In an effort to move to fully electronic processing of trademark applications and registrations and to positively impact the environment by reducing the use of paper, effective June 7, 2022, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will begin issuing electronic trademark registration certificates.  The change to electronic trademark registration certificates is intended to give trademark owners easier and quicker access to their trademark certificates upon registration.

In making the transition to electronic registration certificates, the USPTO is acknowledging the strong consumer preference for the issuance of trademark registration certificates in a digital format rather than as a paper certificate.  The change will also decrease the time it takes for trademark owners to receive registration certificates.

As of June 7, 2022, trademark registration certificates will no longer be issued by the USPTO by printing them on paper and mailing them to the correspondence address of record.  Instead, the registrations will issue electronically under the electronic signature of the Director of the USPTO with a digital seal.  The digital seal will authenticate the trademark registration.  The electronic registration certificate will be uploaded to the USPTO database, with notice emailed to the trademark owner with a link to access the certificate upon issuance.  Trademark owners will be able to use the link to view, download, and print a complete copy of the registration certificate at no charge at any time.

However, trademark owners will still be able to order a “presentation” copy of the registration certificate.  The presentation copy is a one-page, condensed, printed copy of the issued registration that is suitable for framing.  The presentation copy will be printed on heavy paper; feature a gold foil seal; identify the owners; display bibliographic data, the trademark, and the classes of goods and/or services of the trademark.  There is a $25 fee for each presentation copy, which can be ordered through the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System database.  For a $15 fee, trademark owners will still be able to order certified copies of their trademark registration certificates from the USPTO.  The certified copy can be used in connection with legal proceedings and certifies the trademark’s status and title and includes the signature of the authorized certifying officer.

If you have any questions or need assistance with the filing of any trademark applications or obtaining trademark registration certificates, contact the Chair of our Trademark Practice Group, Scott Fisher, at (516) 393-8248 or sfisher@jaspanllp.com.

“On December 21, 2021, the Real Property Law was changed to require that before appointment as an office manager, an associate broker shall have been active as a licensed associate broker for at least two of the four years preceding appointment. Additionally, office managers are required to exercise the same duty of supervision over salespersons and associate brokers as a licensed real estate broker.”[i]  The purpose of this Amendment was: “[t]o mandate that licensed associate brokers, operating as office managers, have the same statutory obligations of oversight placed on brokers at their definite place of business.”[ii]

“In New York, real estate brokers are required to maintain and supervise a principal place of business. Additionally, brokers with numerous offices can appoint a licensed associate real estate broker as an office manager to oversee their branch offices. An associate real estate broker has the same licensing credentials as a broker and can work as an independent agent, but has chosen to work under the name and supervision of another broker.”[iii]

Notwithstanding, “unlike a broker, associate brokers acting as office managers are not held to the same statutory obligations of oversight placed on brokers at their principal place of business. Instead, office managers are held to the same standards as a real estate agent while maintaining their broker’s license. This lack of oversight over agents by office managers can manifest itself with agents who are not properly trained and supervised in their behavior, performance, and compliance with fair housing regulations.”[iv]

This amendment was designed to ensure that the office manager are held to the same standards as a licensed real estate broker.[v]   As explained in the proposed Bill, “[t]his bill would require that associate brokers acting as office managers are held to the same standards as licensed real estate brokers, and ensures that proper oversight is given over real estate agents irrespective of whether they are working out of a broker’s principal place of business or branch office under an office manager.”[vi]

New York Real Property Law Section 440(6) now provides that:

 “Office manager” means a licensed associate real estate broker who shall by choice elect to work as an office manager under the name and supervision of another individual broker or another broker who is licensed under a partnership, trade name, limited liability company or corporation. An associate real estate broker shall be required to have been active as a licensed associate broker for at least two of the four years preceding appointment as an office manager. Such individual shall retain his or her license as a real estate broker as provided for in this article and shall be required to exercise the same duty of supervision over salesmen and associate brokers as a licensed real estate broker; provided, however, that the practice of real estate sales and brokerage by such individual as an associate broker shall be governed exclusively by the provisions of this article as they pertain to real estate salesmen. Nothing contained in this subdivision shall preclude an individual who is licensed as an associate broker who elects to work as an office manager from also retaining a separate real estate broker’s license under an individual, partnership, trade name, limited liability company or corporation.

