You Thought All Settlement Offers Were Confidential?

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That is not the case if the settlement offers show the case was litigated in an unreasonable manner. Federal Rule of Evidence 408 protects settlement communications.  The purpose being to encourage litigants to communicate and work on resolving the claims of the case.  Like most rules, there are exceptions.

Enter Blackbird Tech LLC v. Health in Motion LLC, 2018-2393 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 16, 2019).  Blackbird sued Health in Motion (“HIM”) and Leisure Fitness Equipment LLC (“Leisure”) for patent infringement regarding exercise equipment.  After 19 months of litigation, Blackbird voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit, with prejudice, and executed a covenant not to sue.  Shortly thereafter, the Defendants moved for attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. 285, which allows an award of attorneys’ fees in patent cases to the prevailing party in “exceptional cases”.  The District Court granted attorneys’ fees and expenses in the amount of $363,243.80, which Blackbird appealed.

The Federal Circuit, which streamlines patent decisions of the district courts, affirmed the decision, holding the District Court did not abuse its discretion due to the way Blackbird litigated the case.  During the course of the litigation, Blackbird had a peculiar settlement strategy of decreasing offers that stood out.  The first offer was $80,000, then $50,000, then $15,000, and finally a walk-away offer of zero.  Defendants rejected all the offers.  The Federal Circuit analyzed the settlement offers and the nature of the decreasing offers, each of which were “significantly less than the cost of litigation.”  The Federal Circuit viewed the offers with suspicion.

The District Court also found that Blackbird unreasonably “delayed in producing documents, withheld many documents until after [Appellees] took [Blackbird’s] deposition[,] and completely failed to produce other responsive documents.”  Lastly, Blackbird unreasonably “filed a notice of dismissal, covenant not to sue, and motion to dismiss without first notifying [Appellees’] counsel, on the same day pretrial submissions were due and shortly before [Appellees’] motion for summary judgment was to be decided.”

While all of the issues led to the exceptional fee award due to Blackbird’s abusive litigation, the unique aspect was the court’s ability to open the window into settlement offers to demonstrate the abusive litigation tactics.  Blackbird’s settlement demands were far less that the anticipated cost of defense, which Blackbird admitted, and equated to mere “nuisance value settlement offers.”  While most settlement offers and negotiations are closed from public view, the court may open that door to assess whether attorneys fees can be awarded in exceptional cases.

For any questions about trademarks, patents, or copyrights, contact Greg Popowitz.

Greg M. Popowitz, Esq.

Registered Patent Attorney / Partner

Intellectual Property Litigation

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

Email: GMP@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

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BANKRUPTCY – China Finally Starts to Embrace Bankruptcy, U.S. Style, to Cushion a Slowing Economy. Wall Street Journal.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-embraces-bankruptcy-u-s-style-to-cushion-a-slowing-economy-11573058567?reflink=share_mobilewebshare

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INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION / BANKRUPTCY PANEL DISCUSSION – October 23, 2019 at the University of Miami

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ONLY 7 DAYS LEFT.

The International Arbitration Society at the University of Miami School of Law is presenting a panel discussion on the conflict between International Arbitration and Domestic Insolvency.

Date : October 23, 2019

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The discussion will be followed by a networking social.

Students, professionals and practitioners are invited to attend and participate.

Please RSVP here: https://lnkd.in/eAT24JM

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Filed under Appeals, Arbitration, Awards, Bankruptcy, BK, Business Litigation, commercial litigation, Copyright, Corporate Law, Florida Bar, Intellectual Property, International, International Arbitration, IP Litigation, Judgments, Labor & Employment, labor and employment law, Litigation, Patent Prosecution, Real Estate, trademark, Trusts & Estates, Uncategorized

Want to Learn More About Intellectual Property? Check out the new CLE by Greg Popowitz.

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Assouline and Berlowe Registered Patent Attorney Greg Popowitz recently recorded a lecture for the National Academy of Continuing Legal Education (NACLE), focusing on a general Intellectual Property Overview and 2019 IP case law update.

Mr. Popowitz detailed the fundamental differences of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets and the nuances of each area of Intellectual Property.  He also discussed some recent key court decisions, including Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) holding the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act unconstitutional under the First Amendment and paving the way for the mark F.U.C.T.  In addition, Mr. Popowitz discussed SCOTOS’ resolution of a circuit split, holding that a party must have completed the registration process before filing suit in federal court, as opposed to simply applying for protection.

To view the NACLE CLE, please click here.  The link is also provided below:

https://www.nacle.com/CLE/Courses/Intellectual-Property-Case-Law-Update-and-General-IP-Overview-1353

For any questions about trademarks, patents, or copyrights, contact Greg Popowitz.

Greg M. Popowitz, Esq.

Registered Patent Attorney

AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Intellectual Property Litigation

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

Email: GMP@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

LinkedIn  ||  Twitter

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“No Wanna Iguana?” ™ in the Toilet!

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This weekend, the work of one of Assouline & Berlowe’s clients hit a little too close to home for one of our attorneys.  A family member walked into their residential bathroom and discovered a young iguana lurking inside their toilet bowl.  Imagine their surprise!

Immediately, we knew to call Redline Iguana Removal to handle the unwanted critter.  Redline came out on a weekend, within minutes, to remove the iguana from the toilet before it could cause any additional trouble for the homeowner.  As expected, Redline handled the situation in a professional manner.  Redline handles iguana removal from residential and commercial locations across South Florida.

