FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

Melissa Landau Steinman

Venable LLP

Washington, DC, USA

Melissa Landau Steinman practices primarily in the areas of advertising and marketing, antitrust, trade regulation, and consumer protection.  She is uniquely familiar with the technology, retail, media, and hospitality industries.

Ms. Steinman assists companies advertising and marketing their products in traditional and new media: reviewing advertising and marketing materials; vetting pricing and "sales" claims; creating product warranties; advising on product safety issues; and addressing intellectual property and privacy matters. With over twenty years’ experience in the area, she has represented clients in private and government litigation, class actions, Lanham Act cases and Federal and State government investigations. Ms. Steinman wrote and edited the "Guide to Federal and State Regulation of Advertising," a comprehensive two-volume book/CD-ROM on the law of advertising and promotions, and the U.S. chapter of an upcoming treatise (exp. spring 2014) from Globe Law and Business on international advertising law.

Ms. Steinman has also developed a unique promotions and online gaming practice, with experience in the federal and state laws applicable to promotional tools such as gift cards, rebates, "free" gifts, and loyalty programs. In particular, Ms. Steinman has an unusual depth of knowledge about social media promotions and user generated content, combining an understanding of the law of prize promotions, digital media, and federal and state regulatory law. Ms. Steinman has worked with a diverse clientele that includes some of the nation's largest consumer products and services companies; media companies, producers and entertainment personalities; Internet gaming and gambling providers; software companies and technology providers; and a wide variety of nonprofits and charitable entities.  She has written extensively on the subject of sweepstakes and contests, as well as charitable promotions and commercial co-ventures, and contributed chapters to the American Bar Association's new Consumer Protection Law Handbook; and the Promotion Marketing Association's treatise on Promotion Marketing Law. Ms. Steinman speaks frequently on promotions, social media and the marketing topics, and her commentary has appeared nationally in publications as prominent as the Los Angeles Times.

Ms. Steinman also has extensive experience working with clients on antitrust issues, advising them on minimum advertised price and resale price maintenance, price discrimination, and other issues relevant to buying and selling their products.  She has also worked with trade association clients on antitrust policies and standards, certification programs, codes of ethics and other programs and policies.  She has presented on intellectual property and antitrust; associations and standard-setting; privacy, and other issues.

Significant Matters

  • Assisted BlackBerry Ltd (formerly Research in Motion Ltd) in an international, cross-media, multi-promotion effort as it launched its “bet-the-company” Z10 product line. Advised the client in reviewing concepts, assisted in negotiating agency contracts and promotion services agreements, created terms and conditions, and supervised clearance and registration globally of multiple sweepstakes and other promotions. Ms. Steinman also reviewed collateral, claims substantiation, press releases, social media programs, and other materials in relation to the product launch. In conjunction with this effort, Ms. Steinman was seconded, at the client’s express request, to act part-time as in-house counsel for approximately six months.
  • Helped MicroStrategy, Inc., a multinational software company, to develop and launch an international prize promotion in conjunction with one of the world’s most prominent soccer franchises that ran in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan. Developed the structure of the promotion, advised the client on the creation of marketing materials for the campaign for compliance with U.S. law, and supervised the legal clearance of the promotion in the listed countries, utilizing Venable’s network of international counsel. The matter was an outgrowth of Ms. Steinman’s work for the client in developing a new social media application that interfaces with a user’s Facebook account to create a Craig’s List-like platform that is limited to users’ social graph (i.e., their friends and friends-of-friends on that particular social media platform).
  • Performed a comprehensive assessment and update of Capital One’s regulatory database to ensure that all future promotions were compliant with federal and state regulations, such as the federal CARD Act, lottery and prize promotions laws, state gift card laws, and state UDAAP (unfair, deceptive, abusive advertising practices) statutes.
  • Provided comprehensive advertising counseling to Marriott International, Inc., as it prepared a global re-branding campaign, including review of all advertising, social media outreach, and sweepstakes and promotions.
  • Analyzed whether the pay-to-enter "road show" version of a major game show would constitute illegal gambling under state or federal law.
  • Represented the defendant in one of the first resale price maintenance cases filed after the Supreme Court's decision in Leegin Creative Leather Products v. PSKS, Inc.
  • Drafted numerous association certification and standard-setting programs, providing counseling on related antitrust compliance issues.


Ms. Steinman is currently serving her second term on the Board of the Brand Activation Association (formerly the Promotion Marketing Association). She is also active in the BAA’s Legal and Government Affairs Center of Excellence and chaired its 34th Annual Marketing Law Conference.  She is a member of the Antitrust Division of the American Bar Association, including the Consumer Protection and Privacy Subcommittees, the Maryland Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar Association, and the Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia. Ms. Steinman serves as a Class Agent for the Columbia College Class of 1990.

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