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Deborah Ann Nilson

Doing business in the US- CIC webinar

Taking Care of Business: Deborah Nilson Shares Insights at Upcoming Webinar

Taking Care of Business: Deborah Nilson Shares Insights at Upcoming Webinar 800 450 Deborah Ann Nilson

Deborah Nilson is delighted to speak at the CIC Webinar  – Doing Business in the US – on January 12, 2022 at 10 AM (EST)/16H (France) ; how to adopt good reflexes, develop your business in the U.S. and anticiate operational issues (in French). 

Link here for registration:  https://lnkd.in/dJmxsJ74 

Caitlin Delaney

Caitlin Delaney has become a Partner of the firm

Caitlin Delaney has become a Partner of the firm 800 1046 Deborah Ann Nilson

The Nilson Law Group, PLLC is delighted to announce that Caitlin Delaney has become a Partner of the firm.

While Caitlin works with many French and European clients, Caitlin also has ties with Quebec and has developed significant expertise in assisting Canadian companies and entrepreneurs enter the U.S. market.

Caitlin is a graduate of the University of Scranton and Brooklyn Law School. Before law school, Caitlin lived, studied, and taught English in Paris and Thionville, France.

Please read more about Caitlin at https://nilsonlaw.com/about/#our-team.

2021 Holiday Video

2021 Holiday Video 1101 1072 Deborah Ann Nilson
The Nilson Law Group new website

Welcome to Our New Website!

Welcome to Our New Website! 1920 1080 Deborah Ann Nilson

We’re excited to announce the official launch of our new website is finally LIVE! A big thanks to our design and development team at Kronologie & Chase Jennings, as well as to Deborah Ann Nilson and Nathalie Gast for their collaborative efforts.

Have you explored our new site yet? Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below!

Charity Gates of Nilson Law

Our New Associate, Charity Gates

Our New Associate, Charity Gates 1920 1080 Deborah Ann Nilson

Welcome to our new associate, Charity Gates!

With the addition of Charity, we are now seven attorneys and growing!

Charity Gates is a graduate of Emory University and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. While in law school, Charity served as the Articles Editor of the International Comparative, Policy & Ethics Law Review. She also completed internships at Louis Vuitton Americas, Christie’s, the New York State Supreme Court, and a general practice law firm. Charity studied abroad in Paris, France during her time at Emory and is proficient in French.

Prior to joining The Nilson Law Group, PLLC as an Associate in August 2021, Charity worked at a firm providing legal services to visual artists. Additionally, she was a rights and clearance associate at a major news organization, focusing on image rights and intellectual property issues. Charity was recently admitted to the New York State Bar.

2020 Holiday Video

2020 Holiday Video 1920 1080 Deborah Ann Nilson

2019 Holiday Video

2019 Holiday Video 1920 1080 Deborah Ann Nilson

Change is Good: Happy Holidays!

Change is Good: Happy Holidays! 150 150 Deborah Ann Nilson
Intellectual Property Protection in the United States

Intellectual Property Protection in the United States

Intellectual Property Protection in the United States 1920 1080 Deborah Ann Nilson

Intellectual property can be among the most valuable assets of a business. Therefore, it is critical that businesspeople understand the different varieties of intellectual property and protect them accordingly. “Intellectual property” describes intangible assets that are creations of the mind, which may be musical, literary, and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; or words, phrases, symbols, and designs. Below is a brief explanation of the different types of intellectual property that are recognized under U.S. law.

Trademarks and Servicemarks

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from others. A servicemark plays the same role for the services offered by a party. In this article, I will use “trademark” to describe both trademarks and servicemarks. The most common examples of trademarks are a company’s name and logo. For instance “McDonald’s” is a trademark of McDonald’s Corporation. The “golden arches” logo, the large yellow M, is also a trademark of McDonald’s Corporation. These trademarks help potential customers distinguish McDonald’s stores and products from other stores and products. A user of a trademark acquires some rights to such trademark by merely using it in commerce, but in order to take advantage of stronger protections under federal law against use by another party or challenges to ownership, a trademark owner must register its trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). Notably, while most European jurisdictions use a class-based registration system, in the United States, a trademark owner may only obtain a trademark registration in connection with the specific goods and services the trademark owner provides or has a bona fide intent to provide.

