Miami Tower – Here We Come

Assouline & Berlowe Partner Peter E. Berlowe.jpg

Litigation Partner Peter Berlowe seated in Miami Tower Conference Room

After 14 years in Coconut Grove’s Continental Plaza, Assouline & Berlowe is moving its Miami Offices to the iconic Miami Tower in downtown Miami.

Beginning July 21, 2018, the official address of Assouline & Berlowe’s Miami Office will be: Miami Tower Building, 100 SE 2nd Street, Suite 3105, Miami, Florida 33131.

Please make a note of this change of address.

Eric N. Assouline, Esq.

Managing Partner
Business Litigation
ABLOGOCROP
ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.
www.assoulineberlowe.com

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment Law, Real Estate, International Dispute Resolution, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Law, and Bankruptcy

Miami · Ft. Lauderdale · Boca Raton

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15 Years Later – the Hard Work Starts to Pay Off – Litigation Department of the Year

Winner of Daily Business Review's Litigation Department of the Year for Small Firms in the Section of Real Estate and Other Litigation

Litigation Partners Peter E. Berlowe and Eric N. Assouline at the 2018 DBR Awards Ceremony

Before starting the firm in 2003, both Peter Berlowe and Eric Assouline worked as associate attorneys at the Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP law firm.  Hanging in the office of the Head of the Litigation Department was a framed plaque that read “Defense Verdict of the Year.”  This plaque commemorated the awesome accomplishment of the senior partner’s efforts, and it was recognized by the American Law Journal.  Eric Assouline used to look at this plaque in awe and wonder if he could ever achieve the heights of his mentor.

In its 15th year, Assouline & Berlowe has grown into a recognized and well regarded presence in the South Florida legal community.  Assouline & Berlowe works with businesses and individuals on a wide array of legal issues, ranging from real estate, business litigation, intellectual property, employment, and trusts, estates and probate matters.

On May 30, 2018, Assouline & Berlowe was recognized by the Daily Business Review for the tireless hard work and effort of its attorneys, when the firm was awarded Litigation Department of the Year, for Small Firms, in the areas of Real Estate and Other Litigation.

The award came as a surprise to the management of the firm, not because they did not think that they had anything short of an excellent litigation department.  Instead, it was because the litigation department of Assouline & Berlowe only consists of 7 attorneys, and the firm, as a whole only has 12 attorneys.  The Small Firm category of the DBR award was open to all firms of 69 attorneys or less.  Firm management thought that there must be dozens of other firms that had many celebrated successes worthy of trying to win this award.  Nonetheless, again, the tireless effort of the firm management did as it always does, all that could be done to try to win.

Now, the hard work for the last 15 years, is starting to pay off.

Eric N. Assouline, Esq.

 

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 East Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Dania Beach, Florida  33004

Main: 954.929.1899

Fax: 954.922.6662

Email: ENA@assoulineberlowe.com 

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

Intellectual PropertyLabor & EmploymentCreditors’ Rights & BankruptcyBusiness LitigationCorporate & FinanceReal EstateInternational Law

 

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Filed under Business Litigation, commercial litigation, Corporate Law, Intellectual Property, labor and employment law, Real Estate

Is Your Estate Planned?

Jason Steinman, the newest Partner at Assouline & Berlowe, is happy. Do you know why? Because he just planned out a client’s estate.

Business clients at the firm often ask “is it really necessary to have an estate plan?”

All too many clients believe if they are married that everything will pass to their spouse anyway so it is not necessary. Although that may be what happens, it may not.

IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL.

Anyone who has any assets, heirs, children, or money in the bank, should speak to a trust and estate attorney and go over all the types of documents they should have in their estate plan in order to properly protect these assets in case of death or incapacity.

Eric N. Assouline, Esq.

Managing Partner

Email: ena@assoulineberlowe.com

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New Employment Law Developments

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

 

For all the media time devoted to President Trump, many of you may have missed some actual law-making going on behind the scenes.  Let me take a moment to update you as to three developments which should be of interest to employers:

 1-9 Audits on the Rise

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced plans to increase I-9 audits this summer and focus on punishing employers who hire illegal workers and deporting of workers in the country illegally.  Make no mistake – the punishment to be imposed by ICE can include civil penalties and/or criminal charges.

 Accordingly, now is the time to make sure your I-9’s are in order and, if they need to be updated because the form of identification on file has expired or will be expiring soon, update them now.  Not all employers are enrolled in E-Verify, but many in the know believe the aim of ICE’s aggressive tactics is to increase E-Verify enrollment.

