Gary Epstein Named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America

Posted in Firm News

For the 11th consecutive year, global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP has more attorneys listed in Best Lawyers in America than any other law firm in the guide. The 2018 edition of Best Lawyers in America lists 366 Greenberg Traurig attorneys nationwide. (See full list here.) The guide also lists 26 of the firm’s attorneys as “Lawyers of the Year” in their respective practices and markets.

Tel Aviv office Managing Shareholder and Co-Chair of the firm’s Israel Practice, Gary Epstein, was mentioned for the 20th consecutive year in Best Lawyers in America and was recognized as part of the publication’s list of “Lawyers of the Year”.

About Greenberg Traurig’s Tel Aviv Office

Greenberg Traurig is the only major international law firm with a multidisciplinary, registered office in Tel Aviv and serves as a gateway for Israeli businesses and entrepreneurs seeking opportunities around the world. Greenberg Traurig’s Tel Aviv office provides Israeli clients with legal services in North America, Europe, South America, Asia, and other international jurisdictions and represents non-Israeli companies seeking opportunities within Israel.

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Greenberg Traurig Number One in Number of Litigation Cases Handled in Past Years

Posted in Firm News, Litigation

According to a recent study conducted by Lex Machina, a leading US based legal analytics company, over the last eight and a half years Greenberg Traurig attorneys in the US have defended more commercial litigation cases than any other firm, and also filed more commercial disputes on behalf of plaintiffs. This achievement is enhanced by Lex Machina’s report according to which litigation in the US has generally been on the decline over the last 8 and a half years. As the US forms the world’s largest legal market, Greenberg Traurig is proud to be recognized as a leader in the significant field of litigation, highlighting our litigating attorneys’ achievements across a range of practice areas such as intellectual property, bankruptcy, labor & employment, tax and trusts & estates, real estate operations and governmental, as well as litigation.

Our attorneys in Tel Aviv, as well as Israel Practice members, frequently work hand in hand with Greenberg Traurig’s US offices on complex litigation matters in a wide range of industries, often representing global Israeli entities.

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Bet-the-Synagogue Case: GT Secures Reversal for Pro Bono Client Congregation Shearith Israel in Hotly Contested Suit

Posted in Firm News, Israel

Congregation Shearith Israel, represented pro bono by lead counsel Louis M. Solomon of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, won a complete reversal in the First Circuit Court of Appeals of a lower court decision that had erroneously turned Touro Synagogue over to its tenants.

Congregation Shearith Israel, the country’s oldest Jewish congregation (dating from 1654), has owned Touro Synagogue (the oldest synagogue building in America, dating from 1760) since the early 19th century. The original congregation of Newport Jews had left Newport, Rhode Island, after the turmoil of the Revolutionary War period, and many became members of Shearith Israel in New York.

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GT Tel Aviv Hosts Shurat HaDin Summer 2017 Interns

Posted in Event, Intellectual Property, Real Estate

In late July, the GT Tel Aviv office hosted Shurat HaDin’s 2017 Summer Interns, for a get-together and in-depth presentation on practicing foreign law in Israel as a North American educated attorney.

The head of GT Tel Aviv’s Real Estate practice, Lawrence Sternthal, delivered a presentation of GT Tel Aviv’s international practice to the rapt audience of nine North American-based interns (and their full-time Shurat HaDin Israeli counterparts). The presentation was followed by a two-person panel including Sternthal and Devora Snyder, a Senior Associate in GT Tel Aviv’s Real Estate and IP practices, who discussed their own experiences as North American expats practicing in Tel Aviv.  Israeli microbrews, wine, and snacks fueled the lively Q&A discussion among the interns and the panel.

All those in attendance benefitted from the event and GT Tel Aviv is looking forward to hosting Shurat HaDin again soon!

Shurat HaDin is a legal center based in Tel Aviv and, per its website, is at the forefront of fighting terrorism and safeguarding Jewish rights worldwide [and] dedicated to the protecting to the State of Israel. By defending against lawfare suits, fighting academic and economic boycotts, and challenging those who seek to delegitimize the Jewish State, Shurat HaDin is utilizing court systems around the world to go on the legal offensive against Israel’s enemies.

