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Consumer Products

United Kingdom

The consumer products industry is changing fast. You need a legal adviser that understands your world. Today’s consumer is more connected, global, and well-informed than ever before, demanding more choice, faster gratification and a direct relationship with brands. For manufacturers and retailers alike, success in the sector means driving new innovations, as well as facing the myriad challenges that come with changing regulatory frameworks, competitive pressures, new technologies, and engaging in emerging markets.

Whatever your commercial or legal challenge – whether you are looking to grow, consolidate or protect your business - your Consumer Products Team at CMS can support you through our extensive international network of local legal specialists and our deep sector expertise across each of our focus areas: food and drink, retail, fashion and luxury, health and beauty, household and manufacturing.

Our sector experts can advise you across both contentious and non-contentious legal services, including M&A, competition and antitrust, commercial contracts and distribution, labelling and regulatory, joint ventures and strategic alliances, supply arrangements, agency and franchise, point of sale promotions, product liability, product recall, IP and brand protection, marketing and advertising, anti-bribery and corruption, e-commerce and data protection.

We work with some of the biggest names in the industry, from leading food and drinks multinationals to major online retailers. We also have an established track record helping new high-growth consumer businesses reach their full potential.

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    Fashion & Luxury

    Today’s fashion and luxury brands face intense pressures, from shifting global demand patterns to disruptive new technologies. The physical and online worlds are blurring, forcing brands to rethink retail portfolios and digitise their in-store experiences. All the while companies must tackle the issues of counterfeit goods, maintaining brand reputation, and managing the bottom-line.

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    Food & Drink

    Food and drink companies operate in challenging times. Shifts in the grocery market are placing intense pressure on margins, compliance and regulatory burdens are growing, and there is mounting emphasis on supply chain transparency. Meanwhile, public interest in diet and health, animal welfare, and sustainability, as well as complex rules on nutrition and functional food claims, all form part of a complex landscape that food and drinks companies must navigate in order to run their businesses successfully.

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    Health & Beauty

    Today’s health and beauty companies face intense challenges and competition that require that managers have access to the right legal advice. Failure to factor in changes to the competition regime, whether in the UK, EU, or globally, can seriously damage a company’s growth plans.

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    Producers of household goods face a range of commercial and legal challenges, as well as intense and increasing competition. Companies need to do what they can to protect innovative concepts and designs, and also to protect the brand, both in terms of their own and competitors’ advertising claims, and more generally in the media. A new era of connected smart devices is also driving significant new opportunities for the industry, but raises new challenges as companies race to develop or acquire IP and grapple with the data protection implications of the Internet of Things.

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    The manufacturing industry is experiencing a period of significant transformation as global economic, social, regulatory and technological trends fundamentally change how and where goods are produced and sold. Manufacturers are under pressure to deliver new innovations faster, with greater customisation, all whilst maintaining profitability and reducing risk.

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    The retail sector in the UK and internationally faces unprecedented disruption. Retailers must adapt rapidly as the lines blur between the high street and online retails, as the requirements of omnichannel place pressure on supply chains, and as consumer behaviours continue to change.

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    Highlights of our experience in Consumer Products...
    Law-Now: Consumer Products
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    11 January 2017
    Food and beverage
    Novelty Act – change in novel foods regime
    London’s first insect bar recently opened. The bar offers products such as bug based ice cream and brownies. To most of us this sounds rather radical and new but insects actually have a long history of human consumption.
    11 January 2017
    Consumer products and retail disputes and investig...
    What 2017 'may contain' and the labelling health halo
    We anticipate that in 2017 consumers will continue to focus on the health and nutrition benefits of what they eat. For food business operators (FBO’s) this means that food labelling must be both accurate and effective.
    13 December 2016
    CMS, Nabarro and Olswang confirm Practice and Sect...
    Food and Drink – some benefits and burdens of trading outside the...
    The champions of Brexit argue that businesses, including Food Business Operators (FBOs), will benefit from reduced regulation and the opportunity to expand into non-EU markets.   The Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) have recently reported that the.
    CMS conference: Intervention, Innovation and Disru...
    Are we witnessing the rise of super level economic environment ri...
    In a few years’ time we may look back and say that it was in 2015/2016 when legal proceedings and recent policy changes combined to produce manifest serious transfrontier and trans-sector commercial and economic environment risk.
    7 June 2016
    CMS advises Management Team and incoming Chairman...
    New CAP rules ban the advertising of high fat, salt and sugar foo...
    The Committee of Advertising Practice (“CAP”) has today announced what it describes as ‘tough new rules’ banning the advertising of high fat, salt or sugar (“HFSS”) food or drink products in children’s media, following a lengthy consultation process which saw.
    CMS UK launches Brexit checklists
    New guidance on pricing practices published by the Chartered Trad...
    On 7 December 2016 the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (“CTSI”) published its paper entitled ‘Guidance for Traders on Pricing Practices’, at the request of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (“BEIS”) and the Consumer Protection.
    CMS advises on food and beverage sector’s largest...
    ABS Regulation - Draft Biotech Sector Stakeholder Guidance
    Views are being sought from interested stakeholders on European guidance for the biotechnology sector concerning the EU’s access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits from utilisation legislation – namely the ABS Regulation.
    Tom Scourfield
    Taking Stock: current legal issues affecting the c...
    Food hygiene and safety - the risky business of enforcement
    As news breaks of two businessmen pleading guilty for their role in the 2013 horsemeat scandal, focus again turns to legal enforcement in the health and safety and food hygiene sectors, in particular the Sentencing Council’s 2016 sentencing publication, the.
    CMS advises on sale of Czech branded food producer...
    European Commission publishes Corporate Tax Reform Package, relau...
    As part of a Corporate Tax Reform Package, the EC has published four proposals for Council Directives. 1. Proposals to relaunch the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base First, the European Commission (“EC”) has announced that it is relaunching its proposal.