Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) / Drones

As new federal and state laws and regulations are issued governing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)/drones and drone technology continues to advance, companies in a wide range of industries are increasingly using drones for commercial purposes. They are finding that a multitude of tasks can be completed more quickly, cheaply and thoroughly with drones than was previously possible. Cozen O’Connor’s aviation attorneys operate at the cutting edge of the rapidly changing UAS industry.

We offer drone commercial operators, manufacturers, owners, airports, and municipal governments the full complement of regulatory, transactional, and litigation services. Cozen O’Connor has longstanding relationships with major companies in industries now making advantageous use of drone technologies, including public utility, energy, insurance, transportation, and real estate companies.

  • Our attorneys closely monitor the fast-evolving UAS regulatory landscape. We assist clients in obtaining Part 107 waivers and airspace authorizations; act as a liaison between drone operators and FAA regulators; and provide thoughtful guidance on FAA regulatory compliance.
  • Cozen O’Connor has extensive experience defending clients from operational liabilities that are likely to be the focus of UAS-related disputes: common law privacy claims, product liability, intentional torts, cybersecurity, risk management, intellectual property, and state attorneys general enforcement.  
  • We guide business transactions that require an up-to-the-minute understanding of the drone marketplace and regulations impacting the UAS industry. From negotiating complex contracts and business transactions to pursuing patent protection for new technologies, Cozen O’Connor works with industry leaders to expand drone use and commercial opportunities.

Our aviation practice is ranked by Chambers and The Legal 500, and Cozen O’Connor is listed as one of six “go-to firms” for aviation-related legal counsel by Law360. Our attorneys regularly present and author articles on drone-related legal issues, focusing on both UAS regulatory and liability/litigation issues.


Representative Matters

  • Assisting a manufacturer of innovative drone products to obtain FAA approval to operate its drones on behalf of commercial customers. This was one of the first such approvals granted by the FAA for a drone product of its type.
  • Advising a major global insurance company on its use of drones in underwriting and claims assessment.
  • Advising major U.S. corporations on obtaining FAA approvals to operate drones.
  • Regularly providing counsel to a wide range of clients, including drone manufacturers, airlines, airports, and corporations (including several Fortune 500 companies) on drone regulatory, licensing, compliance, liability, litigation, and contracting issues.


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Could Criminal Penalties for Negligent Drone Operations Extend to Corporations? [Aviation Alert]

May 24, 2018

Bill Walsh discusses why criminalization of negligent drone operation could negatively impact ICAO's and the United States' goal of transparency in aircraft accident investigations.

FAA’s Automated UAS Approval System — A Significant Step Forward [Aviation Alert]

March 19, 2018

Bill Walsh discusses the FAA's LAANC system, next steps in implementing it nationwide, and how this will impact the drone industry and lead to the day of the drones.

States Rev Up Drone Oversight [The Drone Report]

February 06, 2018

This edition of the Cozen O’Connor Drone Report surveys proposed drone legislation in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and West Virginia and discusses recent drone regulatory developments at the federal level.

Drone Advisory Group Raising Regulation Questions [Aviation Alert]

November 08, 2017

Bill Walsh discusses a recent article in the Washington Post and its implications for the Drone industry.

Government Agency Action Accelerates On Drone Operations [The Drone Report]

September 12, 2017

This edition of the Cozen O’Connor Drone Report discusses FAA’s statement on the success of Part 107 (its regulations governing commercial uses of small drones), the status of drone-related rulemakings, DOD’s guidance on drone operations over military installations, the new partnership between DHS and Mississippi to test and evaluate drones, pending federal drone legislation, Federal citations for drone use in Yellowstone National Park, and proposed legislation in California related to the use of drones for law enforcement surveillance.

In The News


David Heffernan

Chair, Transportation & Trade


(202) 463-2537

William H. Walsh



(206) 224-1296


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