Practice/Industry Group Overview
Phillips Nizer has provided a wide range of legal services to the textile and apparel industries for over 70 years. Our size coupled with the diversity of our industry experience ensures clients close contact and working relationships with seasoned lawyers who are well connected in the textile and apparel community. Our clients include public and privately held domestic and foreign textile and apparel manufacturers, designers and retailers. Many of our lawyers focus their practice in areas of particular interest to the textile and apparel industry, such as arbitration and litigation, intellectual property, licensing, franchising, real estate and labor, including union matters. Additionally, attorneys throughout the firm provide our industry clientele with substantial expertise in all areas of the law, including financing, corporate, bankruptcy, family law and tax.
Areas of Concentration
Phillips Nizer has an active intellectual property practice, which is international in scope. We have counseled and represented our textile and apparel industry clients, as both plaintiffs and defendants, in numerous matters involving trademark and trade dress infringements, counterfeiting, trade secrets, rights of publicity and privacy, and copyright and copyright infringement. The Intellectual Property practice group assists our clients by identifying and protecting their intellectual property assets through registration and enforcement and guiding them through corporate transactions. In the corporate area, our practice ranges from working with our clients to realize value and expand market awareness by licensing and franchising of intellectual property rights and serving client needs in financing, acquiring and selling copyright and trademark assets. In the litigation area, our practice is also wide ranging with lawyers concentrating in the fields of trademark and copyright enforcement through litigation to halt infringements, counterfeiting and unfair competition. We have obtained temporary restraining orders, injunctions and seizures where litigation has been necessary in the trademark area, and have successfully prosecuted copyright (including design copyright) infringement cases for our textile and apparel clients as well as other clients in related fields. Our intellectual property group is very active in pursuing trademark counterfeiters and others engaged in unfair competition.
We have been intensely involved in textile and apparel industry licensing work for decades. Phillips Nizer has acted as general counsel or special licensing counsel for our numerous designer clients and manufacturing clients, as both licensors and licensees, in hundreds of licensing transactions. These include not only pure licenses but also joint ventures and other business structures.
Franchising and Retail Licensing
Phillips Nizer has a broad and varied experience in franchising, representing both fanchisors and franchisees and acting as franchise counsel to companies in many fields in addition to the textile and apparel fields, such as restaurants and convenience stores, food distribution, consumer products and modeling and employment agencies. Our practice is international in scope and our partners specializing in franchising are nationally recognized members of the franchise bar. In the apparel field, we have been involved with a substantial number of boutique franchise and licensing programs.
Phillips Nizer has an unusually broad experience in the resolution of disputes involving the textile and apparel industry, including every possible aspect of dispute resolution: negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and litigation in state and federal courts throughout the country. The firm’s litigation capacity, led for years by its founder, Louis Nizer, has been augmented by some of the most active textile industry lawyers in the United States, highly experienced in the arbitration customary within the industry.
As general counsel to textile and apparel industry companies, Phillips Nizer services the real estate needs of our clientele. We assist in the acquisition and sale of commercial and residential properties, the financing and refinancing of such properties, as well as the leasing of office and retail space both for first line boutiques and discount outlet stores.
Through our extensive representation of many textile and apparel industry manufacturers and trade associations, we have been involved in all aspects of union and employer-employee relations in the industry. Our representation has included the negotiation of a large number of collective bargaining agreements with apparel unions, including UNITE and its predecessors, the ILGWU and Textile Workers. We have also defended apparel firms in employment discrimination, wage hour, OSHA and other employment related matters and provided extensive counseling with respect to terminations, employee handbooks and employment agreements. We have also represented our organized clients in arbitrations, fund audits, multi-employer plan claims and other union related matters, including the often-complex issues, which arise in the purchase or sale of an organized firm.
Business & General Corporate
Our corporate department represents numerous companies, small and large, private and public in the apparel, fabric, uniform, fashion and related businesses. Our department prides itself on our understanding of our clients businesses and our ability to assist them in dealing in a practical manner with the legal issues, which they encounter on a daily basis.
Phillips Nizer has a Bankruptcy Practice Group, which has extensive experience in counseling debtors and creditors in the resolution of complex commercial disputes. The primary focus of the practice is in advising debtors and creditors concerning debt restructuring, bankruptcy reorganization and insolvency proceedings. The Group also advises clients on potential bankruptcy risks involved in structuring a loan or transaction and aids clients on minimizing such risks while accomplishing their goals.
Phillips Nizer's clients include a large number of manufacturers and internationally known designers, many retail and "outlet" stores as well as other companies which manufacture footwear, accessories, fragrances, jewelry and handbags.