 While the audits do not include independent contractors, classifying workers as contractors when they should properly be classified as employees may expose employers to headaches beyond ICE: namely the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service.

 New Rules for Tips and Tip Pools

As part of the 2018 tax bill, Congress amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in regards to tip pools and tip ownership.  First, under the new rules, employers are prohibited from keeping tips received by their employees, regardless whether the employer takes a tip credit. Second, the new rules state that employers who pay the full minimum wage (currently $8.25/hour in Florida) can allow employees who are not customarily and regularly tipped – like cooks and dishwashers – to participate in tip pools.  Note that tip pools must still exclude supervisors, managers and owners.

 Many employers do not pay tipped employees the minimum wage and instead take a “tip credit,” recognizing that the employee’s tips will bring the hourly rate up to and over the minimum wage.  For employers who wish to include back of the house workers in the tip pool, paying the minimum wage rather than the tip credit is a way to accomplish this goal.

 Arbitration Can Eliminate Class/Collective Actions

In the case of Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis , the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an arbitration clause in an employment agreement which precluded the employee from bringing a class action against the employer.  The 5-4 decision authored by Justice Gorsuch makes clear that employer-favored arbitration agreements can be used to eliminate the risk of costly class and collective actions.

 Opponents of such agreements argued that arbitration could not trump employees’ rights to join together to seek common relief.  Based on the holding in Epic Systems, arbitration agreements can be used to eliminate an employee’s right to participate in a class or collective action and require arbitration of the employee’s individual claims only.

 Those of you who require your employees submit to arbitration to resolve any employment-related dispute should have counsel review the arbitration agreement to ensure that it precludes the employee from participating in a class or collective action.  Those of you who do not have arbitration agreements with your employees – either as a stand-alone agreement or as a clause in an employment contract – may want to consider putting this type of agreement in place.

 As always, if you have any questions about the foregoing or other employment-related matters, please feel free to contact me.  Happy Memorial Day to all!

Board Certified Labor and Employment Partner Ellen Leibovitch

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

1801 N. Military Trail, Suite 160

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main: (561) 361-6566

Fax: (561) 361-6466

Email: EML@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

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Happy World Intellectual Property Day!

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April 26 marks World Intellectual Property Day.  At Assouline & Berlowe, we have built a team of Intellectual Property (IP) attorneys that handle a wide range of IP issues that impact many aspects of business.  Most people (including attorneys) do not realize how often IP crosses into all areas of business, from employment law (trade secrets), business sales (IP due diligence), to bankruptcy (inventory and valuation).  IP creates valuable assets for businesses because the IP allows the IP owner to stop others from either using their protected IP without their consent.  IP is a powerful tool that could prevent copying, or monetize IP through licensing deals.  On the other hand, infringing someone else’s IP can be a significant liability for an unprepared business.

The Assouline & Berlowe IP team, including 3 registered patent attorneys, is well equipped to handle all aspects of IP prosecution and litigation.  Our IP team routinely files applications to secure patents, trademarks, and copyrights for clients.  Assouline & Berlowe handles IP in a wide range of industries, including alcoholic beverages, mattresses, transportation, cellular technology, security, and celebrities/influencers.  The IP team is highlighted below:

Peter Koziol co-chairs the firm’s IP litigation department.  Peter handles a wide range of IP, especially related to his background in computer science.  In 2017, Peter was lead counsel on approximately 15% of new patent litigation in the Southern District of Florida.  A majority of this patent litigation centered upon software based patent(s).  Peter is also well versed in drafting licensing agreements and co-existence agreements that relate to IP.  Peter is also equipped in handling IP prosecution, with an emphasis in software related IP.

Loren Pearson handles all aspects of domestic and international patent, trademark, and copyright applications.  His work includes evaluating new technologies for patentability, portfolio counseling, and intellectual property registration, prosecution, and litigation.  Loren has a background in chemical and material science, which aids in his ability to tackle complex inventions.  He is also knowledgeable with licensing agreements, opposition proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), infringement opinions, to name a few.

Greg Popowitz handles both IP prosecution and litigation.  His background in mechanical engineering and the automotive industry gives a unique perspective on mechanical based products and processes.  Greg handles the IP for an established adult beverage company, along with a wide range of small businesses and entrepreneurs.  Greg is able to assess the client’s needs and tailor fit a custom plan to properly protect and maintain the client’s IP.

