John M. Vernon

John M. Vernon advises and counsels clients on cross-border international and domestic transactions, including a full range of acquisition, joint venture, privatization, project financing, foreign investment, trade resolution dispute resolution, dealer/supplier, franchising, licensing, product distribution transactions, export compliance, customs and international trade, FCPA, FTZs, ITAR, NAFTA, FTAs, economic sanctions, OFAC, BIS, EAR, CTPAs, CFTA and “deemed export issues.”   For over 34 years, he has guided the development of U.S.-based companies’ expansion into Mexico, Latin American, the Middle East, Europe, and the Far East. Conversely, he has guided the development of foreign-based companies’ expansion into the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  He writes and speaks frequently on the subject of international trade law and compliance.  He is also an adjunct professor at SMU Law School teaching courses in international trade, franchising, licensing, and distribution.

Education & Admissions

Mr. Vernon received his J.D. from St. Mary’s University of San Antonio. Mr. Vernon received his B.S. at the University of Texas at Austin.

Mr. Vernon is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas, Washington D.C., and Utah. He is part of the court admissions for the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Texas, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Texas state courts, Court of International Trade, U. S. District Court for Central District of Utah, Utah state courts, and District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Representative Experience

Client representations in recent transactions include:

Trade and Customs

  • represented major U.S. textile company in connection with the sourcing of goods from mills located in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand for assembly in Maquiladoras in Mexico.
  • represented California garment importer in tariff classification and quota visa disputes with Customs.
  • represented US electronic company successfully through a rigorous Voluntary Disclosure investigation by Customs alleging millions of dollars of misclassified products under the HTS.
  • represented global U.S. logistics company in the import and export of electronics to and from Malaysia, Indonesia, and China.
  • represented U.S. and foreign companies in defense of actions brought by the U.S. Customs Service for alleged violations of U.S. import and export laws.
  • represented major U.S. energy company in compliance planning for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
  • represented large U.S. equipment manufacturer in connection with preparation of compliance program for U.S. Patriot Act.
  • represented several major U.S. companies in relocating to Foreign Trade Zones and establishing in-bond warehouse and distribution programs.
  • represented large U.S. government contractor on trade related dispute with the U.S. Customs Service and the Department of the Treasury.
  • represented Japanese automobile and trucking manufacturer on the reorganization of its U.S. dealership network and the Federal Trade Commission inquiries.
  • represented a multi-national manufacturer with respect to alleged export violations, internal audits, compliance screening programs and ITAR and BXA “deemed export” issues.
  • represented an aerospace R&D firm with respect to establishing an internal Export Control Compliance Program; negotiated government contracts with the U.S. military and prepared appropriate licenses vis-à-vis ITAR and EAR.
  • represented a global pharmaceutical corporation in its internal investigation of possible Helm’s Burton and embargoed countries violations.
  • represented a start-up R&D company in the classification of products and technology under ITAR, EAR and other export regimes; drafted Technical Assistance Agreements and obtained export approval for seeking to export controlled products to sensitive destinations.

Project Development, Energy and Finance

  • assisted large UK liquids company in multi-million-dollar nitrogen injection program in Texas and Mexico.
  • represented global partnership in restructuring debt and project development for real estate project in Malawi, Africa.
  • represented major Japanese construction company in connection with its bid on BOT project for U.S. airport facility.
  • represented U.S. REIT in the acquisition and development of Mexican resort properties in Cancun and Acapulco.
  • negotiated LNG “splitting contract” and “ethylene cracker” facility agreement for UK company doing business in U.S.
  • drafted framework deal for engineering studies for domestic power generation facility.
  • represented multinational oil company in connection with the privatization of 3,200 PEMEX gas stations in Mexico.
  • represented U.S. oil and gas company in connection with the privatization of CNG facilities in Mexico.
  • represented major U.S. energy company in connection with the privatization of gas and electricity concessions in Mexico.
  • represented Malaysian chemical company in development of facilities in Texas.
  • represented Japanese/Malaysian joint venture in its contracts with a large U.S. convenience store chain.
  • represented Malaysian chemical company in debt restructuring of U.S. facilities.
  • represented UK polymer company in its relocation into a FTZ in Houston.   

Business Establishment and Corporate

  • establishment of manufacturing and warehouse facilities in Mexico for large U.S. clothing company.
  • managed international oil-services corporation’s acquisition of a drilling fluids plant in Mexico.
  • advised multinational oilfield supply and services company with 12 Mexican subsidiaries in Mexico and Venezuela on its numerous cross-border transactions.
  • represented a multinational energy company headquartered in Dubai with annual worldwide revenue of approximately $300 million in the restructuring of its Mexican operations and establishment of a new distribution system.
  • represented Mexico’s largest entertainment company in connection with a joint venture relationship with major New York media company for U.S.-Mexico sports and entertainment tours and concerts.

Franchising, Licensing and Product Distribution

  • represented a multinational U.S. coffee franchisor in the establishment of a master franchise relationship with a Japanese venture group for the development of a franchise network in Singapore, China, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.
  • represented a multinational hotel franchisor and an international language school in developing their Mexican franchise operations.
  • facilitated a large U.S. franchisor’s purchase of a 45% interest in its Mexican franchise.
  • represented major automotive distribution network in connection with acquisition of a franchising company for $5 million, and implementation of a retail all-battery franchise concept.
  • represented U.S. hotel franchisor in development and implementation of franchise systems, and related regulatory compliance in over 35 countries.
  • represented major U.S. software company in the establishment and organization of its Mexican subsidiary and negotiated all related software licensing agreements with third-party Mexican licenses.
  • represented large U.S. trucking company in its establishment of Mexican dealership network.
  • represented U.S. distributor of electronic components in the establishment of its Mexican subsidiary.
  • represented major U.S. watch manufacturer in negotiations of a joint venture and licensing agreement with a large Italian clothing company to co-brand high-end watches for international sale.
  • represented major U.S. textile company in the establishment of its Mexican maquiladora facility and its distribution network.
  • represented large U.S. direct selling company in connection with the establishment of Mexican and Latin American direct-selling network.
  • represented major U.S. automobile manufacturer in connection with the establishment of its Mexico dealership network and franchise sales program.
  • represented large U.S. pizza company in connection with its co-branding program with a major U.S. retailer in Mexico.