For further information, please contact Christopher E. Vatter at cvatter@jaspanllp.com.

[i] https://dos.ny.gov/important-updates-licensing

[ii] https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/S2157

[iii] Id.

[iv] Id.

[v]  Id.

[vi] Id.

“On December 21, 2021, New York Real Property Law section 442-h (rules of the Secretary of State relating to real estate brokers and salespersons) was amended to require, in part, that real estate brokers ‘institute standardized operating procedures for the prerequisites prospective homebuyers must meet prior to receiving any services.’”[i] The Bill signed in December required that:

“(a) The secretary of state, upon notice and a public hearing, shall promulgate rules and regulations requiring real estate brokers to institute standardized operating procedures for the prerequisites prospective homebuyers must meet prior to receiving any services. Such rules and regulations shall include but not be limited to the following:

(i) whether prospective clients shall show identification;

(ii) whether an exclusive broker agreement is required; and

(iii) whether pre-approval for a mortgage loan is required.

(b) Real estate brokers shall submit such standardized operating procedures to the department of state and the department of state shall maintain a file of such standardized operating procedures while the broker’s license is active and for at least five years thereafter. If any alterations are made to the standardized operating procedures subsequent to such submission, real estate brokers shall notify and submit such new standard operating procedures within thirty days. Any salesperson operating under a brokerage license that fails to adhere to such operating procedures shall be subject to the penalties imposed by section four hundred forty-one-c of this article.”[ii]

“[S]tarting April 20, 2022, every real estate broker, operating within the State of New York, shall have on each publicly available website and mobile device application they maintain a list of standardized operating procedures.”[iii] “Brokers must keep an archive of all standardized procedures, for as long as they are actively licensed, by having each amendment date stamped and notarized. All new procedures must be posted and made available, at each brokerage office and online, within 30 days of any changes.”[iv]  Finally, “[a]ny broker or salesperson operating under a brokerage license that fails to adhere to such operating procedures shall be subject to discipline.”[v]

For further information, please contact Christopher E. Vatter at cvatter@jaspanllp.com.

[i] https://dos.ny.gov/important-updates-licensing

[ii] N.Y. Real P. Law §442-h.

[iii] https://dos.ny.gov/real-estate-broker#:~:text=On%20December%2021%2C%202021%2C%20New,homebuyers%20must%20meet%20prior%20to

[iv] https://dos.ny.gov/important-updates-licensing

[v] Id.

On November 7, 2021, the Governor signed a Bill known as the “Anthony Amoros’ Law”, that “prohibits used car dealers from selling vehicles at retail without a functioning airbag.”[1]  This Bill amends New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law § 417. In particular, the Bill “prohibits retail dealers of second hand motor vehicles from selling a motor vehicle which is subject to federal motor vehicle safety standards for inflatable restraint systems unless such vehicle is equipped with an inflatable restraint system which conforms to the federal motor vehicle safety standard applicable to that vehicle and a readiness indicator light indicating a functioning inflatable restraint system.”[2]

Although it sounds counterintuitive, prior to the enactment of this Bill, there was no requirement that a used vehicle which was sold by a licensed dealer needed to have a working airbag.  This Bill was named after “a young man from Rockland who died in a car crash in a car that, unbeknownst to him, was sold to him without airbags.”[3] The Bill requires that a dealer must now provide a certificate certifying that the used vehicle is equipped with an airbag and that the readiness indicator light indicates that the airbag light is operable.[4] The purpose of this Bill is to ensure that the airbag system is installed and functioning as it was designed to prevent future injuries and to hopefully save lives.

It is important for both used car dealers and customers to be aware of the changes in the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law which may impact them. If you need assistance, please contact Christopher E. Vatter at cvatter@jaspanllp.com.

