Six Kluger Kaplan Attorneys Named Best Lawyers in America

 

Congratulations to Founding Members Alan Kluger, Abbey Kaplan, Bruce Katzen, Steve Silverman and Philippe Lieberman and to attorney Terri Meyers, who were selected by Best Lawyers in America 2013 to be among the top legal practitioners in their practice areas:

Alan Kluger - Commercial Litigation / Litigation: Banking & Finance / Litigation: Real Estate

Abbey Kaplan - Commercial Litigation / Entertainment Law / Litigation: Mergers & Acquisitions / Litigation: Real Estate

Bruce Katzen – Securities, Capital Markets Law

Steve Silverman – Commercial Litigation

Philippe Lieberman – Commercial Litigation

Terri Meyers – Intellectual Property

Continue reading

Chow vs. Chow: Miami Beach feud food lands in federal court

In honor of the Chinese New Year, we give you a timely article about the feud between the Chows on Miami Beach. Filed under Food Fight.

Read the full article from the Miami Herald here.

The proprietors of two Miami Beach restaurants with similar names and menus say this town isn’t big enough for both of them. They have taken their feud to federal court.

ADAM H. BEASLEY
abeasley@miamiherald.com

It’s the food fight of the century for all the egg rolls.

Chow v. Chow. Teacher versus student. Legend against upstart.

And it all goes down in a Miami federal courtroom beginning Monday, when a jury must grapple with this fundamental question: What’s in a name?

Among the potential witnesses: none other than former Miami Heat cornerstone Alonzo Mourning.

In one corner — Michael Chow, aka “Mr. Chow,” the creator and owner of the eponymous chain of upscale Chinese restaurants.

In the other — Philippe Chow, 53, a former Michael Chow disciple (and no relation) who went out on his own seven years ago. With the financial backing of restaurateur Stratis Morfogen and several famous athletes, he opened similarly swanky Asian cuisine restaurants intended to compete with Mr. Chow in New York, Los Angeles and South Beach.

The name of his growing empire: Philippe by Philippe Chow.

Confused? According to Michael Chow’s attorneys, that’s the point.

In a federal trademark infringement lawsuit, Michael Chow claims his pupil stole his restaurant’s name, its recipes and even its unique ambience in an attempt to confuse the public into thinking Philippe Chow was the original “Chow” — which is one of the most common family names in China. The suit, which depicts Philippe Chow as a fraudulent imitator whose 25 years in Mr. Chow’s kitchen were spent as little more than a glorified food chopper, seeks north of $20 million in damages.

The accused says all that is nonsense and has counter-sued on defamation grounds. Philippe Chow’s legal and financial teams claim he was a high-level chef, and along with Philippe’s mentor Sik Chung Lam, helped create Mr. Chow’s menu. As for Michael Chow, Morfogen describes him as a narcissistic celebrity front man who got rich on the backs of others.

“Michael Chow can’t boil water,” said Morfogen, who lured his star chef away from Mr. Chow’s New York location in 2005, only to open a near-replica just three blocks away. “He’s not a chef. The real story behind this lawsuit is Mr. Chow’s ego.”

Morfogen’s attorney, Anthony Accetta, plans to make that very point, with the help of a star-studded roster of witnesses.

Mourning, who along with fellow athletes Chauncey Billups, Al Harrington and Jerome Bettis is an investor in Philippe’s locations in Miami Beach and Boca Raton, is expected to testify on behalf of Philippe.

So too is hotelier Giuseppe Cipriani, the target of a similar Michael Chow lawsuit in California. Cipriani’s insult: Calling his Beverly Hills hotel and restaurant Mr. C — also too similar to “Mr. Chow” for Michael Chow’s liking.

Michael Chow, the 72-year-old Chinese expat whose father Zhou Xinfang was the famed grand master of the Beijing opera, declined comment during a break in his case’s final pre-trial hearing Wednesday.