Welcome News for Non-U.S. Persons Investing into U.S. Businesses: U.S. Tax Court Rejects Long-Standing IRS Ruling

Posted in Tax

On July 13, 2017, the U.S. Tax Court, in Grecian Magnesite Mining, Industrial & Shipping Co., SA v. Commissioner,1 rejected the long-standing Internal Revenue Service (IRS) position that a non-U.S. person is taxed on the sale of an interest in an entity that is a “partnership” for U.S. federal income tax purposes (hereinafter, a partnership) that is engaged in business in the United States.

Under the Tax Court’s holding in Grecian, if a non-U.S. person sells an interest in a partnership or is completely redeemed from a partnership that is engaged in a “trade or business in the United States” the non-U.S. seller is, in general, not subject to U.S. federal income tax on the gain from the sale. (As noted below, one exception to this is that the non-U.S. seller is subject to U.S. federal income tax under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980, as amended (FIRPTA) to the extent that the gain is attributable to the non-U.S. seller’s share of United States real property interests (USRPIs) owned by the partnership.)

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GT’s Rudolph Giuliani and Gary Epstein Opened Trade on TASE for the First Time

Posted in Event, Firm News, Israel, Stock Exchange

Tel Aviv Operating Shareholder Gary Epstein and Former Mayor of New York and Chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Cybersecurity, Privacy and Crisis Management Practice Rudolph Giuliani opened trade on Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) for the first time in late June.

The event, led by Ittai Ben Zeev, TASE CEO, attracted over 200 young entrepreneurs and members of the social organization “Tel Aviv International Salon,” with whom Mayor Giuliani met and spoke to following the ceremony.

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Left to right: Ittai Ben Zeev, TASE CEO; Rudolph W. Giuliani, Former New York City Mayor and Chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Cybersecurity, Privacy and Crisis Management Practice; Gary M. Epstein, Tel Aviv Managing shareholder, Co-Chair Israel practice, Senior Chair, Global Corporate & Securities Practice. Photo credit: Guy Assayag.


Greenberg Traurig Client Mitoconix Bio to Take Aim at Huntington’s Disease

Posted in Israel, Startups

Mitoconix Bio, an innovative Israeli startup bred by Israel’s only life science incubator, FutuRx, has recently raised $20 million to develop a promising drug for the treatment of Huntington’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, as reported by the Times of Israel.

Both Mitoconix Bio and FutuRx are clients of GT’s Barry Schindler, co-chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Global Patent Prosecution Group, and an active member of the firm’s Israel Practice. In addition, Elysa Goldberg and Sarah Fashena work closely with both clients.

Barry Schindler, co-chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Global Patent Prosecution Group

Ben Adler Joins Greenberg Traurig’s Corporate Practice

Posted in Attorney Spotlight

NEW YORK – July 5, 2017 – Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP is pleased to announce that corporate lawyer Ben Adler has joined the firm’s Corporate Practice.

Adler spent nearly 18 years at Goldman Sachs, most recently serving as Managing Director and General Counsel of the firm’s Merchant Banking Division, where he helped manage the provision of legal services to the group’s multi-billion private equity business across the United States, Europe and Asia. Prior to Goldman Sachs, he was a Partner in the Corporate Department at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

The primary focus of Adler’s client work is on corporate investments, M&A and private equity transactions. Adler travels extensively to financial centers where Greenberg Traurig maintains offices, and provides guidance and advice to clients on a worldwide basis. He serves business and portfolio companies on these transactional matters and also on corporate governance, financing, and regulatory issues. He also counsels investment committees, and has extensive experience in fund formation and related matters.

Read the full press release here

How Startups Can Avoid Costly IP Mistakes

Posted in Intellectual Property

Most startup entrepreneurs spend a significant amount of time creating business plans, product development plans, marketing plans, etc. However, startups often neglect one of the most important aspects of planning — developing a plan for the company’s intellectual property (IP) to minimize risks to the company’s intangible assets. This oversight can be a critical mistake that can doom the startup. To help avoid IP headaches down the road, here are some IP tips that every startup company should consider.

Don’t Confuse Which IP Is Necessary for Your Intangible Assets
Not all IP is the same. Different IP options offer different protections, so it is important to understand the distinctions. Generally, these are some key areas of IP to consider:

  • Patent protects the idea.
  • Copyright protects the expression of the idea and requires the memorialization of the idea on a tangible medium.
  • Trademark protects the logo or the name and acts as an identifier of the source of the product or services associated with the logo or name.
  • Trade Secret protects anything that is confidential or proprietary.

