Happy New Year

Posted December 31st, 2013 by Aidenbaum Schloff and Bloom PLLC and filed in Uncategorized
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On behalf of everyone at Aidenbaum Schloff and Bloom PLLC, we’d like to wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year!  We look forward to serving your legal needs in 2014.

– ASB

Tax Appeals Reveal Imbalanced Valuations

Property owners in Detroit, MI, may face an astounding increase in the taxes they owe.  A recent examination of Michigan Tax Tribunal cases for Wayne County, MI, by the Detroit News shows that assessments of homes within and by the City of Detroit are roughly 65 percent above their reasonable valuations, which assessment overage leaves property owners with increased and imbalanced tax bills.  Although most of the tax appeal matters within Wayne County are by landlords and businesses, residential property owner-occupants too are facing significant increases to their tax bills.  Visit the Detroit News for more on this story.

Residential property owners may be discouraged by the extended timeline of a tax tribunal proceeding, but not fighting for their rights can be just as, if not more, damaging.  The law firm of Aidenbaum Schloff and Bloom PLLC in West Bloomfield, MI, provides expert tax appeals and related legal services for the greater-Detroit area and beyond.  If you or someone you know is currently financial hardship based on tax increases, you must speak with an experienced attorney right away to protect you and your rights.  Call Aidenbaum Schloff and Bloom at 248.865.6500 to speak with an experienced tax appeals attorney today

How Much “Invention” is Needed to Obtain a Patent?

A common question that pops up with inventors is “how much of my idea must I have actually invented before I can get a patent on it?”  Often times, an individual will have an idea for the next big thing and will want to protect that idea before anyone else can come up with it.  However, having an idea alone may not be enough to obtain patent rights.

The short answer to the above question is that an idea alone is most likely insufficient, as what is truly needed is a detailed, scientific understanding of how the invention works (including how to make and use the invention).  That is, a patent is a monopoly on a technology, and in exchange for being granted such a monopoly, the inventor is required to fully disclose what the invention is and how it works.  Indeed, the USPTO carefully examines every patent application that it receives to ensure that it sufficiently teaches how to make and use the invention, and only those patent applications that meet this burden can eventually become issued U.S. patents.

So, what should you do when you come up with a great idea?  Firstly, begin documenting everything from the specific details of how your proposed technology works to the materials you would need to make it to how the technology is physically built.  Secondly, and once you have some understanding of how your invention works, you must contact an expert in patent law.  Only an experienced patent attorney can truly give you the help you need to get the most out of your invention, including obtaining the best patent possible.

The law firm of Aidenbaum Schloff and Bloom PLLC has an expert team of patent attorneys that handles a diverse spectrum of technologies, from mechanical and electrical implements to consumer goods and software, and that represents all types of inventors from individuals new to patents to businesses with frequent patent filings.  If you are in need of patent services, you must speak with an experienced attorney immediately in order to protect your idea as soon as possible.  Call Aidenbaum Schloff and Bloom today at 248.865.6500 to schedule your patent law consultation.

Trademarks Vs. Domain Names

A couple of common questions that comes up in the practice of intellectual property law are whether a client has trademark rights in its domain name (i.e. Internet URL address), and whether having a registered domain name extends trademark protection to other uses of said domain name.  The short answer to both is “no.”

That is, trademarks and domain names are separate items altogether.  A trademark is a proprietary right in a name, symbol, logo, or other unique identifier with respect to specific goods and/or services available in commerce.  It is used to associate those goods and/or services with their producer in the public’s mind so that consumers understand them as deriving from that producer.  Separately, a domain name is simply a spelled-out address at which an Internet user may locate information related to a registrant.  By typing a company’s domain name into an Internet browser’s web address bar, a person may navigate to such website in order to view information related to the company in question, such as any goods and/or services offered thereby.  While a domain name may comprise the same wording as a trademark, it cannot comprise the same protection because the domain name itself is not associated with any specific goods and/or services.  Read more on this topic and the distinction between trademarks and domain names at Brandaide.