[1] https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-ensure-used-vehicles-are-sold-functioning-airbags

[2] Senate Bill S1834A.

[3]https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-ensure-used-vehicles-are-sold-functioning-airbags

[4] Senate Bill S1834A.

We are all aware of car and motorcycle enthusiasts who modify their muffler and exhaust systems on their vehicles to obtain better performance or better sounding vehicles (and have heard the sound generated from these modified exhaust systems).  You have also likely been on a roadway in New York and seen bumper stickers with the slogan “Loud Pipes Saves Lives”.  Apparently, Governor Hochul disagrees with these enthusiasts and with these slogans.

On October 29, 2021, Governor Hochul signed BillS784B, which increases “enforcement against motorists and repair shops that illegally modify mufflers and exhaust systems to make them excessively noisy for motor vehicles and motorcycles.”[i] This bill goes into effect on April 1, 2022.[ii]  “This bill amends vehicle and traffic law, increasing fines and penalties and creating stricter regulations on vehicle equipment. Maximum fines for installing illegal equipment will be raised to $1,000, an $850 increase. Inspection stations will also be required to inspect motorcycles to ensure mufflers and exhausts have not been illegally modified.”[iii]

This new bill will have an impact on both the enthusiasts and the repair shops who sell, install and service such vehicles.[iv] As part of this law, inspection stations must inspect the motorcycle exhaust systems to ensure compliance.  Inspection stations who willfully fail to inspect a motorcycle exhaust system for compliance run the risk of their operating certificate being suspended.[v]

With the proliferation of electric vehicles, noise pollution from motor vehicles will be less of an issue, that is, until some car or motorcycle enthusiast figures out a way to increase performance of such vehicles and to make them sound better.

For further information, please contact Christopher E. Vatter at cvatter@jaspanllp.com.

[i] https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/S784

[ii] Id.

[iii] https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-cracking-down-noisy-illegal-mufflers-and-exhaust-systems

[iv] https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/S784

[v] Id. (“Section three of the bill amends Subdivision (e) of section 303 of the vehicle and traffic law to provide that the Commissioner of Transportation shall suspend or revoke the certificate of inspection stations upon a third or subsequent willful violation, all within a period of eighteen months, of any rule or regulation of the commissioner requiring an inspection station to inspect the muffler or exhaust system of a motorcycle as set forth in subdivision (c) of section 79.28 of title 15 of the codes, rules and regulations of the state of New York.”).

 

According to the United States Census Bureau, women make up nearly half of the United States work force.[i] Notwithstanding, as of 2019, women make up only 27% of workers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (“STEM”).[ii]  “Women employed full-time, year-round in STEM occupations earned more than their non-STEM counterparts but the gender earnings gap persisted within STEM occupations.”[iii] Men also outnumber women majoring in most STEM fields in college. [iv] “The gender gaps are particularly high in some of the fastest-growing and highest-paid jobs of the future, like computer science and engineering.”[v]

“Women and minorities are severely underrepresented in STEM, often because they were not encouraged to early on. In a 2010 survey by the Bayer Corporation of female and minority chemists and chemical engineers, 77 percent said significant numbers of women and minorities are missing from the U.S. STEM work force because ‘they were not identified, encouraged or nurtured to pursue STEM studies early on.”’[vi]

In an attempt to address this issue, on December 22, 2021, Governor Hochul signed a Bill[vii] “directing the urban development corporation to conduct a study regarding the assistance needed to encourage women and minorities to pursue technology careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)”. It is hopeful that: “[t]his bill will help identify the types of assistance necessary to encourage more women and minorities to enter STEM fields.”[viii]

According to Senator Anna M. Kaplan, “[s]o many employers in today’s high-tech, global economy consistently struggle to find enough qualified individuals to fill the high-skill, high-paying jobs they create, and the workforce has never been truly reflective of the diversity of our community. It’s time we helped more young women and people of color to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, and by encouraging these underrepresented groups to pursue STEM studies, we can provide greater opportunities for more young people in our community, and fill a critical need for workers skilled in the areas of demand in today’s economy.”[ix]