Assouline & Berlowe handles Redline’s branding protection, including filing trademark applications for Redline Iguana Removal and “No Wanna Iguana?”.

For any questions about trademarks, contact the Assouline & Berlowe Intellectual Property Team.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

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PARALEGAL SEMINAR – OCT. 19, 2019 – South Florida Paralegal Association

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Assouline & Berlowe Litigation Partner Peter E. Berlowe is one of the guest speakers at this year’s Annual Fall Seminar for the the South Florida Paralegal Association. 

On October 19, 2019 at the Florida International University – College of Law

Located at Rafael Diaz Balart Hall (RDB) Room 2008, 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33199

Offering 6.5 Credits

Including 1  Ethics Credit and 0.5 Technology Credit

With Keynote Speaker

Mercedes M. Prieto, Esq., Clerk of the Third District Court of Appeal on Introduction to Legal Research and Legal Memoranda Writing

and guest speakers


 Peter E. Berlowe, Esq. of Assouline & Berlowe, P.A. on Analysis of an Injurious Falsehood Case and the Paralegal’s Role

 Marc Hurwitz of Crossroads Investigations on A Former CIA Officer’s Guide to Investigations for the Divorce Process

Bianca Moreiras of Bianca Moreiras & Associates on Time Management, Goal Setting and Taking Action

 Felice Solomon of Solomon Search Group on How Paralegals Can Deal With Seven Personality Types in the Workplace

and

 Valencia N. Poitier, Esq. of American Integrity Insurance of Florida, Inc. on HIPPA: Accountability, Ethics and Evidence – Avoiding the Pitfalls of Suppression and Lack of Foundation

The cost to attend the event is:

Students: $25 

Member & Affiliate Members: $55

Non-Members: $65

Continental breakfast & hot lunch will be provided Your Savory Fare

For more information regarding the event, please contact SFPA Vice-President Summer Marshall by email at smarshallfrp@gmail.com


For more information on how to sponsor this event, please contact

Sadena Blatt Miropol by email at sb0929@gmail.com

This seminar meets the requirements of the NALA Certifying Board for Paralegals for continuing legal education credit required to maintain the CP (Certified Paralegal) credential.

To recap:

The South Florida Paralegal Association is proud to present its 2019 Annual Fall Seminar on October 19, 2019 at the Florida International University – College of Law, located at Rafael Diaz Balart Hall (RDB), RDB 2008, 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33199

Celebrating 40 Years of Commitment to the Legal Community

Offering 6.5 Credits (including .5 Ethics Credit and 1 Technology Credit)

With keynote speaker:
Mercedes M. Prieto, Esq., Clerk of the Third District Court of Appeal

And guest speakers:
Peter E. Berlowe, Esq. of Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.,
Marc Hurwitz of Crossroads Investigations,
Felice Solomon of Solomon Search Group,
Valencia N Poitier, Esq. of American Integrity Insurance of Florida, Inc., and
Bianca Moreiras of Bianca Moreiras & Associates

The cost to attend the event is:
Students: $25
Member & Affiliate Members: $55
Non-Members: $65

Continental breakfast & hot lunch will be provided Your Savory Fare

For more information regarding the event, please contact SFPA Vice-President Summer Marshall by email at smarshallfrp@gmail.com

For more information on how to sponsor this event, please contact Sadena Blatt Miropol by email at sb0929@gmail.com

This seminar meets the requirements of the NALA Certifying Board for Paralegals for continuing legal education credit required to maintain the CP (Certified Paralegal) credential.

All content © SFPA 2019.

South Florida Paralegal Association, Inc. is a non-profit organization. 123 S.E. 3rd Avenue, #367, Miami, Florida 33131.

http://sfpa.info/event-3565682

 

 

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LABOR LAW UPDATE – Exempt Employee Thresholds

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It is Finally Here!

Over the years, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has attempted to change certain rules applicable to implementation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and increase the salary threshold for exempt employees from $455 per week (the level it has been at since 2004).

Many may recall that a rule to increase the salary thresholds for exemptions was first enjoined and subsequently invalidated by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in 2016.   A year later, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has held the appeal in abeyance pending further DOL rulemaking regarding a revised salary threshold.  In other words, the DOL has consistently enforced the 2004 salary level for the last 15 years.

However, the DOL has now finally announced a final rule which is expected to make 1.3 million American workers eligible for overtime pay under the FLSA.  In a nutshell, this rule, which will go into effect on January 1, 2020, accomplishes three primary objectives:

First, the rule updates the earnings thresholds – from $455 to $684 per week – necessary to exempt certain white collar positions, i.e., executive, administrative and professional employees, from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime pay requirements.

Second, the new rule will allow employers to meet up to 10% of the new salary level from nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions).

Third, the rule will increase the salary requirements for the “highly compensated employees (HCE)” exemption from $100,000 to $107,432 per year.

Again, please note that the final rule will be effective on January 1, 2020.

Additional information about the final rule is available at www.dol.gov/whd/overtime2019.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Ellen M. Leibovitch, Head of Labor & Employment Practice – Boca Raton Office and can be reached by email at eml@assoulineberlowe.com or by Telephone: 561-361-6566.

 

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