We help clients capitalize on the tremendous promise of Big Data, while addressing challenges with respect to privacy, cybersecurity, technology transactions and licensing, intellectual property, antitrust, litigation, regulatory enforcement and much more.


Collection, analysis and monetization of “Big Data” are rapidly changing the face of the global economy. The impact is far-reaching, including in industries like energy, equipment manufacturing and automobiles that traditionally have not played a big role in the information ecosystem. Big Data brings with it tremendous promise in the form of exciting innovations, new revenue streams, and even revolutionary treatments for life-threatening diseases. But with that great promise also comes a multitude of legal and other challenges.

Some of these challenges cut across industries. These include privacy concerns, cybersecurity risks, complex technology transactions and licensing, thorny IP applications and registrations, public-relations risks, and disputes about who owns the Big Data, the algorithms and devices used to analyze such data, and the insights derived from such analyses.

Other challenges manifest quite differently in different industries. For example:
  • Financial institutions, healthcare companies and communications infrastructure providers must grapple with industry-specific privacy and data security laws.
  • Online and technology companies face antitrust questions from regulators who allege that their greater access to Big Data may make it impossible for others to compete.
  • Manufacturers of consumer electronic devices, wearables, appliances and other equipment must address new legal issues arising from the rapidly evolving Internet of Things, including how the data will be used, shared and secured.
  • Energy companies and utilities face unique smart grid and cyber threat issues.
  • Car companies and insurance providers are encountering public-relations and regulatory concerns from drivers and passengers uncomfortable with the wealth of information collected through modern connected cars.

We help clients across a range of industries successfully navigate these and other Big Data challenges. Our team is an interdisciplinary working group made up of regulatory counsel, transactional lawyers, litigators, enforcement attorneys, intellectual property practitioners, international trade counsel and crisis managers, each with substantial experience counseling clients in specific industries. Learn more about the types of industries and clients we assist as well as some of the Big Data matters we have helped address, or download one of our industry-specific fact sheets:

Contacts

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Braun, Martin

Dr. Martin Braun

Partner

+49 69 27 10 78 207 (t)

martin.braun@wilmerhale.com

Zachary, Heather

Heather Zachary

Partner

+1 202 663 6794 (t)

heather.zachary@wilmerhale.com

Adegbile, Debo

Debo P. Adegbile

Partner

+1 212 295 6717 (t)

debo.adegbile@wilmerhale.com

Bain, Mick

Mick Bain

Partner

+1 617 526 6158 (t)

michael.bain@wilmerhale.com

Barnett, Keith R.

Keith R. Barnett

Partner

+1 617 526 6930 (t)

keith.barnett@wilmerhale.com

Berman, Bruce M.

Bruce M. Berman

Partner

+1 202 663 6173 (t)

bruce.berman@wilmerhale.com

Braun, Martin

Dr. Martin Braun

Partner

+49 69 27 10 78 207 (t)

martin.braun@wilmerhale.com

Brown, Reginald J.

Reginald J. Brown

Partner

+1 202 663 6430 (t)

reginald.brown@wilmerhale.com

Buckland, Peter

Peter Buckland

Partner

+1 650 858 6036 (t)

peter.buckland@wilmerhale.com

Crones, Christian

Dr. Christian Crones

Partner

+49 69 27 10 78 207 (t)

christian.crones@wilmerhale.com

Dunbar, Kelly P.

Kelly P. Dunbar

Partner

+1 202 663 6262 (t)

kelly.dunbar@wilmerhale.com

Industries & Clients

Our Big Data clients include:  

Representative Matters

Recent Big Data matters for clients include:

Financial institutions engaged in analytics and data mining
We are advising a number of financial institutions on Big Data analytics and data mining based on the behavior of consumers, small businesses and corporations. We help global banks, large and small investment advisors, insurance companies, and many other clients identify and implement lawful ways to draw insights from the data that they collect themselves or that they obtain from data brokers and other third-party data sources. Challenges in this space include laws with respect to privacy and cybersecurity, consumer protection, and securities/insider trading (e.g., Rule 10b-5), as well as questions of contractual obligations, industry-adopted regimes (such as rules imposed by credit card companies), and potentially negative public-relations impacts.

Connected cars
We have advised automobile manufacturers and others in the auto ecosystem on a variety of privacy, security, contract, IP/data ownership, consumer protection and public-relations considerations with respect to data collected by modern cars. This includes potentially sensitive information, such as real-time location data and driving telemetry/behavioral data. In one such project, we provided guidance on how to improve an industry-wide self-regulatory regime developed to address these Big Data issues in a comprehensive way that was palatable to the industry, regulators and consumer advocates. Likewise, we have provided advice about services and devices that are integrated with automobiles that also collect information (GPS-integrated information systems, in-dash browsers, sound systems, monitoring devices supplied by insurance companies, etc.).

Online companies, data brokers and others grappling with antitrust issues
We are closely following and advising our clients on the recent interest of legislators and regulators, including the Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office, in the antitrust implications of companies holding large amounts of data. This issue is of increasing concern to data brokers and many of our clients in the online ecosystem, including social networks, mobile app developers, search engines and online advertising technology providers. We counsel these and other clients on a range of matters, such as evolving legislative proposals and developments, merger filings and regulatory approvals, and Big Data-related investigations by authorities for potential abuse of market power.

