Blog scientia est potentia - knowledge is power

Attorney Robert Pershes Named to 2017 Florida Super Lawyers List

Perkins Pershes Law Firm Partner Robert Pershes has been named a Top Rated Intellectual Property Litigation Headshot of Intellectual Property Attorney Robert PershesAttorney for 2017 by Super Lawyers Magazine – an annual publication that recognizes Florida’s top lawyers.

Bob concentrates his practice in intellectual property law. He is a patent attorney registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He is both Board Certified in Intellectual Property Law by the Florida Bar and AV-rated from Martindale-Hubbell. Bob is active in the Florida Bar as a member of the Intellectual Property Law Committee and as well as a member of the Litigation and ADR Committees of the American Intellectual Property Law Association. He was the Past President of the Florida Intellectual Property Law Association and Past Co-Chair of the Intellectual Property Law Committee of the South Palm Beach County Bar Association.

Super Lawyers names attorneys in each state who received the highest ratings based on peer recognition, professional achievement and independent research. Only five percent of the total lawyers within the state are selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers. To learn more about Florida Super Lawyers visit: http://www.superlawyers.com.

The intellectual property and business law firm of Perkins Pershes, PLLC was founded in 2014. The firm is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida at 3839 NW Boca Raton Boulevard, Suite 200. The practice focuses on counseling, litigation and mediation in the areas of trademark & copyright law, employment law, and business disputes, including employment discrimination, trade secret, unfair competition, trademark infringement, copyright infringement, replevin, fraud, breach of contract, foreclosure, promotion and marketing disputes, and real estate matters. The attorneys can be reached at (561) 910-8923. Additional information about Attorney Robert Pershes or Perkins Pershes, PLLC may be obtained from the firm’s website at www.perkinspershes.com.

A Trademark Battle with Oprah Winfrey

Recently, Oprah Winfrey won a 5 year trademark battle over the use of the slogan “own your power.” In 2011, Simone Kelly-Brown, a life coach, sued Ms. Winfrey for using “own your power” on the cover of O, Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, claiming she trademarked the phrase in 1996. In this case, the trademark suit brought by Ms. Kelly-Brown backfired on her as the appellate court held that the mark “own your power” is not distinctive and does not warrant trademark protection.

When you are considering the use of a slogan for your business, it is important to do your homework to make sure that you are not infringing on anyone else’s rights and that you have a distinct trademark. This will avoid the waste of time and thousands of dollars in preparing marketing and advertising materials to then find out that the slogan or trademark you are so keen to use, is not a viable option or that you cannot keep other people from using the same slogan. A trademark attorney can assist with doing the necessary research so that you are apprised of the potential issues, if any, in using a particular slogan or trademark. A trademark attorney can also help you protect your rights in the trademark. The attorneys at Perkins Pershes have over 50 years of combined experience handling trademark matters and can assist you with navigating the waters in your choice of a slogan or trademark for your business and help you protect your trademark rights.

Employers Must Use New I-9 Form

On March 8, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published a new I-9 Form for immediate use by employers. Form I-9 is used to verify the identity of the employee and that the individual is authorized for employment in the United States. Employers must keep a completed Form I-9 on file for each person on their payroll who is required to complete the form for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later. Older I-9 Forms will not be accepted after May 7, 2013. There is a Spanish version of Form I-9; however, it may only be used by employers and employees in Puerto Rico. Employers and employees outside of Puerto Rico may reference the Spanish version but must complete the form in English to meet employment eligibility verification requirements.

L.A. Perkins is the founder and managing member of L.A. Perkins Law Firm PLLC in Boca Raton, Florida. L.A. focuses her practice on counseling, litigation and mediation in the areas of trademark and copyright law, employment law, and business disputes. You can reach L.A. at 561-910-8923 or lperkins@laperkinslaw.com.

Get the 2013 I-9 form now:

Supreme Court Ruling on First Sale Doctrine provides Business Opportunity

On March 19, 2013, the United States Supreme Court in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 568 U.S.____(2013), addressed the question of whether the “first sale” doctrine applies to goods manufactured and sold abroad.  In Kirtsaeng, a student from Thailand studying in the United States asked his friends and family back home in Thailand to purchase foreign edition English-language textbooks in Thai book shops and send them to him in the United States.    The student then sold the books, reimbursed his family and friends, and kept the profit.  The book manufacturer filed suit claiming that the unauthorized importation and resale of the book infringed the manufacturer’s copyright.  The Court held that the first sale doctrine applies to the importation of copies of a copyrighted work lawfully made abroad and found no infringement.

The “first sale” doctrine is an exception to the principle under copyright law that a copyright owner has an exclusive right to distribute copies of a copyrighted work. 17 U.S.C. §106 (3).  The “first sale” doctrine provides that once a copy of a copyrighted work has been lawfully sold (or its ownership otherwise lawfully transferred), the buyer/owner of that copy and subsequent owners are free to dispose of it as they wish.  17 U.S.C. §109 (a).  There is also an importation restriction which provides that importing copyrighted work acquired outside of the United States infringes the copyright owner’s exclusive right to distribute copies of the work.  17 U.S.C. § 602(a)(1).  Prior opinions of the Supreme Court, had not addressed the issue of whether the “first sale” doctrine applies to a product manufactured abroad.  Previously, the Supreme Court had addressed  in Quality King Distributors, Inc. v. L’anza Research Int’l, Inc., 523 U.S. 135 (1998), the situation where the copy, although purchased abroad, was initially manufactured in the United States and, thereafter, sent abroad and sold.  In the Quality King Distributors’ case, the Court held that the First Sale Doctrine applies when the imported goods were originally made in the United States.

As a result of the Kirtsaeng decision, any individual or business may import and sell in the United States lawful, foreign made copies of copyrighted works (for example, books and music) without getting permission from the copyright owner.   Thus, U. S. copyright owners doing business abroad should reevaluate their pricing strategies and seek to protect their geographical markets through contracts.  Pricing strategies are significant in light of potential arbitrage, making a legally imported product less expensive than the same product sold in the United States.  Arbitrage could create a situation where the copyright owner ends up competing for business with the importer of the copyright owner’s product.   Accordingly, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Kirtsaeng creates a business opportunity for importers into the United States of copyrighted products lawfully produced abroad who can sell the products less expensively than the same product manufactured in the United States.

L.A. Perkins is the founder and managing member of L.A. Perkins Law Firm PLLC in Boca Raton, Florida.  L.A. focuses her practice on counseling, litigation and mediation in the areas of trademark and copyright law, employment law, and business disputes.  You can reach L.A. at 561-910-8923 or lperkins@laperkinslaw.com.