Advising a diverse array of clients on the leading edge of innovation
Our value-driven approach to client service is what distinguishes our team of lawyers as one of the premier Communications, Mobile, and Technology practices in the country. We are committed to getting the best possible results, and we tailor our services specifically to meet our clients' business goals.
Our clients come to us for a trusted partner and advisor, not merely a service provider. Our practice includes policy advocacy, trial and appellate litigation, preparing and negotiating technology and telecommunications agreements, regulatory compliance, licensing and certification, and strategic planning.
From established telecommunications providers and large defense contractors, to the nation's most respected universities and research networks, to entrepreneurs and new entrants in the communications and high-tech space, we represent an extensive cross-section of companies. We understand that clients of all sizes have many competing demands and are increasingly under pressure to control costs. We have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to meet our clients' legal needs with skill and efficiency, ensuring that their priorities are artfully articulated at the negotiating table, before regulatory authorities, and in both trial and appellate courts. By understanding the business goals and constraints of our clients, and carefully selecting the attorneys best suited to meet their needs, our team is consistently able to exceed expectations.
We invite you to learn more about our attorneys and our collective experience. When you're ready, we are a phone call or an email away. We look forward to helping your business succeed.
Agency & Legislative Policy Advocacy
The Arent Fox Communications, Mobile, and Technology practice is not shy about advocating for change in the policies, rules, and statutes that govern the telecommunications and high-tech industries. We have assisted service providers, content and application developers, Native American tribes, and trade associations in being heard by state regulatory commissions, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), state legislatures, and Congress. Our extensive experience in the evolution of the telecommunications and technology markets enables us to craft sensible, fair, and pro-competitive solutions to even the thorniest policy challenges.
Our attorneys routinely collaborate with the Arent Fox Government Relations practice, which includes two former US senators, a former US congressman, a former director of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, and several highly respected former staff members of the House, Senate, and Federal Election Commission. With a combined knowledge base that covers both the substance and the process of lawmaking, we have achieved significant victories for Arent Fox clients.
Representative matters include:
- FCC Open Internet Proceeding — We represented competitive carriers and a premier trade association in persuading the FCC to adopt rules that prohibit Internet access providers from engaging in predatory or discriminatory conduct.
- Policies and Rules Governing Intercarrier Compensation — We are persistent in protecting the rights of local service providers to be compensated when they assist incumbents in handling call and data traffic.
- Legislation Affecting the Inmate Telecommunications Industry — We work with the FCC, state regulators, and legislators to find appropriate ways to meet the unique challenges of providing telecommunications service in a correctional setting.
- Universal Service Reform — We have been at the forefront of the movement to create equitable mechanisms for Universal Service contributions and funding, and have long advocated the use of Universal Service funds for broadband service deployment.
- Broadband Initiatives on Tribal Lands — We have been a strong voice in Congress and at the FCC for Native American leaders who strive to obtain affordable and lasting broadband service on tribal lands.
Consumer Privacy & Telemarketing
Consumer data is an extremely valuable asset — it has become the common currency of the world of networked communication. Protecting consumer data is critical to maintaining the trust of customers and a competitive edge. Such protection, however, is not simply a matter of good business, it is also an increasingly critical legal issue for companies of all sizes.
The attorneys at Arent Fox help clients understand a business’ legal obligations to protect consumer information, including the FCC’s Customer Privacy Network Information (CPNI) rules, the CAN-SPAM Act, the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and the Obama Administration’s Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. We take a strategic, proactive approach to privacy planning with the client’s business in mind. Arent Fox has extensive experience in helping its clients draft policies and procedures that meet the evolving legal requirements and help mitigate unnecessary risk in using personal information.
Our experience includes:
- Monitoring developments and advocating before legislatures and agencies at both the state and federal level
- Crafting appropriate privacy policies and best practices
- Addressing and resolving data breaches
- Conducting compliance audits
Our attorneys are actively engaged in the consumer data privacy conversation. We regularly appear at conferences and industry events related to privacy regulation and advise a wide array of companies and trade associations, with a particular emphasis on mobile marketing and telemarketing compliance.
The Arent Fox Communications, Mobile, and Technology practice represents many of the most creative and cutting-edge equipment manufacturers in the world. Our clients develop and deploy FCC-regulated equipment in the telecommunications, health care, aerospace/defense, mining, lighting, and music sectors as well as various other areas.