Once a trademark is registered, a trademark owner must maintain its trademarks properly in order to retain its rights. For one thing, if a trademark owner chooses to license its trademarks, such license must include provisions giving the trademark owner control over how the trademark is used and protecting the goodwill of the trademark and the reputation of the trademark owner. Failing to exercise the required amount of control could result in loss of trademark rights. Furthermore, a trademark owner may lose its rights through abandonment, either by failing to continue to use the trademark in commerce or by failing to stop unauthorized parties from using the trademark.

Copyrights

A copyright is the exclusive legal right to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material. The most commonly-known types of works that are subject to copyright are books, movies, songs, and computer programs (including code). The author of a written or recorded work automatically possesses a copyright in a work as soon as the work is written down or recorded as long as such work qualifies as “original” under applicable federal law. However, in order to create proof of copyright and to avail itself of the stronger protections for copyrighted works provided under federal law, including the right to bring a legal action in court, a copyright holder must register its copyright with the United States Copyright Office. Use of a notice of copyright in connection with the work is also an important tool in copyright protection.

Patents

A patent is the exclusive legal right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling an invention. Unlike trademark rights, copyrights, trade dress rights, and trade secrets (discussed below), patent rights do not automatically arise from use or creation of an invention but must be granted by a governmental authority. In the United States, an inventor must apply for a patent through the USPTO. Moreover, unlike trademarks and copyrights, which may be registered at any time after use or creation of the underlying work, respectively, applicants may only file for a patent within one year of the private or public disclosure of an invention. The two most common types of patents issued by the USPTO are utility patents and design patents. An invention qualifying for a utility patent must introduce a useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter that is novel and nonobvious. An invention qualifying for a design patent must introduce a new, original, and ornamental design embodied in or applied to an article of manufacture that is nonobvious. The term of a utility patent is 20 years, while the term of a design patent is 14 years. Apple Inc. holds design patents for the iPhone, which include, for instance, the rounded edges and the bezel on the front surface of the phones. It also holds a utility patent for the tap-to-zoom feature used in iPhones.

Trade Dress

Trade dress is the distinctive packaging of a product or design of a building, which, like a trademark, identifies and distinguishes the source of the product. For example, the restaurant chain TGI Friday’s decorates its locations in red stripes and uses the same distinctive red stripes in its advertisements. In order to be protectable, trade dress must be inherently distinctive, and its distinctive aspects must not be purely functional. Although it is more difficult to register trade dress than it is to register trademarks, trade dress may be registered with the USPTO, thereby obtaining stronger protections under federal law.

Trade Secrets

A trade secret is a formula, process, device, or compilation used in business which gives the owner an advantage over competitors who do not know or use such trade secret. For instance, the recipe used in making Coca Cola is a trade secret that has never been revealed. Trade secrets cannot be registered. In fact, the only way to protect trade secrets is to preserve their secrecy by implementing proper security and confidentiality procedures within the business which owns the trade secret and with respect to anyone outside the business to whom the owner discloses the trade secret, such as attorneys and independent contractors. If a properly-maintained trade secret is misappropriated, the owner of the trade secret may sue the misappropriating party for damages.

This article provides only a basic summary of the various types of protection available under U.S. law. Consult an attorney for specific and individualized advice tailored to the needs of your business.

Disclaimer

No Legal Advice or Attorney-Client Relationship
The information and materials available in this article are for informational purposes only and are not intended to and do not constitute legal advice, a solicitation for the formation of an attorney-client relationship, or the creation of an attorney-client relationship. The information provided may not apply to your particular facts or circumstances; therefore, you should seek legal counsel prior to relying on any information that may be found in this article. Furthermore, information provided in the article may not reflect the most recent and/or all developments in the law.

