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Dedicated to serving the legal needs of municipalities, franchised businesses, employers, and public utilities.
Intellectual Property Lawyers
At Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC, we understand the ever-increasing value of intellectual property, and we believe that close interaction with our clients is the most efficient way to develop a strategy to protect their intellectual property rights. When clients come to Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC for intellectual property matters, their needs are handled by attorneys who understand that thorough and ongoing discussion about IP concerns an important element in obtaining the broadest protection possible and often discover that combinations of different legal protections are appropriate. As the attorneys at Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC come to understand your business products and services, we can anticipate your IP needs and issues that can arise in the future.
Securing basic rights of ownership in trademarks, copyrights, and other intellectual property protection gives our clients the foundation needed to implement a comprehensive intellectual property policy for their business.
A trademark is much more than a clever design or a catchy phrase – it is a business asset that instantly communicates to your customers that a product or service comes from your business. It is both an advertisement and a symbol of your product’s quality. At Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC, we guide our clients through every step of the trademark application process so that your business’ investment and good-will receives the best protection possible. We work with our clients to understand how the trademark will be used with its products both now and in the future. Once we understand your proposed mark, our attorneys thoroughly search the United States’ Trademark Register for confusingly similar marks that could prevent you from using your mark. This due diligence early in the trademark process saves our clients time and money in branding a product, only to later find that they are infringing on another business’ trademark.
Trademark Law: Enforcement and Litigation
We know that you have devoted considerable time, energy, and resources to the brand identity that sets your business apart. Whether you believe someone is using your trademark, a competitor claims that you are using theirs, or if your business is facing an administrative action in front of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC is here to diligently represent you.
- Monitoring and Due Diligence: On a regular basis, we will monitor your intellectual property to assist you in finding any competing users. If a competing user is found either through our inquiry or yours, we will evaluate whether that party has any right to use the intellectual property at issue. We will strive to protect your business from intellectual property theft, whether trademark or service mark infringement, copyright appropriation, or cybersquatting (i.e., the use of your trademark or service mark as part of a domain name).
- Cease and Desist: If a competitor is infringing upon your intellectual property, our intellectual property lawyer will issue a cease and desist letter documenting your ownership of the intellectual property and the extent of the infringer’s violation(s). We follow-up on every cease and desist letter within two weeks to determine whether the infringer will comply with our demands.
- Negotiated Settlements: Negotiation is critical to our enforcement efforts. While some infringers quickly acquiesce to the demands outlined in a cease and desist letter, others will put up a fight. We will not stop until we secure your preferred outcome. In most cases, we are able to achieve the results that our clients desire through negotiation. We will memorialize a negotiated agreement in a contract to protect your intellectual property rights into the future.
- Litigation: Although we strive to resolve intellectual property disputes without litigation, our intellectual property lawyers have effectively litigated intellectual property disputes to protect our clients’ interests. In a recent case, a competitor appropriated our client’s business name and service marks in a way that caused immediate consumer confusion and had a significant business impact on our client. We acted quickly to file a lawsuit seeking preliminary injunctive relief. Within weeks, we obtained a consent judgment requiring the competitor to immediately change its business name, dissolve its corporate status, pay our client compensatory damages (including all of our attorney fees), turn over its phone and fax numbers, and deliver for destruction all materials bearing the infringing service marks.
- Trademark Proceedings: Our trademark attorneys have experience representing clients involved in proceedings in front of the Trademark, Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”), including trademark oppositions, trademark cancellations, and disputes between our clients and the United States Patent and Trademark Examining Attorneys.
- Foreign Trademarks: Obtaining trademark protection in foreign countries is difficult and challenging. At Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC, our trademark attorneys will work with you to protect trademarks that you use in foreign countries, including filing international applications through the Madrid Protocol and working with a network of lawyers in other countries.
Trademark litigation is complex and requires legal prowess and experience to be successful. Do not try to take on this burden alone. Let the attorneys at Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC take the weight off your shoulders.
Get the answers to the Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Trademark QuestionsDownload the Guide
We help our clients protect their rights in valuable works of expression and authorship. This includes artwork related to your trademark and business, website content, or software programs. It also includes helping clients protect their personal expressive works in art, literature, and music.
Licensing and Transfer of IP Rights
A growing component of our practice includes licensing and transferring various forms of intellectual property rights. These transactions range from licensing to outright sales and assignments of trademarks, trade secrets, and copyrights. Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC’s depth of experience in other forms of commercial transactions is easily applied to the IP subject matter, and this knowledge provides our clients with thorough representation in all aspects of an IP transaction, from planning to negotiation to documentation and closing.
Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition
Confidential information is often necessary to a successful business, however, sometimes this information is not protectable as a trademark or copyright. Marketing plans, customer lists, formulas, or recipes are but a few examples of protectable trade secrets. We regularly design, implement, and enforce non-disclosure agreements for our clients. These agreements protect their confidential information when, during the course of business or specific projects, it is necessary to disclose confidential information or trade secrets to employees, third-party suppliers, or collaborators. We also advise our clients on their rights and duties when they are subject to a non-disclosure agreement and have successfully litigated these issues on a number of occasions. By developing trade-secret policies and procedures, we help clients avoid liability from accidental disclosures.
Patent protection is a highly focused and highly technical niche of law. Patent lawyers must understand not only the complex procedures to obtain patent protection but they must also understand the science, engineering, or model that makes your product or idea unique from its competitors.
While Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC does not represent clients in patent matters, we have a close and collegial working relationship with other lawyers and firms who do. If you have a patent law concern, we would love to meet with you and refer you to one of our highly skilled patent colleagues.
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Mark J. Burzych
As the leader of the firm’s business practice, Mark is committed to helping clients design and execute their dreams. He focuses on developing and implementing growth strategies for businesses with an emphasis on franchising, liquor licensing and regulation, general corporate matters, mergers, acquisitions, or other corporate transactions, bank debt or equity private placement financing transactions, real estate, and other business-related matters.
The brainstorming, collaboration, and curiosity surrounding what clients seek drive Mark’s passion for his work. He’s proud to become part of his clients’ circle of trusted advisors, engaging with them sometimes daily to guide them through the process of growing their businesses.
His work is specially tailored to the hospitality industry, but his experience allows him to assist virtually any business segment. Mark knows business decisions often have legal implications, and he’s dedicated to ensuring his clients understand the real-world implications of their choices as they pursue expansion strategies. With more than 30 years of experience practicing law, Mark has seen it all in franchising, and he is eager to share his expertise with his clients.
Outside of the office, Mark enjoys spending time with his family, especially on Lake Charlevoix. He’s an avid golfer and a fan of MSU sports.
- Franchisor outside counsel: provide “trusted advisor” counsel to franchisor from start-up to now Top 300 franchise system; perform general counsel services for franchisor; daily advice and counsel regarding franchise sales, relationship management, supply chain contracting, marketing, and operations.
- Franchise Regulatory counsel: provide franchise regulatory counsel to franchisors, from start-up franchisors to iconic brands; perform federal and state law regulatory compliance for franchisors with advice and counsel on franchise sales and relationship management.
- Corporate General Counsel: provide general counsel work to multi-generational closely held business, prepare company for acquisition, representation of company in sale of company to private equity purchaser; assisted closely held company in raising $10 Million in new equity capital private placement with federal and state securities laws compliance.
- Liquor License acquisition (manufacturers and retailers); Liquor law violation hearings; manufacturer-wholesaler relationship management.
- Trademark prosecution and enforcement.
- Co-author, “Recent Developments in Administrative Law,” ICLE State of the Law, 1991
- Author, “Recent State Court Decisions,” Administrative Law Quarterly, Winter 1991, Spring 1992.
- Co-author, “Vive la Difference? Selective Enforcement of Franchise Agreement Terms and System Standards,” Franchise Law Journal, Fall 2003.
- Panel member, “Selective Enforcement of Franchise Agreement Terms and System Standards,” American Bar Association Forum on Franchising annual meeting, 2004.
- Contributing author, “Ask the Experts” column, Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association’s MRLA magazine.
- Facilitator, “Disclosure Issues Related to Promotional Franchise Sales Incentive Program,” International Franchise Association Annual Convention, 2012.
- Co-author, “Franchisor Successor Tax Liability: Risk in Terminations,” Franchise Law Journal Vol. 35, No. 3, 2016.
- Author, “System Standards and Franchisee Innovation: Striking a Balance,” Franchise Law Journal, Vol. 38, No. 2, 2018.
- Presenter, “Confidentiality Clauses in Franchise Agreements,” American Bar Association Forum on Franchising annual meeting, 2018.
- Author, Michigan chapter of the Franchise Desk Book, third edition, 2019.
- Author, “Franchise Advertising in the Digital Age: Regulators Need to Contemporaneously Address Advancing Advertising Technologies or Step Aside,” Franchise Law Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2, 2020.
