Online and Multichannel Marketing

The extent of Brann & Isaacson’s experience in representing online, catalog, and multichannel retailers rests on a fifty–year tradition of providing legal advice to some of the most recognized retailers and other companies in the country.  What began as a relationship with L.L. Bean, Inc. in the 1960s has grown to a nationally recognized practice representing more than 100 online and multichannel companies, and Internet and IT service providers, including over a dozen of the Top 100 Internet retailers.  Many of Brann & Isaacson’s clients have stores throughout the United States and vibrant Internet businesses as well, and they come to Brann & Isaacson for advice on navigating the multi–faceted, multi–state and federal legal issues they increasingly confront. Whether the task is negotiating printing and software agreements, complying with changing privacy laws, handling FTC or state attorneys general investigations, defending class action and intellectual property lawsuits, or challenging state tax assessments, Brann & Isaacson has become the boutique “go to” firm for the industry.

Brann & Isaacson stands at the forefront of the battle to protect online companies and multichannel retailers, as well as Internet and IT service providers, against excessive taxation by states and local jurisdictions across the country. Most recently, we challenged so–called “Amazon tax” statutes in Colorado and Illinois that sought to impose tax or reporting obligations on remote sellers.  Our firm is also first in line in the battle against Ohio’s Commercial Activity Tax, which constitutes an attempt by the state to circumvent the “physical presence” requirement that has long been the constitutional benchmark for state taxation of interstate commerce.  We have also handled audits and assessments of some of the leading providers of Internet services and other information technology services.  CLICK HERE to find more details about our state tax practice. 

In today’s highly regulated marketplace, compliance with federal and state marketing and advertising laws is not only more difficult, but the risks grow greater with each passing year, as class action litigation has become a major threat to national retailers.  Brann & Isaacson’s knowledge of state and federal consumer protection and trade regulation laws enables its clients to anticipate and frequently avoid class action lawsuits and government enforcement actions. Moreover, this experience is of great value in defending against lawsuits and government enforcement actions once they have commenced.   Whether a client needs advice on the nuances of state and local product pricing restrictions, the sale of merchandise returned by customers, the formulation of a defensible pricing structure for shipping and handling fees, or the nuances of federal and state telemarketing and email rules, Brann & Isaacson can step in to provide solid and sensible advice in an area where risk and liability may exist even if a company complies with the letter of the law.

Brann & Isaacson’s longstanding client relationships with major online and multichannel retailers gave the firm a leading role as the industry began wrestling with the extraordinary challenges of privacy and security in an increasingly wired world.  The firm’s experience ranges from advising clients regarding arcane credit card laws, which recently led to a number of class action lawsuits over collection of consumer zip codes, to the development of data breach audit and response plans. We also guide businesses through the drafting and implementation of privacy policies and written information security plans (or WISPs), including our conducting detailed audits of client’s privacy and security policies and practices. Brann & Isaacson also represents companies in privacy–related investigations and litigation. 

Brann & Isaacson offers our clients a two–pronged approach on intellectual property.  First, we handle patent, trademark, trade dress, and copyright cases in courts across the country. We have developed a nationally recognized practice representing online and multichannel retailers of all sizes against “patent trolls” that seek to cripple companies through the threat of endless patent litigation and costly licensing arrangements.  Second, we help clients develop and protect their valuable trademarks and copyrights through a comprehensive program that searches a wide array of databases. We register trademarks both in this country and around the world, and we defend our clients’ intellectual property rights against challenges from competitors and other third parties before the USPTO and federal courts. CLICK HERE for more details about our intellectual property practice. 

Online and multichannel retailers face aggressive state and federal enforcement of product safety and recall laws.  Brann & Isaacson has extensive experience in assisting clients in developing safety compliance programs, managing the process of reporting potential product hazards to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and representing companies in CPSC investigations and proceedings.  The firm conducts audits of our clients’ product safety practices from initial product development its forming alliances with testing firms to incorporating protective provisions in vendor agreements. Well–established safety protocols are the first line of defense against recall claims and class action lawsuits.

We also assist clients in the area of unclaimed property, working closely with them to review and quantify their risks, and, where necessary, to develop comprehensive strategies for minimizing those risks and negotiating voluntary disclosure agreements and settlements with state agencies.

Brann & Isaacson has helped clients make the leap to an international marketplace, whether online or through retail stores—including negotiating strategic alliances with overseas business partners and service providers. Our firm assists its clients in securing international protection for their trademarks, resolving customs issues, and complying with Canadian, European Union, and other nations’ product safety, privacy, and trade issues, and, where appropriate, securing the assistance of foreign legal counsel.

A national reputation has enabled Brann & Isaacson to concentrate on issues of importance to online and multichannel marketers. Our attorneys have published numerous articles in trade journals and professional publications, and frequently speak before groups and organizations such as the Direct Marketing Association, the Promotional Marketing Association, the National Catalog Operations Forum, the American Catalog Mailers Association, the Committee on State Taxation, the New York Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Institute for Professionals in Taxation, the New England Mail Order Association, and the Multistate Tax Commission. They have lectured at Harvard Law School, the University of Connecticut Law School, the University of Southern California Law School, and the Darden School of Business of the University of Virginia. They have also testified on tax and Internet policy issues before congressional committees and state government study commissions.


Our clients include companies such as  L.L. Bean, Talbots, Computer Sciences Corporation, AOL, EarthLink, Scholastic, Guthy–Renker, Vermont Country Store, Random House, Bertelsmann Inc., Newegg, Crutchfield, National Business Furniture, C & H Distributors, Christian Books, iRobot, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, King Arthur Flour, J. Jill, Orchard Brands, Johnny Appleseeds, Norm Thomspon, Draper’s and Damon, Haband, J. Jill, Bookspan, and Nutraceutical, as well as trade associations including the Direct Marketing Association, the American Catalog Mailers Association and the New England Mail Order Association.

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