Tag Archives: Litigation

GREG POPOWITZ – A New Law Partner, Engineering the Firm’s Success

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Patent Attorney Greg Popowitz, Litigation Partner Eric Assouline, and Legal Assistants Ana Hesny and Juliana Alvarez all toast to Greg Popowitz’s promotion to Partner at Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.

Being an attorney was never in his long term plans.  Growing up in South Florida, Greg Popowitz helped his father build wood projects around the house.  He also had the opportunity to take a Manufacturing class in junior high school.  Being able to construct (and sometimes deconstruct) projects took him down a path towards engineering.   Greg loved being able to see how things work, whether it was a simple mechanical pencil or changing the rotors on an automobile’s brakes. 

With that in mind, Greg applied to the prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology, in Atlanta, Georgia (or “GT” for short).  Greg started his freshman year of college in 1998 and chose to major in mechanical engineering. 

At Georgia Tech, Greg learned about the complexities of design, manufacturing, and failure analysis, just to name a few.  He also learned how important it was to work in a team environment.  Georgia Tech’s diverse student body afforded Greg the opportunity to work with students across the country and the world.  Greg also learned how to effectively manage his time given the highly technical and aggressive curriculum.  The study skills Greg acquired at Georgia Tech would pay handsome dividends for Greg down the road in law school. 

After graduating from Georgia Tech in 2002, Greg began to work for Visteon Corporation, a former subsidiary of Ford Motor Company.  Greg worked on drive shafts in the driveline systems division, based near the Motor City, Detroit Michigan.  Greg’s first rotation at Visteon started in the plant where he worked as a product engineer on current model designs.  Greg was involved in troubleshooting both design and manufacturing issues, which included Six Sigma principles.  Greg presented his findings to high level executives at Ford Motor Company.  Greg also worked on forward model designs, where he conducted durability tests and helped launch the driveshaft for the 2005 Ford Mustang. 

During his time at Visteon, a colleague received a patent on a new driveshaft that used a “slip in tube” design.  Greg started asking questions about patents and how a patent protects new inventions.  Greg spoke to Visteon’s in-house counsel, who happened to be a registered patent attorney.  For the first time, this sparked Greg’s interest in attending law school in order to become a patent attorney. 

In 2006, Greg applied and was accepted at Nova Southeastern Law School (NSU).  Greg also took and passed the patent bar exam in order to become a registered patent agent.  Greg interned at an Intellectual Property law firm in order to learn the practical sides of patent law. 

While interning, Greg saw firsthand how important a well crafted patent is when challenged in major patent litigation.  At NSU, Greg also had the opportunity to interview both George McGovern and John Anderson, former Presidential candidates.

After graduating from NSU (cum laude) and becoming a registered patent attorney, Greg worked at a large Florida law firm handling complex mortgage related litigation.  While the work was challenging, Greg quickly learned he wanted to focus more of his practice on IP and have more direct access to help clients on the front lines. 

Then, Greg accompanied his wife, Bankruptcy Attorney Ashley Popowitz, to a lunch, where he met Ashley’s friend and colleague, Eric Assouline.  Eric and Greg, who both shared an immense love for cars, immediately hit it off.  Eric wanted to find a way that Greg could add to the already highly talented IP and commercial litigation team at Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.

In 2013, Greg was offered an associate position at the Firm.  Greg’s practice centered on two main practice areas:  patent, trademark, and other related Intellectual Property prosecution matters; and commercial and business litigation matters.  On the IP side, Greg was able to speak to clients from the initial intake to delivering a registered trademark or issued patent.  Greg has seen small businesses grow and become recognized brand names.  Greg has been able to play a small role in helping businesses and entrepreneurs protect their inventions and brands and also create assets in the form of IP.  On the litigation side, Greg has been able to help clients bring a wide array of claims and also assist clients in defending similar claims.  While each case is different, Greg has learned to assess the nature of the case and help the firm’s clients achieve their long term goals.  Greg has also been involved in a handful of appeals involving the firm’s cases, which has allowed him to work closely with Eric Assouline to assist in writing appellate briefs regarding orders and judgments involving our clients. 

In April 2018 Greg will already be with Assouline & Berlowe for five years.  Greg has learned a great deal during his limited time at Assouline & Berlowe and he is surrounded by a wealth of talented attorneys and staff geared towards helping the firm’s clients maximize their results.  

Assouline & Berlowe is honored to promote Greg Popowitz to Partner and we are all excited to see how Greg can continue to engineer his and the firm’s success for years to come. 

Keep up the Good Work Greg!