During product development, we advise our clients as to the FCC’s equipment authorization policies and procedures, and help our clients establish relationships with the most efficient and knowledgeable test labs and telecommunications certification bodies (TCBs), all the while working to ensure the confidentiality of our clients’ proprietary methods and technologies. We educate our clients as to the FCC’s complex regulations governing the operation and marketing of devices - both prior to and after obtaining FCC approval. A detailed understanding of these rules can allow manufacturers, in appropriate circumstances, to obtain competitive advantages with respect to customer demos and limited marketing capabilities even before FCC approval is obtained. Similarly, we are experienced in the area of FCC experimental licensing, a process by which manufacturers can usefully gather critical performance data on prototype devices several months, or even years, before FCC approval and product deployment.
Once FCC equipment authorizations are issued, we ensure that our clients comply with the many rules and procedures that apply to approved equipment, such as labeling, equipment identification, and radio frequency (RF) exposure limits. For our many clients whose operations extend overseas, we advise on FCC rules governing the importation of devices, and we also address foreign telecommunications regulation of client devices.
We have obtained numerous waivers from the FCC when a variation from existing FCC regulatory policy would permit the deployment of more efficient and effective devices. Similarly, we have obtained remarkable success for clients in the FCC rulemaking process by filing comments and meeting with FCC staff and commissioners, to ensure that the FCC’s regulations do not have negative unintended consequences, and conversely to ensure that the FCC’s regulations maximize the public interest benefits that our client’s products are designed to achieve. Our experience in this area has been sought for numerous presentations, including for the Antenna Measurement Techniques Association, the Next Generation Radio Communications & Spectrum Technologies Conference, as well as the Military Antennas and Military Wireless conferences.
Licensing & Regulatory Compliance
The regulatory requirements affecting communications companies are difficult to navigate alone. With a vast amount of experience at both the state and federal level, the Arent Fox Communications, Mobile, and Technology practice can help guide your company safely through any regulatory issues that may arise, and aid your company in maintaining compliance to avoid problems in the future. We routinely assist clients with regulatory matters, such as:
Licensing – We have assisted companies of all shapes and sizes, both domestic and foreign, with their licensing requirements. From startup companies providing competitive local exchange services to established carriers expanding their service territories into new areas, to wireless carriers and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, we obtain licenses and certifications at the state and federal levels. We also routinely represent non-carriers who use private wireless licenses in their manufacturing or mining operations.
Mergers, Acquisitions, and Capitalization – Business transactions, such as mergers, acquisitions, or additional capitalization in a regulated industry, often require regulatory clearance prior to closing. We routinely guide companies through that process on both the state and federal levels. In addition, we frequently collaborate with the firm’s Corporate practice to handle other aspects of the transaction.
Compliance – Our group has developed a tremendous background in all areas of compliance for carriers, including Universal Service, state and federal tariffs, telephone numbering resources, and number portability, privacy, Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS), and E-911. Our team also regularly conducts compliance audits and assists companies in obtaining necessary industry codes in order to commence operations.
Complaints – Every carrier must be prepared to respond to complaints initiated by a customer or a regulatory agency. Our attorneys represent carriers before the FCC and state utility commissions in complaint proceedings. Working with our clients, we are able to resolve disputes in a timely and effective manner.
Interconnection – For many carriers and VoIP providers, interconnection with other carriers in a cost-effective manner is key to doing business. We have a vast background in reviewing, negotiating, and arbitrating interconnection agreements.
Mobile communications is a central component of our daily lives. And in today’s competitive markets, the stakes are high. Arent Fox has experience in the full scope of legal matters encountered by companies in all areas of the mobile ecosystem. We help established corporations develop mobile strategies. We work with entrepreneurs in launching their latest venture. We assist mobile content aggregators and content providers in navigating the vagaries of carrier relations, consumer protection, and consumer privacy issues.
We have also advised a variety of industry trade associations on a range of legal and regulatory issues and regularly monitor developments in the legislative and executive branches that impact companies working in this arena.