According to Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, “[t]his new law will help increase the numbers of women and minorities who pursue technology-based careers. While some of the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs are in the STEM field, the number of women and people of color employed in these fields continues to lag behind. A better understanding of the availability of grants designed to encourage underrepresented people to pursue careers in STEM is vital to help level the playing field and ensure access to well-paying and intellectually stimulating jobs.”[x]

For further information, please contact Christopher E. Vatter at cvatter@jaspanllp.com or Samantha M. Guido at sguido@jaspanllp.com.

[i] https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/01/women-making-gains-in-stem-occupations-but-still-underrepresented.html (men make up 52% of the workforce).

[ii] Id.

[iii] Id.

[iv] https://www.aauw.org/resources/research/the-stem-gap/

[v] Id.

[vi] https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-addressing-labor-and-healthcare-inequalities-women

[vii] https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/s531/amendment/b

[viii] Id.

[ix] https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-addressing-labor-and-healthcare-inequalities-women

[x] Id.

On December 22, 2021, Governor Hochul signed a Bill[i] directing “the department of financial services, in consultation with the department of health to prepare a report with recommendations on their review of covered benefits related to childbirth offered by all health insurance providers in New York state.”[ii]  The purpose of the Bill is: “[t]o uncover hidden costs related to childbirth, shine a light on disparities in rates negotiated by insurers covering the birth, and determine if Statewide standards should be adopted.”[iii]

Pursuant to the Bill, the Department of Financial Services, in cooperation with the Department of Health, is to conduct a review of the benefits related to childbirth and “must include an examination of length of stay periods, costs incurred by patients and reimbursed to providers, and additional benefits offered, or not.”[iv]

Senator Julia Salazar in addressing this Bill stated that: “People expecting a child face many unknowns, which often cause anxiety and uncertainty. One of these is the difficulty many face in ascertaining the costs they will incur for labor and delivery. This bill alleviates that concern by requiring the Department of Financial Services to study and report on the coverage actually provided by insurance companies in New York for these services.”[v]

Assemblymember Chantel Jackson in discussing the Bill stated that:  Maternal Health has been of critical importance across the nation and here in New York State, as more needs to be done to close the gap in maternal mortality among women of color.  Race, poverty and discrimination still play a role in the maternal care and delivery options available and afforded to women of color.  This legislation will focus on creating a study that will shed a light and better understanding on the current insurance benefits and coverage related to childbirth. This legislation will help identify and address the areas where insurance coverage standards must be revised to better serve the maternal health needs of expectant mothers before, during and after delivery.”

The report and recommendations will be used to “determine if state-wide standards should be adopted in addition to taking measure of how the State already fulfills requirements set by the Federal ACA [Affordable Care Act].”[vi]

For further information, please contact Christopher E. Vatter at cvatter@jaspanllp.com or Samantha M. Guido at sguido@jaspanllp.com.

[i] https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/s4827

[ii] Id.

[iii] Id.

[iv] Id.

[v] https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-addressing-labor-and-healthcare-inequalities-women

[vi] https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/s4827

One of the many unspoken issues facing homeless women is access to feminine hygiene products.  Governor Hochul, recognizing this issue, signed legislation on December 22, 2021, amending Social Services Law by adding a new section 152-c[1], which requires that feminine hygiene products be provided at no cost to menstruating individuals in homeless shelters.  The products include, but not limited to, sanitary napkins, tampons and panty liners.”[2]  “This bill will provide feminine hygiene products at no cost to adults and children in shelters throughout New York State.”[3] “Menstrual products can be unaffordable for those already struggling. This bill provides these products free of charge so those living in homeless shelters do not have to resort to using unsafe alternatives that can result in serious infection.”[4] Senator Michelle Hinchey, who sponsored Senate Bill S6572, stated: “Access to menstrual supplies is a fundamental health necessity, and yet in almost every community across our state, there are people who cannot afford period products – a dilemma that no one should ever have to face.”[5] Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal echoed this sentiment and stated that woman should not be forced between deciding whether to buy food or menstrual products.[6] This legislation is a small step in ensuring that women are treated fairly.