Protecting a brand and product offerings by obtaining trademark protection thereon is one of the most important things a person or business can do.  The law firm of Aidenbaum Schloff and Bloom PLLC in West Bloomfield, Michigan, has an intellectual property team that is highly skilled in trademark law and has successfully obtained trademark protection for numerous clients.  If you are in need of trademark law assistance, call the experts of ASB today at 248.865.6500 to schedule your trademark law consultation.

Supreme Court to Rule on Software Patentability

The United States Supreme Court today announced that it has decided to hear a case defining the scope and eligibility of software for patent protection.  Specifically, SCOTUS will determine whether claims to computer-implemented inventions – including claims to systems and machines, processes, and items of manufacture – are directed to patent-eligible subject matter within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 101 as interpreted by this Court.  The patentability of software has always been a gray area ever since the first software patent was granted in 1981, as software generally relates to intangible, or purely abstract, technologies.  Indeed, even the most recent ruling on the topic failed to set a clear understanding of when software is or is not patentable.

The case is Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International.  Read more about this case and the history of software patents at the Chicago Tribune and SCOTUS Blog.

Judge Rhodes: Detroit Eligible for Bankruptcy

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes today announced that the city of Detroit is eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.  The decision, coming after weeks of testimony in an emotional and precedent-setting case, is viewed as a significant win for the municipality, but a hard loss for creditors who may be forced to accept pennies on the dollar for the debts they are owed thereby.  Creditors and other opponents of the bankruptcy petition vehemently argued that Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder failed to participate in the mandatory “good faith negotiations” with creditors prior to the city’s bankruptcy petition filing in July.  And, although he ended up deciding in favor of the city, Judge Rhodes agreed that the city indeed failed to meet its burden of conducting such “good faith negotiations.”  Notwithstanding this, the substantial number of creditors brought to the table for this bankruptcy matter may have precluded significant fault by the city in that it would have been too difficult to meet with every creditor to enter into such negotiations prior to filing the petition.  Visit the Detroit Free Press for more on this story.

The bankruptcy eligibility decision sets the stage for future large-scale municipal bankruptcies, namely with respect to the extent to which such municipalities may dip into their pension funds for assistance.  Judge Rhodes’ decision today provides that the pensions owed to Detroit’s many retirees and those being developed by its current employees are “not untouchable” in that they may be used to mitigate the city’s debt during restructuring.  Opponents of the Detroit bankruptcy filing have announced that they are appealing Judge Rhodes’ decision, but it has been determined that the city’s mandated financial restructuring will not be put on hold until the appeals process has ended.

Detroit Bankruptcy Decision

The decision on whether the City of Detroit is eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection is expected at any time, with residents, creditors, and attorneys waiting anxiously therefor.  After a nine day trial conducted this month, many experts believe that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ opinion on the landmark case is near.  The decision will likely be appealed and thus not reach finality for some time, and both sides to the dispute are readying their counsel to contest or defend the ruling.  Should Judge Rhodes grant the city’s bankruptcy petition, Detroit will become the largest municipality in the history of the United States to have declared bankruptcy – a status that would set precedent for future city crises.  Please visit the Detroit News for more on this story.

Detroit Deputy EM Appointed; New MI GO Offered

Detroit, Michigan Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr appointed Stacy Fox, an experienced restructuring officer and attorney, as Deputy Emergency Manager for the city late last month.  Orr announced that this appointment would be necessary given the obligations of the Emergency Manager to help with the city’s day-to-day operations in view of the Detroit bankruptcy matter.  Deputy EM Fox will provide Chief of Staff services to the city’s officials while overseeing the fluidity of day-to-day operations and facilitating an easier transition between Mayor David Bing and the candidate who will soon be elected to replace him.  The Detroit News has more on this story.

