Morris Manning & Martin, LLP

MMM Starts Drone Practice Group

09.22.2015

Firm Represents Businesses Using, Affected by, UAVs

Atlanta (September 22, 2015) – As drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) become more popular, innovative business people are finding new ways to use them. This is why Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP is starting a new group that offers legal counsel on compliance, insurance, intellectual property, privacy, litigation, financial and other issues related to the commercial use of unmanned aircraft.

“I’d compare it to the ‘Wild West’ days of the Internet, when people built businesses faster than the law could keep pace,” says John Fry, who co-founded MMM’s new Drone/UAV practice, and chairs MMM’s IP Litigation practice. “Anyone can buy a drone, but they may have no idea of the legal challenges they could face, or create for others. We want to help companies and individuals who are on the cutting edge assess, avoid and overcome potential problems.”

As opposed to firms that focus primarily on aviation regulations, MMM’s new Drone/UAV group provides insight and legal expertise from a range of perspectives. These may include:

  • Regulatory Compliance: Drone-related businesses without exemptions from FAA regulations on unmanned aircraft systems and small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS and sUAS) are at risk of being fined or shut down. Plus, individual state and local laws often conflict.

  • Insurance: Insurance companies can use drones for safer and more accurate damage assessment, claims adjustment and fraud detection. They must also take drones into consideration when writing liability and other coverage.

  • Privacy: Users could inadvertently violate someone’s privacy, or gather information that is confidential by law.

  • Product Liability and other Litigation: Manufacturers and operators could be held liable for unexpected issues that create hazards.

  • Intellectual Property: Just as people created software and apps for online activity, businesses are already creating new products for drones. These creators will want, and need, to protect their emerging technologies.

  • Start-Up and Growth Companies: Creative entrepreneurs will need to seek business guidance and venture capital or private equity investors.

  • Government, public safety and relief efforts: Drones are already being used in law enforcement, fire, search and rescue, and disaster assessment scenarios. 

The firm already represents several companies in this area, including insurers. Prospective clients would include manufacturers, logistics and delivery services, news and entertainment media organizations, photographers, farmers and agricultural companies, real estate companies and others.

MMM has decades of experience advising startup and middle market companies specializing in emerging technologies. The most recent additions include offering counsel on 3D printing and the Internet of Things.

“The issues raised by huge economic and technological wave touch on a very broad spectrum of legal practice areas that requires an interdisciplinary group of attorneys focused on all possible legal considerations,” concluded Fry.

About Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP

Morris, Manning & Martin (www.mmmlaw.com) is an AmLaw 200 law firm with national and international reach. We dedicate ourselves to the constant pursuit of our clients’ success. To provide our clients with optimal value, we combine market-leading legal services with a total understanding of their needs to maximize effectiveness, efficiency and opportunity. MMM enjoys national prominence for its real estate, corporate, litigation, technology, healthcare, intellectual property, energy & infrastructure, capital markets, environmental, international trade, insurance, and timberland & forest products practices. MMM has offices in Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Savannah, Taipei, Beijing and Washington, D.C. and an alliance with GCN in São Paulo, Brazil.

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Media Contact for MMM: Terri Thornton, (404) 932-4347, Terri@TerriThornton.com