#popowitzpartner

 

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Filed under Business Litigation, Copyright, Intellectual Property, IP Litigation, New Partner, Patent Prosecution, Uncategorized

PANAMA PAPERS – Subpoena Issued to Mossack Fonseca Regarding Daddy Yankee Assets

Miami Attorneys Issued a Subpoena to Mossack Fonseca, of the Panama Papers, regarding Daddy Yankee Assetsassouliene-vielleville-berlowe-2
4/12/16- Eric Assouline, Daniel Vielleville, and Peter Berlowe, with ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A., Miami – Picture from Daily Business Review Article 4-14-2016 By AM Holt

 Keeping the whereabouts of your assets is ok, except when . . .

This is a burning question that has surfaced in light of the Panama Papers.  When is it ok to have off shore accounts?  The simple answer is when you do not owe anyone any money and after you have paid all the taxes that are due on the assets that you wish to keep secret.   See recent article by Real Estate and Corporate Law Partner David Blattner: Have the Panama Papers Taught Us Anything We Didn’t Already Know?

You cannot maintain a secret web of companies, with the intention of hiding this information from creditors to whom you owe money.  That is illegal.

You cannot transfer assets that would be subject to execution by a creditor to an off shore, or out of state company, in order to not pay debts that you owe.  That is illegal.

This is the basis of the investigation that has been opened up as to all the public figures mentioned in the Panama Papers.  Including noted celebrity Daddy Yankee.

In today’s Daily Business Review, South Florida’s prominent daily business paper, one of the headline stories regards Assouline & Berlowe, P.A.’s subpoena issued to Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm that has gained notoriety for opening off shore accounts for high profile individuals all over the world.

Through their subpoena, Assouline & Berlowe, on behalf of their clients, creditors of Daddy Yankee, are seeking financial information from Mossack Fonseca as to Daddy Yankee’s assets and financial affairs.

A link to the complete article is: http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/home/id=1202754983211/Panama-Papers-Reports-Show-Daddy-Yankee-Might-Have-a-Way-to-Pay-Millions-Owed?mcode=1202617073880&curindex=2

For more information regarding this case, please contact Daniel E. Vielleville, Peter E. Berlowe, or Eric N. Assouline.

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/12/16- Eric Assouline, Daniel Vielleville, and Peter Berlowe, with ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A., Miami – Photo by Daily Business Review Photographer AM Holt 

 

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Filed under Business Litigation, Daddy Yankee, Mossack Fonseca, panama papers, Uncategorized

Wouldn’t You Want Benefits Paid in U.S. dollars?

Assouline & Berlowe

Attorneys Peter Berlowe, Daniel Vielleville, and Cristina Vicens successfully defended a motion dismiss brought by Cargill, Inc. regarding Cargill’s payment of Adela Ortega’s employment benefits .  Ortega, a 19 year employee of Cargill, was primed to be a top executive after her assignment in the United States.  After her position was terminated, Ortega sought benefits due to her as severance.  Cargill wanted to pay Ortega based in Venezuelan bolivars while Ortega wanted be paid in U.S. dollars, a major difference in value.

In a recent article in the Daily Business Review (click here for the article), Peter Berlowe stated:  “We’re very happy we survived the motion to dismiss, because it shows that this case is not about politics or international law.  It’s really an issue of contract. The company claims their guiding principles are keeping and honoring contracts they enter into and doing right by their employees. They ignored both these principles in dealing with our client.”

At one point “Cargill and its Venezuelan affiliate started pointing fingers at each other” when trying to deal with Ortega’s benefits’ claims, stated Daniel Vielleville.

For a detailed review of the case, read the article featured in the Daily Business Review.

Please contact Peter Berlowe or Daniel Vielleville for any questions about the article and for any business litigation and international law concerns.

Peter E. Berlowe, Esq.

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

3250 Mary Street, Suite 100

Miami, Florida 33133

Main:  (305) 567-5576

Fax: (305) 567-9343

Email: PEB@AssoulineBerlowe.com

http://www.AssoulineBerlowe.com/

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment Law, Bankruptcy, Commercial Litigation, and Corporate Law

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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Litigation Partner Eric N. Assouline to Speak at Circuit Court Boot Camp CLE

Eric N. Assouline, Litigation Partner of The Business Law Firm Assouline & Berlowe, P.A., has been again invited to present as a panelist at the upcoming Circuit Court Boot Camp for Practical Trial Litigation Skills. 

Mr. Assouline has been involved in a wide range of business and commercial litigation.  At this seminar, he and other distinguished panelist, will share their experiences practicing in the state courts.

Learn tips of the trade from experienced members of the bar and bench about litigation skills. 

Circuit Court Boot Camp (4th Annual)

A Practical Trial Litigation Skills Program (Fort Lauderdale 2015)

April 10th, 2015 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port Hotel 1825 Griffin Road  Dania, FL 33004

Click here for more information or to register.

