need a legal team that serves as a bridge between different business and legal systems. The Gibbons International Team boasts cultural and commercial fluency in international matters that support our handling of transactions, counseling, and dispute resolutions throughout Europe, Asia, and Latin America. We understand the nuances and complexities of advising clients headquartered all over the world on their U.S. operations. We also help clients make inroads in new markets by building connections – for example, we partner with organizations dedicated to initiating and strengthening business ties between U.S. businesses and those in countries such as Ireland, Italy, and Israel. A number of our attorneys have practiced and/or are licensed in foreign countries, which provides a deep understanding of critical legal and cultural differences. Various team members are bilingual and can conduct legal and transactional business entirely in foreign languages.
Areas of Focus
Competition Law and Antitrust Counseling
We regularly handle matters involving international trade and commerce and advise clients on competition law. The firm also has a long, multifaceted history of representing clients in criminal and civil antitrust litigation dating back to our role as defense counsel in the landmark United States Supreme Court decision, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Grp. Our experience includes defending companies alleged to have participated in international cartels and working with regulators in the U.S. and abroad to resolve competition law claims.
Gibbons provides the full range of legal assistance that franchisors require, including in connection with international franchise and distribution arrangements and the development, enforcement, and protection of these relationships. Our tax lawyers advise corporations on the U.S. tax implications of conducting business both in the U.S. and overseas. We frequently assist clients in planning and structuring their U.S. operations to take into account the tax rules relating to income sourcing, withholding, tax credits, and particular U.S. statutory provisions, such as the branch profits tax and the Foreign Interests in Real Property Tax Act.
Criminal Defense and Internal Investigations
Gibbons represents foreign governments, multinational corporations, and executive, professional, and other individuals from all over the world in a wide variety of criminal, quasi-criminal, civil, administrative, and regulatory matters, many international in scope, at all levels of the U.S. federal and state judicial systems. We also regularly work with counsel in other countries to help defend clients in non-U.S. and multinational criminal, civil, and regulatory matters, including in areas such as competition, securities, and anti-corruption law.
Gibbons provides corporate and transactional services to international public and private clients seeking to make acquisitions, strategic alliances, joint ventures, or investments in the U.S., as well as to U.S. public and private clients seeking to make such investments in international markets. We handle Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) and other complex regulatory filings to complete these transactions in an efficient and timely manner.
Gibbons represents companies on a broad range of public policy matters, including advocating for legislation to amend U.S. trade laws in areas such as intellectual property. We likewise counsel and assist clients in dealing with port authorities and other public entities that regulate or facilitate commerce and transportation. Our attorneys monitor and analyze trade issues, organize and manage coalitions of like-minded interests, and lobby governmental officials and staff at the federal, state, and international levels.
The growth of global markets requires every client to consider patent protection outside of the U.S. The firm has many years of experience preparing, filing, and prosecuting a large variety of foreign patent applications. Through a network of foreign agents, Gibbons designs each client’s global patent portfolio to assure proper protection in the appropriate countries. We also coordinate the prosecution effort to maximize coverage and minimize conflicts and costs during prosecution and maintenance periods. In addition, our attorneys are experienced in appeals, interferences, and oppositions outside of the U.S. and are well versed in coordinating these diverse proceedings for the maximum benefit of our clients worldwide. Gibbons also has negotiated numerous license, distribution, and collaboration agreements in a variety of industries in the international business communities. Our attorneys have extensive experience overseas prosecuting and defending patent, trademark, copyright, unfair competition, and trade secret matters. The firm also handles international trademark and copyright infringement and dilution matters, as well as foreign customs seizures and international licensing and distribution disputes.
Real Property and Environmental
Gibbons attorneys have worked as part of due diligence teams handling large-scale international acquisitions and divestitures for multinational corporations. Such due diligence activities have included review of physical facilities, permits, violations, litigations, supply contracts, recycling and wasted disposal contracts, safety and handling training records, and end-of-use plans for products. We have flagged water, air, waste handling, hazardous substances, regulatory compliance, and environmental management issues to be addressed in contract documents, including risks of future liability based on trends in the law, such as banning of certain chemicals, climate change, and international accords.
Our tax attorneys have broad-based experience handling international transactions, including planning for U.S.-based companies doing or seeking to do business outside the U.S. and non-U.S. companies doing or seeking to do business in the U.S. We counsel clients in all types of businesses and joint ventures with participants from multiple countries, often working with them to establish practical transfer pricing plans and guiding them through transfer pricing audits by, and appeals to, the IRS.
Regional Focus: Germany
Gibbons has a dedicated team of attorneys dedicated to serving clients from Germany, as well as Switzerland, and Austria, with business interests in the U.S. Our practice offers proactive advice in such areas as corporate organization and governance, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, business franchises, distributorship arrangements, employment and labor matters, taxation, financing, intellectual property, and many regulatory areas, as well as representation in litigation and arbitration matters. Our clients range from new entrants into the U.S. marketplace to established international companies with businesses around the world, with a focus on closely held “Mittelstand” companies, but also public corporations. In addition, Gibbons operates a highly regarded Referendar program, under which German law school graduates on a rotating basis spend part of their mandatory clerkships at Gibbons in New York City.
Data Management and Data Security
We have a large team of attorneys and technical staff that counsel international companies on all aspects of data management and data security, focusing on such matters as e-commerce regulation, international privacy rules, e-discovery programs, and cloud computing transactions. We have experience in software licensing and product commercialization, privacy and data security compliance laws, response to data security breach incidents, and preparation of internal document management and security policies.
Trade Regulation and Compliance
- Trade Compliance Programs: We have the exceptional experience and capacity in designing effective trade compliance plans, such as by helping international exporters establish effective internal control programs consistent with their businesses and the U.S. Department of Commerce Export Management System Guidelines. The complexity of our work in this regard varies by company size and need, but our team of attorneys can design and develop a compliance program with effective policies and procedures for a company of any size.
- Export Controls: Essential to the success of any international business is a full understanding of the complex laws and regulations governing the export, re-export, and deemed export of goods and technology from the U.S., including encrypted items, and their application. Our clients rely on us to guide them through the complexities and alert them to the pitfalls of this uniquely complex and arcane regulatory environment. Our representation includes counseling clients with respect to the application of U.S. trade embargoes and the imposition of economic sanctions against foreign interests. Our attorneys have extensive experience with respect to advising clients on export licensing, compliance, and enforcement under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), the Arms Export Control Act, and the regulations of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
- Import and Customs Laws: Gibbons attorneys regularly advise clients with respect to issues that arise in connection with the importation of goods or services into the U.S., including classification, valuation, rules of origin (including the Buy American Act), substantial transformation, and duty treatment issues. We guide companies through required filings, audit procedures, and disclosure requirements. A number of our attorneys are licensed to practice before the United States Court of International Trade.