Bloomberg reports that the state of Michigan has made its first offer since the Detroit bankruptcy petition filing last July to sell off some of its debt via general-obligation securities and bonds (“G.O.s”).  The sale of these G.O.s is expected to fund public projects related to improving Michigan’s environmental and water qualities and control abilities.  Moody’s Investors Service, a reputable bond credit rating business, states that Detroit’s bankruptcy matter is unlikely to pose a significant issue for the valuations of these G.O.s since most businesses and individuals in the state of Michigan will not face any significant hardship from the city’s bankruptcy petition filing or subsequent protection.  Moody’s has thus rated Michigan Aa2, which is the third-highest rating offered thereby.

Detroit Bankruptcy Trial Continues

Detroit, Michigan’s bankruptcy eligibility trial has entered its sixth day today.  The trial, which will provide an official determination as to whether the city is eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, will likely last for several more days, with a final holding expected sometime in the middle of November.  Opponents of the Detroit bankruptcy filing suggest, among other things, that the city failed to enter into good faith negotiations with creditors prior to filing its petition for bankruptcy protection this past July.

Among the parties opposing the city’s bankruptcy eligibility are Detroit residents facing harsh hits to their pension funds.  Approximately 21,000 retired Detroit residents stand to lose the vast majority of their pension accounts in order to satisfy existing debts owed to to the city’s approximately 100,000 creditors.  A recent proposal submitted by Detroit’s attorneys suggests an intention to pay only $0.16 to the dollar to all Detroit pension holders.  Visit Fox News for more on this proposal and how it could hurt retirees.

As can be seen by this proposal, anyone owed money by the city of Detroit stands to lose from the bankruptcy filing.  Detroit creditors are strongly encouraged to speak with an experienced attorney in order to best protect themselves.  The law firm of Aidenbaum Schloff and Bloom PLLC has expert attorneys experienced in bankruptcy proceedings who can help you through this difficult time.  Call ASB today at 248.865.6500 to speak with an expert bankruptcy attorney now.

UAW: Michigan Governor Should Testify

A proposed pretrial order presented by the United Auto Workers (“UAW”) provides that the union wants Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and members of his administrative staff to testify at Detroit’s bankruptcy trial set to begin this Wednesday, October 23, 2013.  The result of the trial will indicate whether Detroit, Michigan may indeed be granted Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, a question that has been at issue since July of this year when a petition therefor was first filed.  The UAW contends that testimony from Governor Snyder and his staff relating to discussions between them and Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr could shed some indecent light on the reasoning behind the bankruptcy petition filing.  The UAW represents the interests of numerous workers who stand to collectively lose millions of dollars if the Detroit bankruptcy petition is granted.  Visit the Detroit News for more on this story.

Bankruptcy Judge Orders Lawsuit Resolution

On Tuesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes announced that the city of Detroit would have 35 days to devise a plan to liquidate its pending litigation.  The city is the named defendant in over 500 lawsuits stemming from incidents ranging from violations of civil rights to police brutality, and these matters are likely to be drastically hindered by the upcoming bankruptcy trial later this month.  The plaintiffs in all of these lawsuits are likely to receive a mere fraction of any appropriate damage award, if anything, based on the wrongful conduct committed against them by city officials.  A declaration of bankruptcy for Detroit, which is expected later this month, would likely force these lawsuits to a quick and largely unresolved end.  Visit the Detroit Free Press for more on this story.

MI Governor Deposed on Detroit Bankruptcy

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder became the first governor in modern Michigan history to testify under oath during his term of service today.  During a private deposition by creditors attorneys, namely those of the United Auto Workers and other union organizations facing pension slashes for its members, Governor Snyder is said to have been asked questions regarding the validity of his decision to send Detroit into bankruptcy.  Click here to read more about this story at Time Magazine.

