National Make-A-Will Month!

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There is literally never a better time for you to create your estate plan. August is National Make-A-Will Month! Who knew? Why not celebrate by creating an estate plan.

A Will is one of several documents in a recommended individualized estate plan. It is important that you work with a lawyer experienced in estate planning to be sure your estate plan covers certain major issues, including but not limited to:

  1. Who do you want to be the Personal Representative (“PR”) of your estate? The PR is in charge of carrying out your directions and wishes as expressed in the Will. The PR will also pay any outstanding debts and distribute assets as you express in the document.
  2. Who do you want to be the legal guardians for your minor children until they become adults (age 18), if something were happen to you?
  3. What do you want done with both your tangible and intangible property?

I cannot emphasize how important it is to have a clearly written estate plan.  Leaving your family and friends without a valid Will in place can result in confusion as to who is to be the proper guardian of your minor children, can result in descendants of yours receiving assets from your estate which you may  not have intended them to be the beneficiary of and often further results in litigation.

Without a Will, the probate court is forced to name a Personal Representative (a/k/a an executor) of your Estate and there is the possibility that the appointed individual is not who you would have chosen. Why let someone else decide who has control over distributing your Estate when you can make that choice yourself?

A Gallup poll taken in 2015 indicated that only forty-four (44) percent of Americans say they have a Will that describes how they would like their money and estate handled after their death. Therefore, if you already have a Will (and other necessary estate planning documents) you are better prepared for the inevitable than over one-half of Americans. Yet, just because you created an estate plan at one point does not mean that it keeps up with your life changes (or that it is valid in the state your reside).

While estate plans never expire, for your Will to be most effective it needs to be reviewed at least semi-annually and updated as needed. Common scenarios for estate plan revisions can be any major life event such as: a death in the family, change in marital status, birth of a child, major changes in financial situation, and moving out of state. Your estate plan should also be updated as your goals change. For example, you may want to alter the amounts of inheritance or increase/decrease charitable bequests.

Let’s celebrate National Make-A-Will Month together!  Call me to set up a conference to discuss your estate planning needs.

Jason Steinman, Esq.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

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Closing Deals for Off Lease

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Recently, we had a busy week for our client Off Lease Only.  Partner David Blattner closed the acquisition of another 2.38 acres in North Lauderdale for the further expansion of their Broward dealership.    This is the third parcel Off Lease has acquired for this dealership.  The new parcel will allow access to the dealership, located on State Road 7, from Kimberly Boulevard and provide extra parking for Off Lease’s employees.  Once again, the seller was Calvary Church of Ft. Lauderdale.  The church will lease the new parcel from Off Lease and continue to hold services in the existing church building pursuant to a lease David negotiated.

The next day, David finalized a $14,438,000 construction loan with Ally Bank for Off Lease to complete the construction of Off Lease’s new dealership in Orlando.  The property, located on Narcoossee Road and McCoy Road near Orlando Airport, was originally 30 acres of raw, undeveloped land.  Over the last 4 years, Off Lease has sold a parcel for development to Racetrack Gas and has obtained all the necessary approvals to build this beautiful new dealership.   This loan allows Off Lease to construct its dealership on the remaining 23.3 acres.

David Blattner, Esq.

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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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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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Filed under Business Litigation, commercial litigation, Labor & Employment, labor and employment law, Litigation

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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Filed under Business Litigation, commercial litigation, Copyright, Intellectual Property, International, IP Litigation, Patent Prosecution