To clients, friends, and business partners of Prince Lobel Tye LLP:
It was mid-November when Mike Ercolini, a senior associate in Prince Lobel’s growing Intellectual Property Group, received a call from his primary contact at Anova Applied Electronics, a San Francisco-based manufacturer of “smart” kitchen appliances including the popular sous vide Precision Cooker. A group of Chinese companies was marketing inferior-quality sous vide devices using the “Precision” name and trade dress. Mike knew we needed to put a stop to it–and to do so by Black Friday, a mere 10 days away.
Mike promptly assembled a team including partner Paul Hayes, one of the nation’s premier IP litigators, who had joined Prince Lobel just 10 months before, and associates Aaron Jacobs, Jonathan DeBlois, Dan McGonagle, and Amy Rubin. On Monday, November 20, 2017, they filed a 36-page, 25-count trademark infringement Complaint, a 27-page memorandum, and 72 pages of affidavits, all arguing why the court should enjoin the Chinese companies’ use of the “Precision” name and its distinctive product design. After an emergency hearing the very next day, U.S. District Court Judge Dennis Saylor granted every bit of relief that Anova was seeking.
It has been an exciting year at Prince Lobel Tye, and not merely because of the talent of our rapidly expanding Intellectual Property Group. As a year of change has buffeted the nation, our firm has been at the forefront, adapting almost daily to meet our clients’ changing needs.
Data Privacy. Throughout 2017, our Data Privacy and Security Group helped our clients meet their obligations under state, federal, and foreign laws, including preparations for compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the transformative EU data security regulation coming into effect in May 2018. At a presentation in December, our lawyers joined an FBI agent and global cybercrime and cyberforensics experts to discuss current threats and best practices for preventing and responding to cyberattacks and data breaches.
Wage Parity. Our Employment Group has been at the forefront of legal changes demanding wage parity as well as accommodations for pregnant workers and users of medical marijuana. As sexual harassment has come to dominate national headlines, we have continued to educate and defend employers, and in December, we hosted an eye-opening panel discussion with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
Free Speech. Two weeks after the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, a so-called “Free Speech Rally” seemed to threaten similar disruptions in Boston. For 72 hours straight, our Media and First Amendment Group staffed a legal hotline for reporters who might find themselves in the cross-hairs. Amid a national resurgence of libel claims, our litigators this year also obtained dismissal of high-profile cases brought against the media in state and federal court. Our transactional lawyers advised clients about the challenges posed by “native advertising.” And after the state’s public records law was revised, we brought the Supervisor of Public Records and a leading Boston Globe reporter to our firm to explain the changes.
Cannabis Legislation. Last July, Massachusetts finalized a law allowing adult use of marijuana. Our Cannabis Team–comprised of top lawyers from our government permitting, real estate, corporate, and litigation departments–alerted our clients within minutes, and followed up with a well-attended roundtable explaining the new law’s implications. Throughout the fall, we lobbied for quick adoption of policies permitting conversion of nonprofit cannabis clients into for-profit businesses–and then represented the first dispensary in the state to successfully convert. It was a fitting role for a legal team that, since 2014, has been behind the permitting of 11 medical marijuana dispensaries across the state.
Tax Reform. The year came to a close with historic revisions to the nation’s tax code. Our corporate and tax lawyers issued multiple advisories to clients, explaining the likely impact and steps to be taken before year’s end. Our Trusts and Estates Group joined in, co-hosting a webinar on the implications for estate planning.
One thing that didn’t change in 2017 was Prince Lobel’s commitment to the greater community. Our employees donated more than $8,100 to hurricane relief efforts in Texas and Puerto Rico. Weekly #DenimDay appeals raised an additional $28,000 for 47 local and national charities. Our attorneys logged thousands of hours of pro bono work, worth more than three-quarters of a million dollars.
Two cases exemplify the impact of our pro bono efforts. Litigation associate Cailin Burke, with the assistance of Litigation Group co-chairs Bill Worth and Dan Tighe, helped two Guatemalan refugee children, ages 16 and 17, navigate the complex U.S. immigration system in order to gain permanent resident status, allowing them to reunite with their mother after nearly 10 years of separation. Media and First Amendment partner Jeff Pyle helped force the disclosure of Boston Police Department records that led to the release of Frederick Clay, who spent 38 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. “This is the first time I’ve walked without shackles,” Clay told The Boston Globe.
We continue to work with other Greater Boston businesses to try to change the face of the legal community. For the second year in a row, more than 100 law school students and guests attended our “Making the Case for Boston” presentation moderated by founding partner Walter Prince, during which an array of business leaders discussed the opportunities available here for lawyers from diverse backgrounds. I was particularly proud to see Prince Lobel take the lead in inspiring and supporting the city’s next generation of legal professionals.
Recognizing the growing importance of intellectual property protection, our firm vastly expanded our patent and trademark capabilities with the addition of six partners: IP litigators Dean Bostock, Kevin Gannon, Paul Hayes, Thomas O’Konski, Matthew Vella, and, most recently, Brian Tollefson, a litigator and patent prosecutor. Former US ambassador to Iceland Rob Barber joined our Corporate Group, and Richard Wayne joined our Employment Group, both as partners. We also added associates in our Corporate (Brandon Cuffy), Domestic Relations (Amelia Leas, Brittany Rehmer), Intellectual Property (Tyrus Cartwright, Jonathan DeBlois, Michael Ercolini, Aaron Jacobs, Daniel McGonagle), Litigation (Adam Ponte), and Media and First Amendment groups, (Erinn Cawthon, Amy Rubin).
- Real Estate: Partner Diane Rubin was named president of the Massachusetts Real Estate Bar Association, and associate Ian Urquhart was elected chair of the Charlestown Boys & Girls Club Advisory Board.
- Litigation: Partner Heather Gamache was elected to the Board of Directors of the Women’s Bar Association.
- Corporate: Partner Steve Gans announced his candidacy for president of the United States Soccer Federation.
- Media and First Amendment: Associate Erinn Cawthon was named publications chair for the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, and Kathryn Stone was named co-chair of the International Association of Privacy Professionals’ Boston KnowledgeNet Chapter. Partner Rob Bertsche became Second Vice President of the New England First Amendment Coalition, and joined the Supreme Judicial Court’s Media-Judiciary Committee. Rob Bertsche, Peter Caruso, and Katie Stone again presented the popular day-long “Magazine Law Update” in New York for the American Society of Magazine Editors.
- Domestic Relations: Group chair Donald Tye presented at the 2017 Advanced Issues in Child Custody Conference, co-sponsored by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). For Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, and with the assistance of Prince Lobel attorneys Kelly Griffin and Peter Kuperstein, he published a comprehensive guide, How to Try Divorce Cases in Massachusetts.
- Environmental Law: Julie Barry hosted the popular Environmental Business Council (EBC) Resources Program, which featured division directors of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER).
None of these achievements would be possible without the continued support of you, our clients and friends. We’re proud to be a community of individuals with diverse talents who work together to help our clients meet the personal and business challenges they face–and to do so efficiently and economically, in a way that makes business sense.
As we settle into 2018, which we expect to be a year of continued growth and adaptation, we invite your constructive feedback on how we can continue to improve our services to you. Feel free to contact me directly, anytime, at 617-456-8021 or firstname.lastname@example.org.