The news of Detroit’s financial troubles has spanned decades and has seen a sharp decline in the population, tourism, and revenues of the city.  On October 23, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will begin a trial to determine whether or not to grant Detroit’s petition for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.  If granted, Detroit, Michigan would become the largest municipality in the history of the United States to have declared bankruptcy.  Any creditors of the city of Detroit would be forced to accept substantial and significant reductions to the amounts owed to them by the city.  However, the only way to mitigate these losses is to hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney.  The law firm of Aidenbaum Schloff and Bloom PLLC has expert attorneys experienced in bankruptcy litigation and settlement.  If you are a creditor of Detroit, call ASB now at 248.865.6500 for a bankruptcy consultation.

EM Orr: Detroit’s Assets are All on the Table

Ever since Detroit filed its petition for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection in July of this year, a heated debate has many arguing over the value of selling off the city’s assets and whether such sales may even occur.  Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has mentioned numerous times that he does not intend to touch such things as the art collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts or the city’s zoo, as placing those items on the market may cause an uproar amongst residents and/or lead to a significant decrease in the ever-plummeting tourism industry the city maintains.  Despite these past assertions, Orr today made it clear that everything is on the table, referring collectively to the city’s salable assets.  A heated dispute still surrounds the public between the comparative worth of pension funding versus city property; however, in the end of this unprecedented situation, everyone stands to lose.  Read more on this story at the Detroit News.

In particular, the persons and businesses that stand to lose the most are those who are owed substantial amounts of money by the city of Detroit.  Bankruptcy settlements may lead to creditors being forced to accept pennies on the dollar for the debts owed by Detroit, with a line dictating priority of collection already enveloping the city limits.  If you are a creditor of the city of Detroit, no matter the amount of the debt, you must hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney to protect you from the Detroit bankruptcy matter.  Only an expert in bankruptcy law can mitigate your losses to best preserve the debts owed to you.  The law firm of Aidenbaum Schloff and Bloom PLLC in West Bloomfield, Michigan, has expert attorneys with years of bankruptcy experience.  Call ASB today at 248.865.6500 to schedule your bankruptcy law consultation.

Obama Officials Meet on Detroit Bankruptcy

This Friday, September 27, officials with the Obama Administration will meet with Detroit and Michigan leaders to discuss plans for the Detroit bankruptcy, including the possibility for assistance via federal resources.  Among those officials expected to attend the meeting include U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Director Gene Sperling (of the National Economic Council), Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  The White House has made it clear that it intends to help Detroit through its period of financial crisis, which help may be even more necessary in view of recent reports that the bankruptcy may harm regional alliances.  Visit USA Today for more on this news story.

Detroit EM’s Plan for Debt Structuring

Detroit, Michigan Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is expected this week to present his plan for settling a debt repayment matter with two large financial institutions in view of Detroit’s recent Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing.  Namely, Orr will discuss the need to prepare a minimum offer of $250 million to satisfy outstanding debts owed to UBS AG and Bank of America relating to interest rate swapping arrangements made between the city and those institutions.  Such preliminary satisfaction would effectively allow UBS AG and Bank of America to cut to the “front of the line” of creditors and would reduce the amount that everyone else will have to fight over starting next month.  To read more on the arrangements that lead to this potential deal, visit the Detroit News here.

The city of Detroit’s assets have been in the limelight recently with scrutiny over what is up for grabs in view of the Detroit bankruptcy filing.  A vast majority of Detroit residents are against selling off the Detroit Institute of Art’s legendary collections and reductions to pension funds; however, no official plan placing those items in the cross hairs has been set in stone.  Nonetheless, we will all know more after October 23, 2013, when U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will hold a hearing to determine whether or not to grant the city of Detroit’s petition for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

Bankruptcy Decision One Month Away

One month from today, on Wednesday, October 23, 2013, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will hold a hearing to determine the fate of the Detroit chapter 9 bankruptcy petition filing.  Many are expecting Judge Rhodes to grant the bankruptcy petition, which would effectively make Detroit the largest municipality in the United States to have gone bankrupt.  Opponents to the bankruptcy filing are concerned that granting the petition will be the proverbial final nail in the coffin for many Detroit workers and residents who stand to lose substantial amounts of pension money and related, local property.