Can’t Attend? Click here to order the home study audio CD. Want the CD now?  Order the recording of our 2014 boot camp here

What you’ll learn when you attend:

  • Case Development & Theories
  • Motions for Summary Judgment/Adjudication
  • Other Motions
  • Discovery and E-Discovery
  • Depositions
  • Oral Arguments
  • Heading to Trial
  • Pre-Trial Matters
    • Bench trial pointers
    • Client and witness preparation
    • Jury selection – voir dire and questionnaires
    • Jury instructions and jury verdict forms
    • Opening trial briefs
    • Motions in Limine, motions to exclude witnesses from courtroom
    • Requests for Admissions of Fact
  • Trial Presentation
    • Opening statements
    • Direct and cross examinations
    • Objections
    • Exhibits
    • Expert witnesses and reports
    • Closing arguments
  • Post-Trial Motions

Full and partial scholarships are always available to legal aid firm attorneys.

We hope to see you there.

Best wishes,
Eric N. Assouline

Business Litigation

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ERIC N. ASSOULINE, ESQ.

Business Litigation Partner

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

213 E. Sheridan Street, Suite 3

Ft. Lauderdale – Dania, FL 33004

Telephone: 954-929-1899

Facsimile: 954-922-6662

Email: ena@assoulineberlowe.com

www.assoulineberlowe.com

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

Miami · Ft. Lauderdale · Boca Raton

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Patent Claim Construction: SCOTUS says – Do Not Disturb!

Do Not DisturbSociety at large is becoming very familiar with patents from shows like The Shark Tank.  Investors repeatedly want to know if your new company has a product that is protected.  Meaning, can you stop someone else in the marketplace from making and selling a product like yours?  A patent does not give you the right to make your product, it gives you the right to stop others from making, using, or selling the invention claimed in your patent.  Did you notice the distinction between your product and what is claimed in the patent?

It is a bedrock principle of patent law that the claims of a patent define the invention.  Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 517 U.S. 370 (1996).  This is difficult to understand since you are claiming the boundaries of an intangible object, intellectual property.  Try this comparison.  When you purchase a piece of real property (land), the boundaries are defined by the metes and bounds of that property.  Want to know where to put a fence?  Is this your property or the city’s?  Check the survey and the metes and bounds.  That is exactly what the claims of a patent do.  They define the outer boundaries of your invention.  It is not merely a picture of your product, it is the boundary of what your invention covers.

As part of any patent litigation, the judge will construct claims that are in dispute by both parties.  Parties will often have differing interpretations of what a word or phrase in a patent claim means, which has far reaching implications to the liability of the alleged infringer.  The judge will decide at a Markman hearing what the word/phrase in the claim means and that will be the definition used by the court and potentially the jury in determining whether the other party infringed the claims of your patent.

In a recent decision, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., et al. v. Sandoz, Inc., et al., No. 13-854 (January 20, 2015) that when the district court uses extrinsic evidence during claim construction (information outside of the patent specification itself), the appellate court must use a “clear error” standard of review.  Extrinsic evidence could be dictionaries, experts in the industry.   If the district court only looks at the intrinsic evidence, information disclosed in the patent itself, the appellate court should continue to use a de novo standard of review.

The rationale is based on the premise that when the district court looks at evidence outside evidence for claim construction, the court is making a factual finding regarding the dispute.  Based on this factual finding, the judge is interpreting the claim term.  As a result, the appellate court must look at the factual finding under a clear error standard of review.  The Supreme Court stated that when only the information contained in the patent itself is used to determine the meaning of a patent claim term, it is a legal determination and should be reviewed under a de novo standard.

If you have any questions about the patent process, contact Mr. Popowitz below.

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

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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Filed under Business Litigation, Intellectual Property, Patent Prosecution

Partner Michael S. Greene presents at South Florida Disaster Preparedness Conference

Real Estate Law

Partner Michael S. Greene will be speaking at the upcoming South Florida Disaster Preparedness Conference, in conjunction with Environmental Research and Restoration, and Indoor Air Quality Association Inc.  The conference is aimed at helping businesses protect their assets as emergencies often strike with little or no warning.  Early planning to address your response to emergencies will help businesses protect assets, mitigate the impact of an emergency, and accelerate the recovery process.  Representatives from Siemens and Florida Power & Light (FPL) will also be presenting.  The Disaster Preparedness Conference 2014 will cover:

  • existing business community plans and procedures
  • business risk and impact of potential emergencies
  • planning emergency preparedness and response
  • how to develop business unit management plans and procedures
  • implementation of your disaster recovery plan through detailed testing and employee training

Event details:

  • August 14, 2014 from 8:30am to 4:30pm
  • Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Davie Campus
  • Liberal Arts Building, Main Auditorium