Incorrectly pursuing the wrong IP protection can be costly and can place your company at risk. More often than not, entrepreneurs are faced with having to decide whether a patent strategy should be implemented or if trade secret is sufficient.  The answer is – it depends.  Each offers different types of protection with distinct benefits and risks, so you will need to decide which path is right to meet your business goals. It is always best to seek the advice of an IP attorney in this respect.

Avoid Public Disclosure of IP
Inventors may inadvertently jeopardize their ability to successfully apply for or be granted a patent by disclosing information about the invention to the public. Three typical situations to make efforts to avoid are:

Research and Development (R&D) in the Open
With the proliferation of co-working spaces, many companies are conducting R&D in the open and making their prototype available for all to see.  This practice can be considered a public disclosure and will likely foreclose patent protection in most of the world.  The United States affords a grace period of one year to file for patent protection, but consider avoiding doing research in the open.

Publishing or Presenting your Innovation Too Early
Companies sometimes publish or present their research early to showcase their innovation, which is often the core technology around which the company is being built.  In other instances, to fundraise, companies may meet with investors who often refuse to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).  In either instance, the one-year clock for protecting IP will have started ticking, while protection in most of the world will likely have been foreclosed. With this in mind, it is important for companies to file the innovation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) before doing any presentations.

Discussing Innovations You Plan to Pursue
Even after a patent application is filed, any presentation or discussion should be limited to the subject matter that is in the filed patent application.  Also, during an interactive presentation or discussion, be aware of unintended brainstorming sessions between yourself and the other party.  This type of discussion may result in an invented concept not previously in the patent application being discussed with or suggested by the other party.  In such a situation, the inventive concept is now publicly disclosed, and the other party is now a co-inventor in the new inventive concept.

Remember to Secure IP Ownership Up Front
To help ensure the company has complete ownership of all IP assets, as soon as the company is incorporated or formed, all relevant IP should be assigned to the company.

Assignment Agreement
Many companies don’t consider IP early on and do not have proper assignment agreements in place.  If a founder leaves the company, and there is no assignment agreement, that founder owns the IP outright and can take it to a competitor or start a competing company.  What can help avoid this situation is making sure that all innovations are assigned to the company as soon as the company is formed.

Employment Agreement
Similarly, companies should consider putting an assignment clause in the employment agreement stating that the company owns the IP generated during the course of employment. The assignment clause should include the magic phrase, “I hereby assign.” By having an employment agreement with such an assignment clause, should the employee leave before an assignment agreement is executed for an invention, the company can rely on the employment agreement to show proof of IP ownership.

Confidentiality Protocol
If trade secret is an IP strategy or if there is a robust culture of exchanging ideas in a company, having a confidentiality protocol in place can protect the company from inadvertent public disclosure. At a minimum, every startup company should consider including the following provisions:

  1. Making sure appropriate content is marked as confidential and educating employees on the risks of publicly disclosing the information;
  2. Having written agreements with employees and outside contractors that require them to maintain business confidences.
  3. Implementing policies that place limits on the extent to which employees may transfer sensitive material to personal devices (e.g., rules against sending material to a personal email address).

Steer Clear of Using Content and Resources from Previous Employer
As an entrepreneur, “borrowing” trade secrets, know-how, customer lists, etc., from a previous employer is strictly prohibited.  In most cases, you likely signed an employment agreement with your previous employer that prohibits you from using such information to compete. If there was a non-solicitation provision in the employee agreement, you also cannot hire any talent from the previous employer to your new company. Violating either of these provisions can place your company in jeopardy even before it starts.

Make Sure Domain Name and Trademark are Available
In an effort to avoid wasting time, effort, and marketing dollars in branding your product and/or venture, you can make sure that the domain name you want is available first before deciding on a trademark for your product or venture.  Without that domain name, having a trademark that your customers cannot easily associate with your product or venture can be a detriment to your business.

Likewise, performing a clearance study to ensure that your trademark is available before spending resources on a branding campaign can be helpful.  It would be unfortunate if you were to find out late in the process that a competitor has a same trademark for a similar product.  The costs associated with undoing and redoing a branding campaign can be significant.

Health Care & FDA Practice Bulletin No. 5

Posted in Health Care & FDA

Welcome to Greenberg Traurig’s Health Care & FDA Practice Bulletin, a collection of timely articles written by our attorneys that are focused on significant developments in health and FDA law. The topics in this issue include the Affordable Care Act, health care fraud and abuse, regulatory updates, FDA news, other health care topics, and upcoming events.

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