Crossing Your T's and Dotting Your I's: Employers' Compliance with Recent Labor and Employment Law Developments

Crossing Your T’s and Dotting Your I’s: Employers’ Compliance with Recent Labor and Employment Law Developments

Crossing Your T’s and Dotting Your I’s: Employers’ Compliance with Recent Labor and Employment Law Developments 1920 1080 Deborah Ann Nilson

As an employer, the rapidly evolving host of state and federal laws that regulate a company’s relationship with its employees may seem overwhelming. Here is a brief summary intended to acquaint you, the employer, with a few major developments in federal and New York State and city employment and labor laws.

1. Deductions from Employee Wages

The Law: The Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”) applies to employers that employ one or more employees who are engaged in, or produce goods for, interstate commerce. It governs wage and hour laws of nonexempt employees (while the FLSA governs both exempt and nonexempt employees, nonexempt are entitled to overtime pay. Exempt employees are not. Most employees covered by the FLSA are nonexempt but not all). It requires you, the employer, to pay nonexempt employees at least the federal minimum wage and overtime for an employee that works more than 40 hours in a week. Employees that are exempt from the law are not entitled to overtime or the federal minimum wage, but employers cannot improperly dock their pay either.

Permissible Deductions: The FLSA allows for some permissible deductions such as when an exempt employee is absent from work for one or more full days for personal reasons other than sickness or disability or for absences of one or more full days due to sickness or disability if the deduction is made in accordance with a bona fide plan, policy or practice of providing compensation for salary lost due to illness.

Impermissible Deductions: Employers cannot deduct en exempt employee’s wage because of the “quality or quantity” of the work. This means that an exempt employee must receive a full weekly salary when any work is performed during the week (the number of hours or days worked is immaterial) and when work is unavailable but the employee is ready, available, and able to work.

New York Labor Law: Section 193 of the New York Labor Law (“Section 193”) was amended to expand the types of wage deductions that are permitted under New York State law. Section 193 now expressly permits employers to make wage deductions to recover overpayment and advances in certain circumstances, pending regulatory guidance from the New York State Department of Labor.

Bottom Line: Employers should not make improper deductions, even to exempt employees as you will lose the exemption if the company has an “actual practice” of making improper deductions from salary. You should consult counsel if considering making any wage deductions permitted by Section 193, and list any impermissible deductions in the Company’s employee handbook.

2. Healthcare Exchange Notice Requirement

The Law: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”) requires employers of all sizes to provide their employees a written (email or hardcopy) notice of the availability of coverage, whether the employer provides coverage or not, through public health insurance exchanges.

The Notice must include – A description of the existence of, and services provided by, public exchanges; – The employee’s possible eligibility for a premium tax credit or a cost-sharing reduction if the employer’s plan does not meet certain requirements; – Information regarding possible loss of employer contribution toward the cost of employer-provided coverage if employees purchase a qualified health plan through the exchange; and – Contact information for customer service resources within the exchange.

Bottom Line: Many employers neglect to distribute such notices because the ACA does not appear to impose any separate penalty for ignoring the requirement. However, lack of explicit penalties does not translate into a lack of consequences and it is recommended that all employers comply with such requirement.

3. New York Paid Sick Leave Act

The Law: The New York City Earned Sick Time Act (the “ESTA”) which came into effect on April 1, 2014, requires most private employers to provide up to 40 hours of paid or unpaid sick leave per year to employees working in New York City which they can use for the care and treatment of themselves or a family member. By law, employers who must provide sick leave must give written notice to new employees when they begin employment and should have provided such notice to existing employees by May 1, 2014.