Michael S. Greene’s law practice centers on the areas of real estate development and finance, real estate acquisition, sale and leasing, construction law, construction contracting and claims resolution, indoor environmental and disaster preparation and recovery, ADA and Accessibility Code, Fair Housing Act hospitality law, land use and zoning law, healthcare facilities, including nursing homes and senior living projects, trademark and copyrights for owners, design professionals and manufacturers, and alcoholic beverage licensing. Mr. Greene represents developers, institutional and entrepreneurial building owners, purchasers, sellers, landlords and tenants, contractors, mold assessors and remediators

For more information about real estate matters and strategy, contact:

Michael S. Green, Esq.
Telephone: 954-929-1899

With offices in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Boca Raton

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment Law, Bankruptcy, Commercial Litigation, and Corporate Law

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11th Circuit Denies Bank’s Argument to Compel Arbitration

ArbitrationMichael Dasher, a checking account customer, sued RBC Bank (Bank) in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging that the Bank, rather than depleting debit card purchases chronologically, reordered them at the end of each day drawing funds for larger purchases before smaller ones. The alleged result: larger purchases were accounted for first; leaving smaller and more numerous purchases (each) subject to a $35 overdraft fee each.

Dasher’s 2008 Account Agreement (typically signed when opening an account and governing the bank–customer relationship) included a provision subjecting overdraft disputes to arbitration. The Bank asked the District Court to halt the litigation and compel arbitration. The Court, relying on earlier precedent, denied the Bank’s motion; and voided the provision as it effectively impaired Dasher’s ability to vindicate his rights in Court. The Bank appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Before the appeal was heard, the U.S. Supreme Court decided AT&T Mobility v. Vincent Concepcion et ux., 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011). The decision is significant in (1) confirming the liberal federal policy of the Federal Arbitration Act (9 U.S.C. 2) favoring arbitration; and (2) declaring that certain class-wide arbitration agreements are enforceable, notwithstanding states law to the contrary. Recognizing that the two factors (if considered earlier by the District Court) could have changed the outcome, both parties successfully had the Appeals Court remand the case to the trial court for reconsideration. Parenthetically, Dasher’s action is part of a larger case now pending in the District Court: the Checking Account Overdraft Multidistrict Litigation.

In 2012, PNC Financial Group, Inc. (PNC) acquired RBC Bank and Dasher’s account. Before completing the acquisition, PNC issued a new Account Agreement that neither contained an arbitration clause nor mentioned arbitration. The Bank renewed its motion to compel arbitration. It argued that the earlier RBC Account Agreement controlled. Dasher challenged; arguing that the PNC Account Agreement (which was silent on arbitration) superseded the earlier Account Agreement. The District Court agreed with the later position; and the Bank Appealed.

In its February 10, 2014 decision, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s decision that arbitration provisions do not automatically survive in a superseding contract unless specifically adopted in the new contract. Dasher v. RBC Bank, Case No.: 13-10257 (11th Cir. 2014).  Neither silence nor the courts’ policy favoring arbitration will help save the provisions.

As the Bank saw it, the District Court made five reversible errors:

  1. The Federal Arbitration Act created a presumption of arbitration that the District Court failed to apply;
  2. Contrary to the district court’s holding, the PNC Agreement’s silence on arbitration cannot invalidate the RBC Agreement’s arbitration provision;
  3. The district court improperly ignored the termination clause in the RBC agreement;
  4. The district court improperly applied the PNC Agreement retroactively to disputes that arose while the RBC Agreement was still in effect; and
  5. The district court relied upon provisions in the RBC Agreement to support its analysis, undermining its holding that the RBC Agreement was entirely superseded and proving that the arbitration clause was “singled out” for disfavored treatment in violation of the FAA.

The Appeals Court, in a 33 page opinion, was not persuaded.

  1. Although the FAA does create a presumption in favor of arbitration, the presumption applies in the case of ambiguity. Where it is not clear if the parties did indeed agree to commit themselves to arbitration as their exclusive dispute resolution process. Here, both contracts are valid agreements. The earlier RBC Account Agreement contains an arbitration clause the later PNC Account Agreement.
  2. The District Court’s holding was proper. Under state law, the PNC Account Agreement superseded the RBC Account Agreement in its entirety. The provisions of the latter agreement did not survive; and, specifically, the arbitration clause was ineffective.

The Dasher decision is in agreement with other Second and Sixth Circuit decisions.

For more information about arbitration, contact:

Carl H. Perdue, JD, LLM

Senior Counsel and Partner

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

1801 N. Military Trail, Suite 160

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main:  (561) 361-6566

Fax: (561) 361-6466

Email: CHP@assoulineberlowe.com

http://www.assoulineberlowe.com/

Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment Law, Bankruptcy, Commercial Litigation, and Corporate Law

Miami • Ft. Lauderdale • Boca Raton

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Filed under Arbitration, Business Litigation, Corporate Law, International Arbitration, IP Litigation, Real Estate