Miriam Richter: Intellectual Property, ‘It’s Really All About Shopping’

MIRIAM RICHTER, ESQ – Upon introducing ourselves, intellectual property attorneys are often met with quizzical expressions at networking events. If the person behind the expression is an attorney, the usual response is a variation of “wow, I haven’t heard that term since law school” or “I don’t know the first thing about what you do”. Over the years, I have developed some stock replies but, by far, the one that gets the best response is “it’s really all about shopping.” Truthfully, that applies best to trademarks, but I like the reaction it gets. The reality is that intellectual property is everywhere and attorneys in all practices areas should be aware of it and its consequences. In 1995, before the Internet boom, 75% of the market value of the Fortune 500 was already in its intangible assets and trending upward.1 The protection of a business’s intellectual … [Read more...]

David S. Willig: New Florida Law Impacts International Family Cases

David-Willig-Attorney-sm3

DAVID S. WILLIG, ESQ. – A new statute in Florida, coming into force from October 2014, is likely to impact international family cases to the extent they call for the application of foreign law.  The foreign law angle is, perhaps, not so farfetched.  We often hear about fellow Americans, some famous and some not so famous, getting married in exotic locales such as Italy, France and Jamaica. The new Florida statute will be codified in the Dissolution of Marriage section, Chapter 61, and will also be applicable in cases under Florida’s enactment of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.   The act itself purports to codify the holdings of different lines of cases involving choice of law provisions, forum selection clauses, enforceability of foreign judgments, the application of the law of a foreign state, and, finally, dismissal of a case on the grounds of forum non … [Read more...]

Florida lawsuit calls Digital Domain ‘de facto Ponzi scheme’

South Florida Business Journal -- The State of Florida filed a lawsuit against Digital Domain calling it a “de facto Ponzi scheme” and seeking to recover $20 million in state incentives granted to the company before it failed. The lawsuit, filed in St. Lucie County Circuit Court by Fort Lauderdale attorney William R. Scherer on July 22, could draw attention in this year's governor’s race. Charlie Crist approved the incentives for Digital Domain while he was Republican governor in 2009. Crist is now running as a Democrat seeking to unseat Governor Rick Scott, who authorized this lawsuit. Read more about Digital Domain here   … [Read more...]

Hospital Agrees to pay $7 Million in Whistleblower Settlement

TAMPA BAY TIMES -- ST. PETERSBURG — All Children's Hospital has agreed to pay $7 million to settle a whistle-blower lawsuit alleging it violated antikickback laws by paying inflated salaries and bonuses to doctors so that they would bring in more patients and revenues. The suit was filed in July 2011 by Barbara Schubert, who was director of operations for the doctors' practice at All Children's for more than a decade. She claimed the hospital overpaid doctors by about $5 million in 2010 alone, violating laws regulating the financial relationships between hospitals and the physicians who bring in patients. All Children's, which denied any wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement, relies heavily on the state-federal Medicaid program. In 2010, the year it opened its new facility, 70 percent of its patient care revenues, or $370 million, came from Medicaid, according to an annual … [Read more...]

David S. Willig: The Civil-Law Notary: A Bridge Between Worlds

DAVID S. WILLIG, ESQ. – The word ‘notary” is usually associated in the public mind with a quasi-official who pulls out his or her stamp when someone needs a witness for an oath or some other legal transaction. Only three hours of classroom time are required to be a notary public in Florida, but the Civil-Law Notary is very different. These notaries, where they are part of the legal landscape, are high-level legal professionals who handle important transactions.   In creating this designation, the Florida Legislature realized one of its greatest unsung achievements. The Scope of the Profession The Civil-Law Notary is intended to function similarly to that of notaries in “civil law” jurisdictions such as Quebec and Argentina, not incidentally two of Florida’s most important international economic partners. Asian countries such as Japan and China also have adopted the use … [Read more...]