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Christopher A. Cole

Partner

ccole@crowell.com
Phone: +1 202.624.2701
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004-2595

Christopher Cole is the co-chair of Crowell & Moring's Advertising & Media Group, a team that provides interdisciplinary solutions to companies facing challenging competitive and regulatory issues. Chris focuses on false advertising litigation, unfair competition, reputation, brand disparagement, and intellectual property. He is an experienced litigator, handling Lanham Act and consumer class action cases, and defending against Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforcement and related investigations. He has handled dozens of cases before the National Advertising Division (NAD). 

Chris has for nearly a decade been ranked among the top false advertising litigators in the country by Chambers & Partners, which has described him as a “go-to for advertising work,” “very experienced and knowledgeable in advertising law and giv[ing] really good, practical advice.” In particular, Chris has been praised for his “ability to understand the scientific side of advertising cases.”

He is included by SuperLawyers among the top Media and First Amendment lawyers in Washington, D.C., and by Best Lawyers in America for Advertising Law.

Chris also has a varied and active counseling practice. He is widely respected as an authority on advertising claims substantiation and the associated sciences of product testing and consumer research. He has overseen consumer protection regulatory due diligence in transactions. And, he provides strategic and risk management guidance to some of the world's leading companies in industries such as food and beverages, media and telecommunications, home appliances, technology, and consumer products.

Chris is an editor of the ABA's major treatise on Consumer Protection Law and Developments, author of the chapter on “Claims Substantiation” in the ABA’s Advertising Claims Substantiation Handbook, and is a frequent speaker and commentator on advertising issues.

Representative Matters

  • Antitrust/consumer protection. Worked with trial team as the lead AT&T lawyer on consumer survey and measurement issues in the landmark United States v. AT&T, Inc., et al., litigation by the U.S. government to enjoin AT&T’s merger with Time WarnerIn a lengthy section of its opinion, the court relied on the work by Chris and his experienced team in rejecting the opinions of the government’s key consumer survey and media valuation experts, which were key underpinnings to the government’s model of economic injury.
  • FTC Investigations. Represents major advertisers in conjunction with both ongoing and successfully closed investigations and litigation by the FTC in the areas of telecommunications, beverages, consumer products, and technology. Lead counsel for Kimberly-Clark Corporation in recently closed FTC investigation into flushable wipes.
  • NAD/NARB. Handled over 50 NAD and NARB matters in just the last five years for clients such as AT&T, DIRECTV, Kimberly-Clark, Matrixx Initiatives, S.C. Johnson, Scotts Company, Intuit, MillerCoors, Honeywell, Samsung, Zero Technologies, Energizer/Edgewell, and Walmart. Member of the ABA task force that conducted a comprehensive review and prepared recommendations for modification of NAD operating procedures, which resulted in substantial changes to NAD's rules.
  • Lanham Act. Lead counsel in numerous Lanham Act false advertising cases, many involving applications for emergency relief, on behalf of clients such as AT&T, Expedia, Edgewell, MillerCoors, Scotts Company, 3M, Zero Technologies, Dyson, and Kimberly-Clark. Co-lead attorney representing MillerCoors in its its false advertising case against Anheuser-Busch, arising out of Anheuser’s 2019 Super Bowl campaign in which it attacked Miller Lite and Coors Light for using corn syrup. In two opinions, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin enjoined significant portions of the campaign, including packaging for Bud Light beer.
  • Class Actions. Defense counsel on consumer class actions regarding consumer product, food, and dietary supplement companies. Representing major food companies in defense of litigation alleging that claims of “natural” or “clean” food are false or misleading due to the presence of minute quantities of environmentally-related pesticide residues that derive from farming.
  • Counseling and risk management. Chris serves as outside counsel to various Fortune 500 companies, providing and coordinating through Crowell & Moring and a network of global firms, worldwide advice in areas of product regulation, advertising, competition and risk mitigation.
  • Pro bono. Chris maintains an active pro bono practice. He has represented U.S. veterans, organizations dedicated to helping victims of violent crimes, and national advocacy organizations for reproductive rights. Chris also represents a national gun control organization in media and reputational matters.

Education

  • Yale University, B.S. biology (1987) Sigma Xi scientific honorary society
  • University of Miami, M.S. marine biology (1989) Rosenstiel Scholarship
  • Boston University School of Law, J.D. (1992) magna cum laude, Ordroneaux Prize for top overall graduating student

Affiliations

Admitted to practice: District of Columbia

Memberships

Chair, ABA Antitrust Section, Committee on Private Advertising Litigation
Chapter Editor, ABA Treatise on Consumer Protection Law and Developments
Chapter Author, ABA Advertising Claims Substantiation Handbook

View More

"Expansion of Section 230 of U.S. Communications Decency Act with July 1 implementation of U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) ," (July 1, 2020). Contacts: Robert Holleyman, Christopher A. Cole, Michelle Ann Gitlitz
Client Alert / Newsletter
"FTC's Proposed Made in USA Rule Would Allow Civil Penalties," Advertising & State AG Alert (June 24, 2020). Contacts: Christopher A. Cole, Lauren Aronson
Client Alert / Newsletter
"Facebook’s New Content Moderation Appeals Process," Crowell & Moring's Retail & Consumer Products Law Observer (June 23, 2020). Author: Christopher A. Cole.
Publication
Attorneys Say FTC Enforcement Unlikely After Trump’s Social Media EO Washington Internet Daily (June 12, 2020)
Media Mentions
Agencies Face Limited Options For Twitter Crackdowns Law360 (June 2, 2020)
Media Mentions
"President Trump’s Social Media Executive Order Would Restrict Legal Protections for Internet Speech," Advertising & State AG Alert (May 29, 2020). Contacts: Christopher A. Cole, Kayvan M. Ghaffari
Client Alert / Newsletter
"Eleventh Circuit Holds that Plaintiff Lacks Standing in Cheerios Glyphosate Lawsuit," Mass Tort, Product, and Consumer Litigation Alert (May 29, 2020). Contacts: Peter C. Condron, Christopher A. Cole, William L. Anderson
Client Alert / Newsletter
"President Trump's Social Media Executive Order Would Restrict Legal Protections For Internet Search," Hackernoon (May 29, 2020). Authors: Christopher A. Cole, and Kayvan M. Ghaffari.
Publication
"A Guide To Evaluating And Advertising COVID-19 Products," Law360 (May 26, 2020). Authors: Christopher A. Cole, Warren Lehrenbaum, Chalana Netasha Damron, John Fuson, and Lauren Aronson.
Publication
Taking A Roller Coaster Ride Through Covid-19 Courthouse News (May 23, 2020)
Media Mentions

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Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with more than 500 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity. The firm has offices in Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, London, and Brussels.

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