Overview

The agribusiness, food and beverage industries have always played key roles in New York’s economy, and are critical to its future. At the same time, the industries face new risks from an increasingly global business environment and a regulatory regime that changes and evolves at a dramatic pace. 

Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC has one of the most experienced full-service agribusiness, food and beverage practices in New York State.  We counsel all participants in the “food chain,” including producers, suppliers, cooperatives, food processors, wholesale distributors, retailers and restaurants. We have a rich history of serving clients in these industries, with longstanding relationships going back as far as a century. Through this history, we’ve gained a unique perspective on the agribusiness, food and beverage industries that makes us keenly aware of the ever-changing environment in which we have guided our clients as they have adapted and thrived.

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We advise clients in connection with both state and federal antitrust laws, including the Sherman Act, the Clayton Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Robinson-Patman Act. While these laws have been in effect for decades, their application, interpretation and impact on business conduct and business plans can constantly change. Our experience extends to dealing with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and State Attorneys General, as well as defending clients against private enforcement actions brought in federal or state court.

Pricing
Federal antitrust law strictly prohibits competitors from agreeing to fix prices. There are also prohibitions on manufacturers and suppliers determining the prices their customers may charge. Illegal resale price maintenance and permissible Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) are important antitrust concepts. We advise clients on permissible pricing practices and strategies.

Price Discrimination; Robinson-Patman Act
The Robinson-Patman Act of 1936 was enacted to protect so-called "Mom & Pop" stores from the purchasing power of large chain stores. The Robinson-Patman Act is a complex statute which can have important ramifications to decisions about price. We are well-versed in Robinson-Patman issues, and we counsel clients on compliance with the requirements of the Robinson-Patman Act.

Joint Ventures, Alliances and Collaborations among Competitors
Companies frequently seek to join with others in their industries in joint ventures and alliances. The federal enforcement agencies, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, recently issued guidelines for collaborations among competitors. We advise clients on the organization of joint ventures and other types of alliances taking into account the requirements of antitrust law.

Distribution
How a company distributes its products and services -- through its own retail system or through independent distributors and dealers -- can be critical to the success of the business. The laws and rules dealing with distributors, dealers and franchisees are important factors which can effect that success. We are experienced in the preparation and negotiation of distribution agreements which can avoid the pitfalls created by antitrust law.

Monopolization
If a company has a large market share or monopoly power, the antitrust law can restrict the company's business conduct. Sherman Act Section 2 specifically deals with monopolization and attempts to monopolize. We are experienced in advising clients on monopolization and attempt to monopolize issues.

Intellectual Property
The intersection of intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets) and the antitrust law is a hotly debated subject. There may be a conflict between a company's intellectual property rights and the requirements of antitrust law. Our IP lawyers are important members of a team who analyze and advise practical approaches to complicated situations involving the protection of one of an organization's most valuable assets, its intellectual property.

Mergers and Acquisitions
Antitrust concerns are important issues in a proposed merger or acquisition. Depending upon the size of the transaction, a pre-merger filing with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act may be required. We have experience in determining whether the Hart-Scott-Rodino's filing requirements apply, as well as experience in handling the filings when required.

Civil Investigative Demands
As part of a civil investigation, the government often requires that information be provided. We are experienced in representing companies which have received CIDs and in working with the government in connection with these demands.

Grand Jury Investigations
In a criminal antitrust investigation, a grand jury is often impaneled. We are experienced in representing companies and individuals in connection with both state and federal grand jury investigations.

Antitrust Litigation
Our litigation lawyers have represented companies and individuals in both criminal and civil lawsuits involving alleged antitrust violations.

Healthcare
The healthcare industry is undergoing significant change. The federal antitrust enforcement agencies have issued specific, detailed guidelines dealing with the antitrust aspects of the healthcare industry. We have extensive experience in the healthcare industry, representing health plans, hospitals and physicians.

State Antitrust Law
Many states, including New York State, have their own separate antitrust statutes, which differ from federal antitrust law. With increasing frequency, state antitrust law is important to understand and to take into consideration in competition and trade regulation matters. We are experienced in advising clients on state as well as federal antitrust issues.

Antitrust Compliance Programs
We work with management to develop and provide antitrust compliance programs to educate employees on the requirements of antitrust law. Our advice is practical and straightforward with a goal of having management and employees feel confident that they understand how to perform their jobs without violating the law. Compliance programs can help demonstrate to employees that their company supports the American free market system and obedience to the nation's laws.

Trade Associations
When competitors meet in trade association meetings, there is a risk that improper and sensitive topics may be discussed. Trade associations enjoy no special status or exemption under antitrust law. Trade associations and their members must be careful in preparing meeting agendas, controlling discussion and documenting meetings. We are legal counsel to trade associations and advise trade association leadership in this sensitive area.

Business enterprises require a wide range of legal services on a regular basis. We advise and guide clients through the complete spectrum of business matters from formation, including capital structuring and financing, loan transactions, corporate governance, risk assessments, and mergers and acquisitions. Our attorneys serve a wide range of business clients from sole proprietorships and closely-held entities to major public companies. We help our clients stay focused on operations and strategic planning and assist them in avoiding legal problems;  when they do arise, we develop legal solutions that minimize cost and interference.

Cooperatives play a leading role in the agribusiness, food and beverage industries, and we work extensively with them. Our clients include marketing, purchasing, supply and service cooperatives, as well as cooperative lenders. We believe that the true value we bring to our cooperative clients is our deep understanding of the architecture of the cooperative business enterprise, including its unique financial and structural characteristics. We also know the specific tax, securities, antitrust and other legal frameworks in which cooperatives operate. Such understanding and knowledge allows us to give better informed advice in all substantive areas of law that affect our cooperative clients, and helps us formulate better solutions.

Clients in the agribusiness, food and beverage industries have unique intellectual property needs. We are experienced in the protection and licensing of plant varieties in the US and abroad. As with all of our clients, we provide our agribusiness, food and beverage clients with comprehensive solutions to manage and protect their intellectual property.

Clients in the agribusiness, food and beverage industries have unique intellectual property needs. We are experienced in the protection and licensing of plant varieties in the US and abroad. As with all of our clients, we provide our agribusiness, food and beverage clients with comprehensive solutions to manage and protect their intellectual property.

Our work with agribusiness, food and beverage employers includes collective bargaining, NLRB proceedings, labor arbitration, labor audits, supervisory training and contingency planning. We have extensive employment law experience in these industries, including advising employers with respect to: wage and hour, discrimination, affirmative action and accommodation issues; investigations concerning alleged harassment, hostile work environment, workplace violence and ethics issues; OFCCP, USDOL, OSHA, USDOT and NYDOL audits and investigations; and investigations and administrative proceedings before the EEOC and state agencies.  We also counsel clients extensively regarding immigration matters and the employment of individuals who are not U.S. citizens.