But his attorney, Curtis B. Miner, has framed the debate as a battle for intellectual property rights, claiming that Philippe mimicking Mr. Chow’s essence and the recipes to what appear to be common Chinese dishes is tantamount to stealing the secret recipe to Coca-Cola.

While the lawsuit wasn’t filed until 2009, Michael Chow has been simmering for some time. It began when Chow learned that his old employee had teamed up with Morfogen to plan a Chinese-cuisine restaurant in New York. Alarms went off, the lawsuit states, when Michael Chow learned that his new competitor had legally changed his name from Chak Yam Chau to Philippe Chow and gave his new business the same moniker.

Read the rest of the story here.

Caesars scores interim win in Octavius trademark lawsuit

Caesars Entertainment Corp. of Las Vegas has scored an initial legal victory over a Florida man who claims to own the trademark to the name “Octavius Tower.” Read the full story from Vegas Inc. here.

Caesars scores interim win in Octavius trademark lawsuit

By

Caesars is preparing to open its expanded 668-room Octavius Tower at Caesars Palace — the sixth hotel tower at the resort on the Las Vegas Strip.

Marcel July of Port Charlotte, Fla., and his company, Octavius Tower LLC, claim to own the “Octavius Tower” trademark and have been ordering Caesars to stop using that name for the tower, the first portion of which opened in 2009.

Caesars responded with a federal lawsuit in Las Vegas in April against July accusing him of trademark fraud.

The lawsuit charged that two days after Caesars announced plans in July 2007 to build Octavius Tower, July registered website domain names using the Octavius Tower name and the Caesars name, including octaviustower.com and caesarstower.com.

As the lawsuit progressed, July sought an injunction against Caesars Entertainment to block it from use of the “Octavius Tower” phrase.

U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro on Monday denied his bid for an injunction, ruling July had failed to meet his burden of proof that an injunction is warranted.

Navarro noted in her order that Caesars Entertainment in July 2007 had filed a trademark application for the Octavius Tower mark as it related to “hotel services,” but later abandoned the application because of delays in development of the tower. A second application was filed by Caesars in December 2010.

July, who says he founded a band called Octavius Tower in 1992, in 2009 received a trademark to the phrase Octavius Tower for “entertainment services.”

July, represented by Las Vegas attorney Michael Sanft of Sanft Law Group, argued in his preliminary injunction request that besides founding the international band in Germany, he had been using the Octavius Tower mark for broad entertainment and merchandising services.

Navarro didn’t buy those arguments, at least for the preliminary injunction stage of the case.

“Caesars makes strong arguments against July’s use of the mark that extinguishes July’s prima facie case,” Navarro wrote in Monday’s order.

The ruling did not close the case — the lawsuit will now likely continue with each side seeking a final order spelling out the rights to the Octavius Tower name.

Caesars is represented in the litigation by attorneys with the Las Vegas law firm Santoro, Driggs, Walch, Kearney, Johnson & Thompson as well as the Atlanta firm Alston & Bird LLP.

Bennett Marine wins patent lawsuit

Trim tab manufacturer Bennett Marine was awarded judgments totaling more than $250,000 from Lenco Marine, company president Richard DeVito Jr., and Rinker Boats in a patent infringement case dating from 2004. Read the full story here.

Bennett Marine wins patent lawsuit

Posted on 06 October 2011

Trim tab manufacturer Bennett Marine was awarded judgments totaling more than $250,000 from Lenco Marine, company president Richard DeVito Jr., and Rinker Boats in a patent infringement case dating from 2004.

Last week, a U.S. District Court judge in the Southern District of Florida ordered Lenco Marine and DeVito to pay $248,858 and Rinker to pay $27,680 to Bennett Marine.

Rinker was found liable for direct infringement of U.S. patent No. 5,113,780. Lenco Marine and DeVito were found liable for inducement to infringe on the patent, and Lenco Marine was found liable for breaching a 2003 settlement agreement between the parties.

