Though nascent, Unmanned Aerial Systems technology is rapidly developing, offering governments, businesses, and individuals countless new opportunities for its use that are making news on an almost daily basis. For this reason, the International Trade Administration has predicted that the market for UAS technology will "more than double in the next decade," and that "demand will be highest in the U.S., with Asia-Pacific representing the second largest market, followed closely by Europe."
However, the development and use of UAS technology presents unique legal challenges. For example, until recently the FAA generally prohibited UAS flights for commercial purposes, unless an exemption is obtained. Most recently, the FAA issued its small UAS rules in Part 107, allowing commercial use under certain circumstances. Similarly, the State Department regulates UAS technology as a munition under the ITAR due to the application of the Missile Technology Control Regime, thereby laying a trap for the unwary by prohibiting unlicensed export even of what may be considered to be otherwise purely civil UAS technology.
Leveraging the full-service capabilities of the firm, Wiggin and Dana's multi-disciplinary Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice group offers our clients solutions to these, and other, legal challenges. As in every other area of the firm, we take pride in our ability to understand our clients' businesses, and to work collaboratively to help clients achieve their objectives. To assist our clients with UAS technology, we can specifically draw on our industry knowledge and expertise in areas including Aviation, Government Contracts and Compliance, International Trade Compliance, Product Liability, Emerging Companies and Venture Capital, Intellectual Property, Mergers and Acquisitions, Education, Health Care, Taxation, and Technology and Outsourcing, to name but a few. Among other things, we can conduct internal investigations, apply for licenses and exemptions, advocate before government agencies, courts, and other fora, prepare disclosures, perform risk assessments, and offer compliance counseling and corrective action planning.