Application of the ESTA: – ESTA covers employers with five (5) or more employees who are hired to work more than eighty (80) hours a calendar year (employers with less than 5 employees must provide unpaid leave).
-Upon the date of hire, covered employees are entitled to begin accruing sick leave at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, with a maximum of five days (40 hours) of sick leave per calendar year.
-Employers are not obligated to allow use of the sick leave until after 120 days following the date of hire.
-Employees cannot lose accrued sick leave which carries over to the next year; however, such carried over accrued sick time does not add to additional sick leave days. The employee simply does not need to accrue sick leave and can take his or her time when needed. – Employers who give at least five (5) days of part time off (sick leave and/or vacation) does not need to worry about the carry over policy when an employee has in effect used such part time off in any given year. – “Family member” includes grandparents, grandchildren and siblings (along with spouses and children), although the employee must describe the reasons for the sick leave. – ESTA imposes a notice and record keeping requirements on employers.

Bottom Line: Employers who violate the ESTA may be subject to monetary damages, penalties and equitable relief. It is of utmost importance that employers know the law, have a system for accurately calculating accrued sick leave and inform their employees of the same.

4. The New York City Human Rights Law

The Law: The New York City Human Rights Law (the “NYCHRL”) protects employees from discrimination based on traits (such as race) and retaliation for having engaged in protected activity (such as making a complaint of discrimination).

Recent Legal Development: In the case of Mihalik v. Credit Agricole Cheuvreux North America, Inc ., the Second Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed a broad construction of the NYCHRL holding that while certain conduct may not be actionable under federal or state law, that very same conduct may lead to a viable claim under the more lenient standards of the NYCHRL. It may still be difficult for employees to prove an actionable discrimination claim but the case makes it more challenging for employers to obtain summary judgment dismissing claims asserted under the NYCHRL.

Bottom Line: Companies should have detailed, written anti-discrimination policies (acknowledged by all employees in writing) in place; annual recorded training sessions of all supervisors and employees alike regarding compliance with such policies; and an efficient reporting system for inappropriate workplace behavior, including but not limited to, responsible individuals to whom to report and written records of any such complaint.

5. Social Media Policy

Background: If a company has more than a few employees, an employee handbook is a necessary reference tool not only for employees to quickly obtain their workplace policies but for employers as it provides some protection.

Recent Legal Development: The explosion of social media is hardly news to either employers and/or employees. Indeed, various recent rulings, including one by the National Labor Relations Board, attempt to define the legal boundaries between employees’ rights to express themselves (some activities are protected by federal labor laws and blanket restrictions are illegal) and employers’ right to protect their confidential information, online image and presence and/or reputation. However, this area of the law is still murky at best thus prompting companies to have written comprehensive social media policies (which should be included in employee handbooks), and in some industries, thorough training regarding the content and information which employees may share online. Such policies should include at the very least: (i) use of personal social media at work (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram); (ii) use of personal social media about the employer; and (iii) who retains control of the company’s online social media accounts (including passwords).

Bottom Line: Social media can be a valuable marketing and professional tool to recruit and develop competent teams, connect employees, encourage team building, and increase productivity. However, it is in employers’ best interest to develop clear and specific parameters that best protect the company and are in compliance with federal and state laws.

Conclusion

While this article is not intended to offer a detailed exposition of the statutes and regulations themselves, if your business has employees or is considering hiring employees, we would be happy to answer any questions regarding these developments to help your business comply with these laws and/or provide you with sample notices, authoritative information and references to fuller descriptions on these statutes and regulations.

Disclaimer

No Legal Advice or Attorney-Client Relationship

The information and materials available in this article are for informational purposes only and are not intended to and do not constitute legal advice, a solicitation for the formation of an attorney-client relationship, or the creation of an attorney-client relationship. The information provided may not apply to your particular facts or circumstances; therefore, you should seek legal counsel prior to relying on any information that may be found in this article. Furthermore, information provided in the article may not reflect the most recent and/or all developments in the law.

The Nilson Law Group, PLLC