Fashion Law Practice: General Overview
One of the more significant areas of the firm's practice is its Fashion Law Practice. Fashion industry clientele include both public and privately-held domestic and foreign apparel manufacturers, designers and retailers. While many of the firm's partners concentrate their practice in areas of particular interest to the fashion industry, such as intellectual property, licensing, franchising, real estate and labor (including union matters), attorneys throughout the firm provide our fashion industry clientele with substantial expertise in all areas of the law, including financing, bankruptcy and tax.
The firm also represents companies whose businesses are fashion industry-related, such as licensing representatives, public relations firms and entertainment companies involved in licensing their intellectual property, as well as the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), a leading trade association in the United States of the apparel and footwear industries.
The firm's fashion industry clients include or have included a large number of internationally known designers, apparel manufacturing companies, as well as footwear, accessories, fragrances, jewelry and handbag manufacturers.
AREAS OF CONCENTRATION
Phillips Nizer has an active intellectual property practice which is international in scope. We have counseled and represented our textile, apparel and fashion industry clients, as both plaintiffs and defendants, in numerous matters involving trademark and trade dress infringements, counterfeiting, trade secrets, rights of publicity and privacy, and copyrights. We have obtained temporary restraining orders, injunctions and seizures where litigation has been necessary in the trademark area, and have successfully prosecuted copyright (including design copyright) infringement cases for our fashion industry clients as well as other clients in related fields. Our intellectual property group is very active in pursuing trademark counterfeiters and others engaged in unfair competition.
We have been actively involved in fashion industry licensing work for decades. Phillips Nizer has acted as general counsel or special licensing counsel for our numerous designer clients and has also represented manufacturing clients, as both licensors and licensees, in hundreds of licensing transactions. These include not only pure licenses but also joint ventures and other business structures. In addition to traditional trademark and copyright licensing, the firm has been involved in "private label" licensing projects involving retailers. The firm is a member of the Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association.
Franchising and Retail Licensing
Phillips Nizer has broad franchising experience, representing both franchisors and franchisees and acting as franchise counsel to companies in many fields in addition to the fashion field, such as restaurants and convenience stores, food distribution, consumer products and modeling and employment agencies. In the apparel field, we have been involved with a substantial number of boutique franchise and licensing programs, including having served as franchise/boutique licensing counsel.
Phillips Nizer serves as general counsel, special counsel and real estate counsel to leading fashion, apparel and textile companies. We frequently represent our clients in the leasing of flagship stores, freestanding and in-line retail sites, corporate offices, showrooms, and warehouses, as well as licensing for “shop in shop” and boutique locations. Our clients rely on us for our business expertise and our ability to turn around transactions in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
In connection with our long-standing relationships with a wide range of fashion houses, textile and apparel industry manufacturers, retailers and trade associations, we have represented management clients in all aspects of employment law, wage and hour law and labor law. We assist management in traditional labor law concerns, including negotiation and administration of union collective bargaining agreements, arbitrations, benefit fund audits, multi-employer plan claims (including withdrawal liability) and other union-related matters. We also provide hands-on counseling to employers and their management teams with respect to day to day employment and wage and hour issues (including employee handbooks and policies, employee discipline, employee classification, workplace investigations, self-audits, agency audits, minimum wage and overtime). We assist in the negotiation and drafting of offer letters, employment agreements (including restrictive covenants and confidentiality covenants) and separation agreements. On the business side, we have extensive experience in asset and stock purchases and sales of union and non-union employers, and routinely assist employers in connection with negotiating agreements concerning hiring of executives. When our clients are forced to litigate or arbitrate, we defend management with respect to individual, collective and class actions in federal and state court and administrative tribunals involving allegations of employment discrimination, harassment, violations of wage and hour laws, worker misclassification, restrictive covenants and a wide range of other employment-related matters.
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