Rinker president Kim Slocum was also included in the lawsuit, but no judgment was issued against him.

The patent is for the auto tab retractor, a device that retracts the trim tabs when the boat’s ignition is turned to the off position. Bennett received the patent in 1992.

“What this ruling means is that product innovation is still protected and that patent infringement won’t be tolerated in this industry,” Bennett Marine president Blake Bennett said in a statement. “Our customers can feel confident about doing business with a company that stands behind its products and defends the competitive advantage these products provide.”

When Soundings Trade Only spoke with Bennett Marine in 2007, prior to the case going to trial in 2009, the company said it was seeking $10 million in damages and attorney’s fees. However, Bennett said Wednesday that he was pleased with the recent ruling.

“Since it was never our desire to sue anyone, the size of the judgment does not affect our satisfaction with the verdict,” he told Soundings Trade Only in an e-mail. “The ruling brings the case to an updated status, for which we are grateful. The findings of willful patent violation open the door for us to seek repayment of an astounding amount of legal fees that were invested in this case.”

DeVito was on vacation and could not be reached for comment, according to the person answering the phone at Lenco Marine. Additional calls for comment from the company were not returned. A spokesman for Rinker, which is owned by Nautic Global Group, said the company was not interested in commenting on the issue.

The court case follows a settlement agreement in 2003, when Lenco paid Bennett royalties and damages of more than $25,000 while not admitting infringement, according to court documents. As part of the settlement, Lenco was to advise boatbuilders not to wire the products to the ignition in order to prevent the builders from violating the patent.

“The court does find, however, that in 2006 Lenco began manufacturing and selling infringing devices which are designed to be wired through the tachometer gauge, thereby indirectly resulting in the trim tabs retracting upon removal of electrical power from the engine,” court documents said.

“The court finds this conduct to constitute patent infringement. The court also finds that because of the design, manufacture and sale of these devices, which were developed for the specific purpose and intent of trying to circumvent the ‘780’ patent … Lenco induced infringement by Rinker and others,” court papers said.

The documents add that DeVito and Lenco assured customers that there was “no patent problem” and that Bennett’s claims were “not that huge of a deal.”

Court documents also show that in 2004 Lenco and Rinker entered into an indemnification agreement and that Rinker believed it was protected from suit.

“Since April 2007, Rinker has been wiring Lenco’s [auto tab retractor] to the tachometer [gauge] instead of the key switch as before, so that upon removal of power from the boat’s engine, the ATR still retracts,” according to court documents. “Thus, Lenco’s actions encouraged and induced Rinker …”

The court added, however, that lost profits were not an “appropriate measure” of damages for the case and rejected the testimony of Bennett’s damages expert.

“The court rejects Bennett’s contention that the royalty rate agreed to in the settlement agreement is a reasonable royalty rate,” the judge said in his decision. “The court concludes that the royalty rate contained in the settlement agreement is not a true reflection of market royalty rate since it was entered into under the threat of litigation. A reasonable royalty rate for any infringement by Lenco and Rinker is based on the discounted retail price of the ATR provided by Bennett to OEM boatbuilders.”

— Beth Rosenberg

b.rosenberg@tradeonlytoday.com

The business model for scholarly papers forms a barrier to the public, but can such walls remain standing?

Interesting article from yesterday’s Guardian in the UK about Academic Papers and Intellectual Property. And as always, there is a Miami connection. Read the complete article here.

Academic publishers run a guarded knowledge economy

The business model for scholarly papers forms a barrier to the public, but can such walls remain standing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aaron Swartz pictured in Miami Beach, Florida in 2009. Photograph: Michael Francis Mcelroy/New York Times / Redux / eyevine

This week George Monbiot won the internet with a Guardian piece on academic publishers. For those who didn’t know: academics, funded mostly by the public purse, pay for the production and dissemination of papers; but for historical reasons, these are published by private organisations that charge around $30 (£18.50) per paper, keeping out any reader who doesn’t have access through their institution.

Continue reading