Though we are a California based firm, through our membership association of over 190 independent highly-rated law firms worldwide, we provide clients with representation throughout the US and the world.
Representing Businesses and Their Owners
Since its inception, Coleman & Horowitt, LLP has focused its practice to provide a full range of services to businesses and their owners.
A Commitment to the Community
Coleman & Horowitt, LLP believes it’s not enough to merely provide exceptional service and advice to our clients. We also have a duty to serve the community.
We Have The Professionalism Of
25 YEARS OF SERVICE WITH OVER 100 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
Coleman & Horowitt, LLP was established in 1994 by William H. Coleman and Darryl J. Horowitt.
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[Podcast] How to Choose the Right Business Entity Structure for You
Listen to the episode here Attorneys Stephanie L. Dunn and Daniel L. Rudnick join the Valley Innovators podcast to share tips and tradeoffs for the various business entity structures (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, C-Corp, S-Corp, etc.) including liability protection, tax implications, oversight required, and much more. Listen to learn more about the best business structure to support your needs. Listen to the episode here: https://www.valleyinnovators.com/podcast-episodes/episode/4b1ec0c2/how-to-choose-the-right-business-entity-structure-for-you Learn more about Valley Innovators here: https://www.valleyinnovators.com/listen to the podcast
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ROMAG FASTENERS, INC. V. FOSSIL GROUP, INC.: WHEN IS WILLFULNESS REQUIRED UNDER THE LANHAM ACT?
By Stephanie L. Dunn Download a PDF of the article here In trademark litigation under the Lanham Act (“Act”), one of the most significant claims sought by the plaintiff is the disgorgement of all profits earned by the infringing defendant. The disgorgement remedy is designed to be a major deterrent to trademark infringement. Until recently, there was a vast split in the Federal Circuit Courts regarding the showing the plaintiff would have to make in order to qualify for the disgorgement remedy. The First, Second, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Federal Circuit Courts held that in order for the defendant’s profits to be awarded, the plaintiff had to show the defendant’s conduct was willful. On the other side, the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eleventh Circuit Courts applied a balancing test to determine if profits could be awarded, where proof of willfulness was a factor to be considered, but not dispositive of the overall outcome. This split between the Circuits has now been resolved by the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Romag Fasteners v. Fossil, 140 S.Ct. 1492 (April 23, 2020). Romag stems from a case regarding fasteners for handbags and accessories produced by the well-known designer Fossil. Fossil originally signed an agreement with Romag to use Romag’s fasteners on Fossil’s handbags and accessories. Romag later discovered that Fossil’s factories in China were using counterfeit Romag fasteners and sued Fossil for trademark infringement. Romag requested part of Fossil’s profits be awarded as a remedy for the infringement. The court initially denied Romag’s request for profits because, while the jury found that Fossil had acted callously, they did not find that Fossil acted willfully and therefore, an award of profits was not supported by the Lanham Act (“Act”). Romag appealed and the Supreme Court ultimately reversed the ruling. Remedies under the Lanham Act for trademark violations are primarily governed by section 1117, while sections 1111 and 1114 create limitations to those requesting to be awarded profits. Upon review, the Supreme Court determined that when the various remedy sections of the Lanham Act are cross referenced with one another, they do not specifically require a plaintiff to establish willfulness on the part of a defendant to be eligible for an award of profits. The Supreme Court further noted that in enacting the Lanham Act, the legislature took great care to explicitly detail the mental states required for increasing statutory damages, and thus, the fact that the Act is silent on a willfulness requirement to obtain profits is reason to hold that such requirement does not exist. Fossil attempted to claim willfulness was required based on the phrase “subject to the principle of equity” in § 1117(a), arguing that historically courts of equity require a showing of willfulness before authorizing an award of profits for trademark disputes. However the Supreme Court stated that such claim would require the court to assume that Congress intended to incorporate a willfulness requirement even though there was no such requirement specifically set forth in the Act. Rather, the Act explicitly prescribed such conditions for other types of damages elsewhere. Additionally, the Supreme Court noted that the phrase “principles of equity” has been used by Congress and in the Lanham Act on multiple occasions, all with different meanings and contexts. As such, the Supreme Court held it was unlikely that Congress meant the phrase “principles of equity” to create such a narrow rule about profit remedies in trademark law. Ultimately, the court concluded that while defendant’s state of mind and willfulness is an important consideration in awarding profits to plaintiff, it is not an explicit requirement. The Supreme Court’s opinion might lead some to believe that they can be awarded a portion of an infringing defendant’s profits regardless of the innocence or intentional nature of defendant’s actions; however, they should proceed with caution. While Justice Sotomayor concurred with the majority’s ruling, she did so in judgment only. Justice Sotomayor noted the majority’s opinion appears to suggest that a court is just as likely to award profit damages against an innocent infringer as they would a willful infringer, even though doing so goes against the already well established legal authorities. Such legal authorities have rarely awarded profits for innocent infringement and goes against the long standing equitable principles that aim only to deprive wrongdoers of profits for their misconduct. Furthermore, while the Supreme Court ruled that willfulness is not a requirement in order to be eligible for recovery of profits, it is likely the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eleventh circuits will continue