It is important that issues specific to women are brought to light and that women are treated equally and fairly. For further information, please contact Christopher E. Vatter at cvatter@jaspanllp.com or Samantha M. Guido at sguido@jaspanllp.com.

[1] Senate Bill S6572/A.529-A.

[2] Id. at “Summary”.

[3] Id. at “Purpose”.

[4]https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-addressing-labor-and-healthcare-inequalities-women

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

The New York State Election Law was amended by adding a new section to § 14-116 and incorporating Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) in the definitions in that statute which limits the amount of monies an LLC can expand for political contributions.

Historically, corporations were proscribed from giving political contributions amounting to more than $5000 in the aggregate in any calendar year. Exceeding that limit subjected the corporation and its officers, directors, and stockholders to a criminal misdemeanor charge.

The changes in the law extend that $5000 dollar limitation to LLCs with members and managers being liable for the same misdemeanor criminal charge.

Additionally, the newly added § 14-116(3) of the statute, requires annual filings by an LLC that set forth all political contributions made on or after January 31, 2019. The annual statement specifies what contributions were made by the LLC and who the beneficial owners of the LLC were during that year. This form filing is available on the New York State Board of Elections’ (“NYSBOE”) website and is required to be submitted to the NYSBOE by December 31st of each year. Failure to file this statement is a misdemeanor.

Nothing in the amended law prohibits an owner of an entity from making contributions in excess of the $5,000 aggregate limit in his or her own name, subject to the individual campaign contribution limits for a candidate or a political committee. The individual campaign limits are set forth each year in regulations promulgated the NYSBOE and can range up to $70,000 per candidate for statewide offices with a primary component.

Jaspan Schlesinger is proud to celebrate Women’s History Month. March is designated Women’s History Month by Presidential proclamation.[1] “Every March, Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to honor the generations of trailblazing women and girls who have built our Nation, shaped our progress, and strengthened our character as a people.”[2]

“Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as ‘Women’s History Week.”’[3]   In 1987, “Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as ‘Women’s History Month.’ Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month.”[4]  These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.[5]

President Biden, in issuing this year’s Proclamation, stated that: “[t]his Women’s History Month, as we reflect on the achievements of women and girls across the centuries and pay tribute to the pioneers who paved the way, let us recommit to the fight and help realize the deeply American vision of a more equal society where every person has a shot at pursuing the American dream.  In doing so, we will advance economic growth, our health and safety, and the security of our Nation and the world.”[6]

Governor Hochul in signing legislature addressing women’s issues stated: “New York must continue to break down barriers for women and fight inequality throughout our state.”[7] “These laws will address a variety of important issues, supporting STEM [ Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields] careers and helping to ensure equity and access in women’s health.”[8]

Despite progress being made, women still face obstacles in many endeavors and further progress is needed to ensure that women have the same opportunities as men and are treated equally. Jaspan Schlesinger proudly joins the Nation in recognizing March as Women’s History Month.  As we recognize Women’s History Month, we will be updating our blog with relevant and timely information and resources regarding laws which address and highlight women’s issues.

Christopher E. Vatter cvatter@jaspanllp.com / Samantha M. Guido sguido@jaspanllp.com.

 

[1] Pub. L. 100-9.

[2] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/02/28/a-proclamation-on-womens-history-month-2022/#:~:text=NOW%2C%20THEREFORE%2C%20I%2C%20JOSEPH,2022%20as%20Women’s%20History%20Month.

[3] https://womenshistorymonth.gov/about/

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/02/28/a-proclamation-on-womens-history-month-2022/#:~:text=NOW%2C%20THEREFORE%2C%20I%2C%20JOSEPH,2022%20as%20Women’s%20History%20Month.

[7] https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-signs-legislation-addressing-labor-and-healthcare-inequalities-women

[8] Id.