FASHION INDUSTRY

The Fashion Industry – apparel and footwear, textiles and designs, beauty and fragrances, jewelry and accessories, furnishings, and more – is a multibillion-dollar global industry subject to a myriad of local, national, and international laws in a vast number of subject areas. Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp (MS&K) has long provided full-service legal counsel to all participants in the Fashion Industry, from new entrants to international brand leaders, and from creators to suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.

Intellectual Property

Our intellectual property lawyers provide efficient, cost-effective representation in the worldwide procurement and administration of copyrights and trademarks, including copyright registration, recordation, title searches, and licensing, as well as trademark applications, trademark availability searches, TTAB inter partes proceedings, trademark licensing, policing, and recordation with the U.S. Customs Service, and assistance in managing international trademark portfolios.

Among our partners is a former Acting General Counsel of the United States Copyright Office who brings a unique insight into all facets of copyright analysis, and a former international trade specialist for intellectual property rights at the Department of Commerce. Attorneys at MS&K contributed significantly to the text and enactment of many federal copyright and e-commerce-related laws passed since 1983, including the Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988, the Copyright Renewal Act of 1992, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 for the Creative Incentive Coalition, and the PRO-IP Act of 2008 for the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy. MS&K is a leading contributor to the Special 301 Report issued by the Office of the United States Trade Representative, which seeks to promote effective intellectual property rights protection worldwide while identifying serious and systemic protection and enforcement issues confronting U.S. rights holders in trading with particular countries. We are also closely monitoring S.3523, the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act, and other legislation potentially affecting the Fashion industry.

Marketing, Advertising & Promotion

We counsel our Fashion clients in the clearance of rights in images and other content to be used in marketing, advertising and promotional campaigns. We have negotiated numerous celebrity endorsement deals between major sports and entertainment stars and leading apparel, jewelry, beauty, luxury goods, footwear, and private-label designers, manufacturers and retailers.

Corporate

We assist Fashion clients in a broad range of corporate, financial and securities transactions. We help start-ups choose and establish the most appropriate business structure for them. We help negotiate and document secured and unsecured financings, stock offerings, and other financing transactions, as well as mergers and acquisitions. In addition, our corporate attorneys represent Fashion clients in the negotiation and documentation of foreign and domestic commercial agreements, including outsourcing, subcontracting, and supply agreements; representation, distribution and franchising agreements; e-commerce agreements; and executive compensation, director and officer agreements.

Real Estate

We are active in all aspects of the acquisition, development, financing, zoning, entitling, leasing, and disposition of commercial properties within and outside
the U.S., representing purchasers, sellers, owners, developers, investors, and contractors. We have assisted Fashion clients with a range of real estate transactions, including the purchase of raw land and subsequent construction of an apparel/footwear warehouse and distribution center; the purchase of an as-built distribution facility for use by a fabric/furnishings importer; and the purchase and refurbishment of a manufacturing facility for a local designer.

Labor & Employment

Recognized as a “go-to” firm for both traditional labor law and employment law services, we counsel management in all areas of the highly regulated employment relationship. We provide practical advice in planning, compliance, and human resources problem-solving, and represent clients in state and federal courts and before a wide variety of administrative agencies.

In union-represented workplaces, MS&K labor and employment attorneys regularly represent management in collective bargaining negotiations and in hearings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). We have guided clients through union elections, strikes, and other labor disputes, and advise on labor law issues in connection with mergers, acquisitions, and restructurings.

We have successfully represented employers in single- and multiple-party and class action litigation concerning employee classification, as well as claims of wage-and-hour infractions, and a host of other employment issues, such as claims of harassment and discrimination, failure to accommodate, wrongful termination, and breach of contract.

Immigration

MS&K is second to none in providing a full range of immigration services to the Fashion industry. Our many decades of experience working through the administrative processes of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency (formerly known as the INS) and many other governmental agencies that affect employment and immigration into the U.S. can prove advantageous when our clients suddenly need that foreign designer here or are arranging a last-minute photo shoot there. We advise and assist our clients in seeking employment visas of all kinds, temporary immigration of foreign personnel, labor certifications, family green card petitions, citizenship petitions, Treaty Trader visas, Treaty Investor visas, and intracompany transfers of managers, professionals, technicians, and others.

We train clients regarding the immigration of foreign nationals, admission of international transferees, compliance with and implementation of federal immigration reform and control laws (including employment verification and I-9 form compliance), and prohibited discrimination under Immigration and Nationality Laws. Our immigration attorneys also represent Fashion clients in U.S. Department of Labor and USCIS audits.

International Trade

Our international trade attorneys regularly advise Fashion clients all along the path goods may take, including importers, exporters, customs brokers, freight forwarders, suppliers, shippers, and others. We work closely with governmental agencies, such as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Departments of Commerce and State, International Trade Commission, U.S. Trade Representative, and Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and counsel Fashion clients regarding FDA compliance, qualification, and labeling/advertising of goods.

MS&K trade attorneys provide advice regarding all issues of classification, valuation, and qualification for Free Trade Agreement, first sale, or other preferential benefits, and are able to assist clients develop cost-effective compliance programs, identify and solve problems, and mitigate or avoid duties and taxes.

We respond quickly and effectively to assist clients in handling customs audits, antidumping allegations, transfer pricing issues, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance, disputes over international terms of sale, the importation of infringing trademarked, copyrighted, or patented goods, the recovery of duties, and other matters that may arise worldwide.

Litigation

MS&K litigators are highly skilled in helping Fashion clients resolve disputes cost-effectively. We frequently try single-plaintiff, multiple-plaintiff, and class action cases, to both judges and juries, with favorable results. We regularly represent clients in administrative trials and hearings before federal, state and local agencies, and in arbitrations, mediations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Our Fashion clients have benefited from our representation in a wide range of matters, including but not limited to claims of antitrust and unfair competition, counterfeiting and piracy, patent, trademark and copyright infringement, disputes regarding distribution and licensing contracts, environmental and land-use issues, and consumer product safety and testing, packaging, and labeling.
 

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