Assouling & Berlowe’s IP team has a wide range of competencies to assist businesses with their IP needs.  Whether you need to secure IP protection for your intangible assets, monetize IP you already own, or purchase/license IP, the IP team at Assouline & Berlowe is well equipped to handle your IP needs.

Below is an inventory of the hundreds of patent and trademark applications and registrations handled by the IP Team at Assouline & Berlowe.  This does not include the hundreds of other marks and patents that have been addressed by Assouline & Berlowe attorneys, either from the standpoint of enforcement, counseling, and means of protection.  Over the years, some applications/registrations are abandoned for various business purposes.

PATENTS

pat1

pat2

pat4

pat3

TRADEMARKS

TM12

TM11

TM10

TM9

TM8

TM7

TM5

TM6

TM4

TM3

TM2

TM1

TM13

#worldipday

For any Intellectual Property questions, please contact our offices below.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

Miami: (305) 567-5576

Fort Lauderdale: (954) 929-1899

Boca Raton: (561) 361-6566

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, Creditors’ Rights & Bankruptcy, Business Litigation, Corporate & Finance, Real Estate, International Law

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“My Other Bag” is a Louis?

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Isn’t the point of a parody to be funny? “Weird Al” Yanovich is well known for his music that makes fun of popular artists/music, such as  Amish Paradise, a parody of Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise, and Eat It, a parody of Michael Jackson’s Beat It.   Weird Al is so well known that his successful fair use defense of copyright litigation has become a leading case on musical parody.

Fast forward to Louis Vuitton (“LV”), the Paris based luxury hand bag brand company.  Consumers world wide know the LV brand and the status behind “Having a Louis”.  LV claimed copyright and trademark infringement by My Other Bag (“MOB”), a California based entity.  In a recent decision, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of MOB.

MOB created a series of handbags where one side of the bag had a similar pattern of famous handbag company brands and the other side said “My Other Bag”.  In this case, MOB imitated LV’s interlocking L and V letters with interlocking M, O, and B letters.  Needless to say LV did not appreciate the similarity of the style and design of its famous mark.

With respect to likelihood of confusion with LV’s brands, the court noted differences between LV and MOB’s design, lack of market proximity, and lack of actual confusion.  From a dilution standpoint, the court said MOB’s bags are a parody of LV’s bags, bringing them within the fair use exclusion of trademark dilution. The critical point was that MOB was not using LV’s brands solely to increase their own sales by confusing consumers that MOB’s bags are associated with LV’s bags.  To the contrary, MOB was using LV’s well known brand and images as a parody because it was clear MOB was not trying to pass off their bags as LV produced bags.  Consumers would know they were buying a MOB bag, not a LV bag.

While a trademark owner has obligations to police their brand, trademark owners should carefully weigh all factors before bringing suit.  In this case, the parody fair use defense was strong for MOB, along with other factors.  More importantly, LV helped market MOB’s products by instituting this action and bringing more attention to the alleged infringement.  Now, “My Other Bag”, with the help of LV, has gained notoriety in the hand bag industry.  But they have a far way to go to compete with Weird Al.

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/

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Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, Creditors’ Rights & Bankruptcy, Business Litigation, Corporate & Finance, Real Estate, International Law

 

 

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Recognizing Michelle Suskauer as SPBC FAWL Woman Lawyer of the Year

On March 29, 2018, the Past Presidents of the South Palm Beach County chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers (SPBC FAWL) presented their annual “Woman Lawyer of the Year” award to Michelle Suskauer.  Among Michelle’s many achievements, she is most notably the President-Elect of The Florida Bar, a partner with the law firm Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A., a highly-respected criminal defense attorney and an outspoken advocate for women.

Ellen Leibovitch, head of Assouline & Berlowe, PA’s labor and employment department and Board Certified Labor & Employment attorney, is a Past President of SPBC FAWL and chair of this event.  The event was held at the beautiful Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, and was sponsored by over 30 organizations, including Assouline & Berlowe.

Previous winners of the Woman Lawyer of the Year award include Barbara Pariente, Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, and Samantha Schosberg Feuer, Circuit Court Judge for the 15th Judicial Circuit.

For any questions about SPBC or FAWL, please contact Board Certified Labor and Employment Partner Ellen Leibovitch.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

1801 N. Military Trail, Suite 160

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main: (561) 361-6566

Fax: (561) 361-6466

Email: EML@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

 

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