If you are at risk of losing anything from the Detroit bankruptcy filing, you must speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney immediately.  Only an expert can protect your interests in view of this largest of municipal filings.  Do you need legal help?  Are your assets at risk of being lost to this bankruptcy matter?  Call the expert lawyers of Aidenbaum Schloff and Bloom PLLC, a Michigan law firm, today at 248.865.6500 – attorneys that will fight to protect you from the city’s financial crisis.

Detroit Bankruptcy Case Talks Begin

Earlier today, Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen opened negotiation discussions between city of Detroit officials and creditors attorneys in order to facilitate an expedited settlement process in view of the city’s July Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing.  Chief Judge Rosen, who is the head mediator in the Detroit bankruptcy matter, proposed that the adverse sides thereto, including the Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and approximately 90 attorneys representing the city’s creditors, attempt to resolve as many issues as possible for the sake of the city and region’s future.  These negotiation talks will continue throughout the next several weeks, with a decision on the city’s bankruptcy petition expected towards the end of October.  To read more on this story, please visit the Detroit News.

The law firm of Aidenbaum Schloff and Bloom PLLC provides expert bankruptcy law services to its clients.  If you are a creditor of Detroit, Michigan, and you are not yet represented in the city’s bankruptcy matter, you must hire an experienced attorney to fight for your rights.  ASB’s expert bankruptcy attorneys will help to protect your money from the Detroit bankruptcy.  Call ASB today at 248.865.6500 for your bankruptcy law consultation.

DIA Assets Future Still Uncertain

The 128 year old, nationally-acclaimed art collection maintained and exhibited by the Detroit Institute of Arts has been on the proverbial hot seat for months based on its uncertain status in view of Detroit, Michigan’s recent bankruptcy filing.  The collection, which comprises approximately 66,000 pieces of societal masterworks spanning eras of authorship, is currently being appraised in limited quantities under order from Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who claims to have no intention to sell the art to satisfy Detroit’s sizable debt.  The notion of parting with the DIA’s collection has left the city’s residents and other members of the public feeling uneasy (which unease includes, for example, erecting fire-breathing exhibits to ignite further debate).  Whether or not the city’s art haven will be forced to sell off its collection, in pieces or in totality, and whether such will shutter the institute, remains unknown for the time being.  Read more about the issue at the Detroit News.

No Federal Bailout Planned for Detroit

Although Detroit’s recent Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing has become a hot topic with the White House staff, officials have made it clear that no federal bailout is presently planned for the ailing city.  The government is trying to balance the needs of the creditors competing for what little money the city has with the resolution being sought by Detroit itself, and this unprecedented occurrence has many debating the proper course of action to pursue.  Visit the Detroit News for more on this story.

The bankruptcy experts at Aidenbaum Schloff and Bloom PLLC have won numerous cases for creditors and will fight hard to get you every penny you are owed.  If you are a creditor of Detroit, Michigan, call ASB today at 248.865.6500 to speak with a bankruptcy attorney.

Orr: Detroit Needs City Service Funding

Detroit, Michigan, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr recently stated that Detroit’s bankruptcy matter will not solve the city’s financial situation unless further analysis and resolution of its public services is anticipated contemporaneously.  The Emergency Manager, who is charged with pulling Detroit out of financial ruin during its bankruptcy proceeding, made clear that any funds that can be made available must be used to replace old police cars, demolish abandoned buildings, and reduce crime levels in the city’s residential neighborhoods.  Orr made clear that this funding, such as that derived from the city’s casino revenues, is crucial to Detroit’s future.  For more on this story, please visit the Detroit News.