Our mobile communications skills include:
- Establishing new entities and ensuring continued corporate compliance
- Negotiating strategic alliances and licensing agreements
- Securing venture capital and initiating public offerings
- Counseling regarding entry of commercial companies into government markets
- Assisting in implementing special security agreements, proxy agreements, and other arrangements to mitigate foreign ownership control or influence issues
- Counseling regarding cost reimbursement contracting and cost accounting standards
- Shaping legislation, regulations, and government policy through direct lobbying and coordination with Members of Congress, administration officials, and key staff members
- Monitoring, analyzing, and reporting on legislative and regulatory developments
- Assist in preparation of federal grant, loan, and loan guarantee applications
- Providing advice regarding the use and sharing of electronic medical records, the transmission of health care information by electronic communications, and mHealth
- Counseling regarding the HITECH Act and similar legislation at the state level
- Assisting clients in licensing, contracting, advertising, fraud and abuse, reimbursement, and privacy issues that arise in the mHealth world
- Preparing patent and trademark applications directed to developing products
- Monitoring strength of intellectual property regarding product and assessing protection strategy
- Identify competitor products as possible intellectual property licensing and assertion targets
- Counseling regarding consumer privacy law and regulations
- Representing clients before the FCC and state utility commissions
- Negotiating and litigating against wireless network operators
Public Safety, Homeland Security & Defense
The Arent Fox Communications, Mobile, and Technology practice has a dedicated practice area focused on issues related to public safety, homeland security, and defense, representing a wide range of clients that include manufacturers, aerospace companies, and government contractors. Effective representation in these areas requires not only knowledge of the substantive rules and policies of the FCC, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Department of Defense/Department of Homeland Security (DOD/DHS), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), but also longstanding relationships with decision makers in each of these agencies.
Arent Fox provides these comprehensive services to our clients, with the goal of ensuring timely contract performance and completion of IR&D efforts well ahead of schedule. Jeff Rummel, head of the Public Safety, Homeland Security, and Defense group, has extensive experience in matters relating to experimental licensing for military, homeland security and other high-tech applications, and is a frequent speaker on issues related to public safety and defense-related telecommunications topics. Jeff was recognized as a leading telecommunications attorney by Legal 500 for 2011 and 2012. The Public Safety, Homeland Security & Defense group periodically issues newsletters on relevant FCC issues and proceedings.
Telecommunications & Technology Agreements
The Arent Fox Communications, Mobile, and Technology practice represents clients in the preparation and negotiation of telecommunications and technology agreements of all types. We represent broadband and telecommunications providers, dark fiber providers, research and education networks, equipment manufacturers, and businesses of every type who wish to execute agreements for telecommunications and/or technology services. We ensure that our clients receive exactly the services they want and all of the protections they need.
The agreements that we prepare and negotiate include in-building wireless agreements, such as; contracts for the provision of broadband and telecommunications services to businesses; roaming agreements; e-texting agreements; dark fiber agreements; collocation agreements; agreements for the provision of cable, telephony, and data services to residential complexes; cloud service agreements; antenna licensing agreements; undersea cable agreements; contracts for satellite services; interconnection agreements; agreements for international services; original equipment manufacturer agreements; tower agreements; and inter-carrier agreements of all types.
We also perform all necessary regulatory due diligence and ensure the acquisition of any regulatory approvals for agreements that require such work.
Trial, Appellate & Agency Adjudications
Our nationally known communications, mobile, and technology attorneys are sought after for litigation matters, because we never forget to know the audience. For judges with busy dockets and limited telecommunications experience, we work hard to leave telecom’s acronym soup at the door and explain in plain English (and pictures, if necessary) why our clients should win. With administrative agencies, we can speak the industry parlance fluently and focus on why the facts, law, and policy dictate a ruling in your favor. We’re also sought after because we never forget that we have to provide value. We’re intelligently aggressive – we make the best case clearly, so we do not distract from the real issues, or spend undue time in discovery fights that prevent an efficient resolution of the case.
We serve as trial and appellate counsel in a diverse array of telecommunications matters throughout the country. Our attorneys have acted as lead appellate counsel before the federal courts of appeals and lead trial counsel in a variety of federal and state judicial and administrative proceedings. We have represented carriers and service providers in cases against private parties or the government in federal and state courts, and we have substantial experience litigating formal and informal complaints before the FCC and state public utilities commissions. Our experience has given us the technological understanding, policy experience, and litigation tools to provide comprehensive counsel and advocacy in any litigation forum that your company may need.