Electronics and equipment manufacturers navigating the Internet of Things
Mobile devices, televisions, home speakers, thermostats, wearables and even refrigerators are collecting significant amounts of data about consumers and how they behave—not just out in the world, but also in the privacy of their own homes. And much of this data is sensitive, such as health information, real-time location data, video programming watched, individual voiceprints and exercise habits. What can be collected, how it can be used and who it can be shared with is subject to multiple legal regimes, contractual obligations, public-relations concerns, data security considerations, and a wide variety of other factors. We counsel, and advocate for, electronics and equipment manufacturers and other Internet-of-Things clients on all of these issues. We also assist clients seeking patents and other IP protections for innovations related to the Internet of Things, including integrated circuits, computer chips, wearables, and a plethora of consumer devices and components of such devices.

Energy producers and utilities
We help a variety of energy producers and utilities address the challenges of Big Data and leverage it to their advantage. We have counseled such clients through serious data breaches and data security missteps, as well as the potential regulatory and public-relations fallout from such incidents. We also advise utilities about their mining of Big Data to detect electricity theft, including illegal connections, unbilled consumption and non-payment. We also are helping clients use Big Data to detect revenues lost from transmission and distribution inefficiencies. Our substantial experience with and understanding of the energy industry is essential to this work, given the unique legal issues that arise in this highly regulated space, including requirements and standards with respect to testing, reporting, recordkeeping, reliability and financial disclosures.

Technology companies entering into data-centric transactions and licensing agreements
Increasingly, agreements in the technology transactions and licensing space involve one or both parties receiving access to some large set of data, either from the other party or its end users. Such deals involve a range of privacy and data security issues, as well as the fundamentally important issue of what rights each party will have to exploit the data being collected. For example, we represent software company clients with machine learning/data analytics Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings encountering conflicts between their contractual obligations and their desire to use client-supplied data to improve the performance of their predictive models for the benefit of all of their customers generally. We also regularly draft data licensing agreements, public-facing website terms of service, and other service agreements for a range of companies whose business models are focused on collecting data and/or exploiting it.

Companies and government entities negotiating international trade deals
A number of recent trade negotiations (including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) have included important provisions on data localization, data transfer and data use. Indeed, Big Data issues have been key sticking points in such deals because the United States and various foreign countries have quite different views concerning data protection. We have helped different clients lobby and negotiate such Big Data issues in the context of trade agreements.

To learn more about WilmerHale's Big Data practice, email us at big.data@wilmerhale.com.

Publications & News

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June 9, 2017

The Legal 500 United States 2017 Recognizes 125 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 28 Practice Areas

The Legal 500 United States has released its 2017 rankings, recommending 125 WilmerHale lawyers—including 12 who are named to its elite “Leading Lawyers” list and two on its “Next Generation Lawyers” list—and 28 practice areas in its 11th edition.

May 26, 2017

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2017 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers and Partners announced its rankings for the 2017 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, with WilmerHale listed among the nation's best in 50 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 86 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

February 21, 2017

New York Finalizes Cybersecurity Regulations for Financial Institutions

On February 16, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) issued cybersecurity regulations for banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions subject to NYDFS jurisdiction. This WilmerHale Client Alert was republished by the Journal of Investment Compliance, Vol. 18, No. 2, 2017.

January 23, 2017

Law360 Names WilmerHale a Technology Group of the Year

The firm has been recognized by Law360 as a Technology Practice Group of the Year, showcasing some of the firm's significant successes for clients during the calendar year of 2016.

January 17, 2017

POLITICO Pro Q&A: Alejandro Mayorkas

Alejandro Mayorkas spoke with POLITICO about his experience at the Department of Homeland Security and what he sees as the biggest cybersecurity challenges.

December 30, 2016

President Obama Sanctions Russia Over Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities

President Obama amended a previously-issued executive order designed to address cyber-enabled activities yesterday in response to “Russia's cyber activities [that] were intended to influence the election, erode faith in US democratic institutions, sow doubt about the integrity of our electoral process, and undermine confidence in the institutions of the US government.”

December 14, 2016

National Cybersecurity Report: Top Business Takeaways

Jonathan Cedarbaum discusses the recently released report of the nonpartisan Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, which sets out more than 50 policy recommendations for the next administration. This article, published by Law360, highlights a handful of the most important takeaways from the report for businesses.

December 5, 2016

Presidential Cybersecurity Commission Issues Ambitious Policy Roadmap for Next Administration

On December 1, the nonpartisan Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, established pursuant to an Executive Order in February, issued its report, outlining more than 50 recommendations for the next Administration.

November 21, 2016

WilmerHale Attorneys Explain the Evolving Cybersecurity Environment of the Energy Sector

The Cybersecurity Law Report recently conducted a Q&A with Jonathan Cedarbaum, Jason Chipman and Nathaniel Custer about cybersecurity developments affecting the energy sector.

November 10, 2016

China's Cybersecurity Law Imposes New Requirements on Doing Business in China

The Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress adopted the country's Cybersecurity Law on November 7—the latest in a spate of national security-related measures targeting the ICT industry.