to use their established balancing test. Additionally, defendant’s willfulness or lack thereof will remain a key factor in determining what damages should be awarded to plaintiff in these circuits. Unfortunately, we will have to wait and see if the First, Second, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and Federal Circuits decide to follow the other circuits, or develop their own balancing test with regard to an award of profits. If you have any questions and want to know more or think you may have a trademark issue, we are here to help. Let us know at email@example.com. Stephanie L. Dunn is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and received her master’s degree from the University of Oregon. She received her law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law where she also earned a Certificate in Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law. At Pepperdine, Stephanie served as the Managing Editor of the Journal of the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary and published an article titled, “Please Don’t Make Me Pay Taxes: How New IRS Law Helps Art Collectors Avoid Hefty Taxes.” During law school Stephanie worked at the Pepperdine Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, the General Counsel’s Office at the Getty Museum, and the Pepperdine Athletic Compliance Department. Prior to joining Coleman & Horowitt, Stephanie worked in Los Angeles practicing worker’s compensation defense. Stephanie works in the transactions department of the firm’s Fresno and Los Angeles office where she represents clients in the areas of business transactions, real estate, intellectual property, and estate planning.view the article
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David J. Weiland Named Fellow of Construction Lawyers Society of America
Coleman & Horowitt, LLP is pleased to announce that David J. Weiland has been selected as a Fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America. CLSA is an invitation-only construction lawyer honorary society with membership limited to 1,200 practicing Fellows from the United States and internationally. Fellows are selected and invited into Fellowship after being evaluated for effectiveness and accomplishment in construction law, along with ethical reputation. The number of full Fellowships has been kept at an exclusive limit by design, allowing qualifications, diversity and inclusion to align effectively. Fellows are generally at the partner or shareholder level or are independent practitioners with ten or more years’ experience. The purpose of the CLSA is to recognize deserving, experienced, and highly qualified lawyers, to provide an outlet for scholarly authorship of legal articles on construction practice, to provide additional sources for professional development, to promote superior advocacy and ethical standards in the practice of law, to assist in community involvement by its membership, and to advance a superior judiciary, and body of distinguished neutrals, by taking relevant positions on issues or legislation affecting judicial compensation and/or benefits, as well as those affecting the American litigation processes. The information above was taken directly from the CLSA website. For more information visit the website here: https://www.constructionsociety.org/about/ David is a partner in the Firm and is the head of the litigation department. He is a registered civil engineer, represents clients in complex commercial, construction, real estate, professional liability defense, tort defense, as well as municipal law, real estate transactions, and land use matters. David is experienced in all phases of real estate and construction litigation and public agency law. He also has significant experience in the defense of professional liability claims against design professionals and attorneys. You can learn more about David here: https://ch-law.com/about-us/attorneys/david-j-weiland/view the article
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Congratulations to the Coleman & Horowitt 2020 Super Lawyers!
We are proud to announce the Coleman & Horowitt, LLP Super Lawyers of 2020. Every year, Super Lawyers® conducts a peer review of lawyers and names the top 5% as Super Lawyers® and 2.5% of young lawyers as Rising Stars®. Listed and pictured below are the attorneys who have been selected for 2020. Notable Highlights: Darryl J. Horowitt was selected for the 14th year in a row and has sat on the Top 100 Northern California Super Lawyers list from 2015-2019. This is the 12th year David J. Weiland and Eliot S. Nahigian were selected, and the 11th year for William H. Coleman. William H. Coleman Selected To Super Lawyers: 2005, 2011 – 2020 Sherrie M. Flynn Selected To Super Lawyers: 2016 – 2020 Selected To Rising Stars: 2014 – 2015 Darryl J. Horowitt Selected To Super Lawyers: 2007 – 2020 Top 100 Northern California Super Lawyers: 2015-2019 C. Fredrick Meine III Selected To Super Lawyers: 2015 – 2020 Eliot S. Nahigian Selected To Super Lawyers: 2004 – 2006, 2012 – 2020 Sheryl D. Noel, C.P.A. Selected To Super Lawyers: 2016 – 2020 Russell W. Reynolds Selected To Super Lawyers: 2017 – 2020 David J. Weiland Selected To Super Lawyers: 2009 – 2020 Honorable Mentions: The following honorable mentions are attorneys who were selected as Super Lawyers or Rising Stars in previous years. You can learn more and find the Firm on the Super Lawyers website here. Gregory J. Norys Selected To Rising Stars: 2015 Lee N. Smith Selected To Super Lawyers: 2013 – 2014 Craig A. Tristao Selected To Rising Stars: 2015 – 2018view the article
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Return to Work (Part 3) – Employer Considerations for a Remote Workforce
Listen to the Episode Here Craig Tristao, partner at the Firm shares tips for employers about the legal ramifications for managing remote employees. He helps businesses understand the necessity for a work from home agreement and other ways to keep employee morale high while reducing business risk. Valley Innovators is a mission-driven company focused on education, mentorship, and access to capital for early-stage companies throughout California. Programs include online and in-person educational sessions, networking, and the professional resources needed for founders to scale their business. A pitch contest is held annually, where winners will receive cash prizes, marketing exposure, and other tools to help them succeed. Learn more about Valley Innovators at their website here: www.valleyinnovators.comlisten to the podcast