Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

“My Other Bag” is a Louis?

pexels-photo-463467.jpeg

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/

LinkedIn  ||  Twitter

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

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Litigation, Copyright, Corporate Law, Intellectual Property, IP Litigation, Uncategorized

5.72% – New Interest Rate for Judgments in Florida

pexels-photo-259165.jpeg

As we have mentioned in prior Blog posts, every quarter of the year, Florida reassesses the interest rate that must be charged on judgments in the State of Florida.

What is interesting is that Florida’s statutory interest rate is, little by little, or not so much, creeping up.   Just in the last year, the interest rate has gone up by .67 basis points.

See a chart below with the gradual increase, just in the last 12 months.

April 1, 2018 Judgment

Notably, any prejudgment claim to interest is also governed by this statute.  So, claims that are pending for years have appreciated in value just by the nature of the increase in the statutory interest rates.

Eric N. Assouline, Esq.

Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.

www.assoulineberlowe.com

Miami – Ft. Lauderdale – Boca Raton

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Litigation, commercial litigation, Corporate Law, Judgments, Labor & Employment, labor and employment law, Litigation, Real Estate, Uncategorized

The Mediator: Perhaps the Most Important Role in Litigation

Eric N. Assouline, Esq. as Mediator

Litigation Partner Eric N. Assouline, Esq. presiding as Mediator on Commercial Dispute in Ft. Lauderdale offices of Assouline & Berlowe

No case in Florida goes to trial before going through mediation.  The reason is clear.  Most cases that are referred to mediation settle.

Does that mean that the litigant obtains justice in mediation, no.  So, what is the point?

The point is that mediation: is a way to unclog the courts of cases that should be settled; allows the parties to somewhat control their destiny by deciding if they want to settle for perhaps a part of what they were originally seeking as relief; is a relatively inexpensive way to have a disinterested third party hear both sides of a case and try to help the parties work their way to a settlement; gives the parties an opportunity to assess their strengths and weaknesses when aired out in a confidential setting; allows parties to speak freely behind closed doors, without risk that something that they say will be used in court; the list goes on and on.

As a civil attorney, I have attended dozens and dozens of mediations.  The case does not always settle at mediation.  But, most do.

I am not a Certified Mediator.  However, I have also acted as a mediator on commercial cases, by special request, over a dozen times.

When I am hired in the role of the mediator I have an exceptionally important job.  Both sides are entrusting me with confidential information I cannot share.  I need to know what to say and what not to say, so as not to breach any confidences.

But more importantly, I need to keep working the parties down so that together we will hopefully reach a point that both sides will reach a point that they are ready to settle.   As I tell my litigation clients, I have handled hundreds of litigation cases, and when a case ends, I am yet to hear “man that was fun, I cannot wait to do that again!”   And I do not expect to hear it.  That is why the role of the Mediator may be the most important role in a litigation case.  He/she tries to put an end to the pain.

Eric N. Assouline, Esq.

ena@assoulineberlowe.com

Managing Partner, Head of Litigation Department, Litigator, and Mediator (by request)

Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com

Miami – Ft. Lauderdale – Boca Raton

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Labor (Lawyer) of Love

As a Managing Partner, it is so comforting to know that when a labor issue comes up at the firm, the “go to” person at the firm knows what they are talking about.

Ellen M. Leibovitch is the head of the Labor & Employment Practice Group at Assouline & Berlowe, since she joined the firm over five years ago.

I have know Ellen for 20 years, since we practiced together at at prior firm. Ellen is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in the area of Labor and Employment.

Having Ellen at the firm is true love of our favorite Labor Lawyer.

Thank you Ellen for being you.

ERIC N. ASSOULINE, ESQ.

Managing Partner

Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

CFTC Brings Bitcoin Related Action

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Files Bitcoin Enforcement Action

On January 18, 2018, the CFTC, with assistance from the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement Virtual Currency Task Force, filed a federal civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York against Defendants Patrick K. McDonnell, and CabbageTech, Corporation. d/b/a Coin Drop Markets(CDM), a New York corporation, charging them with fraud and misappropriation in connection with purchases and trading of Bitcoin and Litecoin.

James McDonald, the CFTC’s Director of Enforcement, commented: “This action is among the latest examples of the CFTC’s continuing commitment to act aggressively and assertively to root out fraud and bad actors involved in virtual currencies. As alleged, the Defendants here preyed on customers interested in Bitcoin and Litecoin, promising them the opportunity to get the inside scoop on the next new thing and to benefit from the trading acumen of a supposed expert. In reality, as alleged, customers only bought into the Defendants’ fraudulent scheme. We will continue to work hard to identify and remove bad actors from these markets.”

The Defendants allegedly engaged in a deceptive, fraudulent virtual currency to induce customers to send money and virtual currencies to CDM, purportedly in exchange for real-time virtual currency trading advice and for virtual currency purchasing and trading on behalf of the customers under McDonnell’s direction. The Complaint alleges that the supposed expert, real-time virtual currency advice was never provided, and customers who provided funds to McDonnell and CDM to purchase or trade on their behalf never saw those funds again.

The CFTC Complaint further alleges that to conceal their scheme, Defendants, neither of whom registered with the CFTC, removed their website and social media materials from the Internet and ceased communicating with customers, who lost most if not all their invested funds due to Defendants’ fraud and misappropriation.

The CFTC has issued a Customer Advisory on the Risks of Virtual Currency Trading to inform the public of possible risks associated with investing or speculating in virtual currencies or recently launched Bitcoin futures and options.  The CFTC has also issued several other customer protection Fraud Advisories that provide the warning signs of fraud.

Thank you Carl Purdue for this contribution.

chp@assoulineberlowe.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Litigation, commercial litigation, Corporate Law, International, Uncategorized