- University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1990, cum laude
- Michigan State University, James Madison College, B.A., Socioeconomic Policy Problems, 1985
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
- Best Lawyers in America, 2009–present
- Best Lawyers in America’s Lansing Government Relations Practice Lawyer of the Year, 2015
- Super Lawyers, 2009–present
- Leading Lawyers, 2014–present
- Franchise Times Legal Eagles, 2018-present
- Rated AV by Martindale-Hubble
- Member, Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association Board, 2012–present
- Member, Advisory Rules Committee, Michigan Liquor Control Commission, 2011
- Member, Judicial Crossroads Task Force to the Michigan Bar Association, Business Impact Committee, 2010
- Chair, State Bar of Michigan’s Administrative Law Section, 2009
- Chair, Michigan Public Education Facilities Authority Board, 2002–2010
- Member, Michigan Municipal Bond Authority Board, 1998–2004, 2006, Board Member 2006-2010
- Member, State Bar of Michigan
- Member, Administrative Law Section Council (2007-2016)
- Member, Antitrust, Franchising, & Trade Regulation Section Council (2016-Present)
- Member, International Franchise Association
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising
- Member, Catholic Lawyers Guild
- James Madison College Alumni Association Board of Directors
- MSU Alumni Club of Mid-Michigan Board of Directors (1995-1999)
- Michigan State University Alumni Association, Alumni as Resource Committee Member (1999)
- St. Martha’s Council, Knights of Columbus
Michael J. Cole
Michael works in FSBR’s business practice, specializing in franchising, intellectual property, liquor licensing, and general business law. He works with businesses of all sizes, offering legal advice regarding business decisions and helping clients manage risk and executive growth strategies through franchising.
Every time a client sells a franchise, Michael shares in their pride. He enjoys the relationships he builds with clients as their trusted legal and business advisor just as much as he likes digging into the details of industry specifics. Applying the nuances of business and franchise law drives his passion for the work he does, and he’s dedicated to helping clients make informed decisions about whatever legal risk or challenge lies in front of them, through every stage of their business growth.
Michael came to FSBR in 2013. Prior to that, he worked on a wide range of corporate, transactional, compliance, and regulatory matters with a Washington, D.C., law firm.
Outside of the office, Michael enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf, and rooting for MSU and Detroit sports teams.
- Goldfish Swim School
- Beyond Juicery + Eatery
- Detroit Wing Company
- Auto-Lab Complete Car care Center
- Ellison Brewery + Spirits
- Mike has presented on topics including liquor licensing, trademarks, copyrights, business formation, real estate taxes, and franchising at seminars and conferences across the state, and he has co-authored articles in franchise publications, including on successor tax and Michigan specific franchise issues.
- Western Michigan Thomas M. Cooley Law School, J.D., 2011, magna cum laude
- Michigan State University, B.A., general business administration, pre-law, 2008
- Commonwealth of Virginia, associate member
- District of Columbia, inactive
- Ingham County Bar Association: Top 5 Under 35
- Super Lawyers: Rising Star for franchise/dealership law
- Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch for Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)
- Presenter, Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association, 2021
- Presenter, Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 2019
- Presenter, Mid-Michigan Small Business Development Center, 2019
John A. Forrest
John focuses on all aspects of representing franchisors and small businesses, including franchise and distribution, commercial contracts, business planning, and corporate law.
He excels at listening to what his clients want to accomplish, analyzing it quickly, and then turning that into the legal documents they need. He’s committed to timely, quality service for his clients, and he’s proud to be part of a team of leading franchise lawyers in Michigan.
A practicing attorney since 1981, John has decades of experience representing and advising established and start-up franchisors in all aspects of franchise, business opportunity, and distribution law, including drafting disclosure documents and registering franchises under state franchise laws for many franchisors. He also has experience in the buying and selling of franchisor companies.
John has worked with a broad range of franchise clients, including Tuffy Tire and Auto Service Centers, Two Men and a Truck International, BIGGBY Coffee, Fowling Warehouse, Massage Green International Franchise Corp., Milkster Nitrogen Creamery, Red Effect Infrared Fitness, Stretch Smart Infrared Therapy, Zoup! Systems, LLC, LOOK! Insurance Agencies, Inc., Tropi-Tan Tanning Salons, Happy’s Pizza, Airtime Trampoline & Game Park, and Wild Bills Tobacco.
When he’s not working, John enjoys downhill skiing, golfing with his wife, having dinner with friends, and spending time with their children and grandchildren.
John came to FSBR in 2018 after serving as a shareholder at Butzel Long in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
- Responsible for compliance with federal and state franchise and business opportunity laws.
- Drafting franchise and distribution related documents, including franchise agreements, area development agreements, area representations agreements, subfranchise agreements, co-branding agreements, confidentiality agreements, guaranties, franchise termination agreements, agreements relating to the sale of company-owned stores and the purchase of franchise stores, finance documents, promissory notes, security agreements, form agreements for use by franchisors in all aspects of the franchise business, transfer materials, administrative provisions for operations manuals, documents related to special franchise programs, supplier agreements and settlement agreements.
- Advising franchisors in antitrust, price discrimination, supplier, and other trade regulation issues, as well as to all aspects of franchise dispute resolution.
- Buying and selling of franchisor companies.
- Significant experience in other aspects of commercial transactions and business planning, representing and advising clients on matters relating to corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and other entities, buying and selling businesses, business and tax planning, secured transactions, real estate, employment, and estate planning, as well as other areas of commercial law.
John has authored several published works including “Covenants Against Competition in Franchise Agreements” for the second and third editions of the Michigan Chapter of the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising, the Michigan Business Formbook for the ICLE, and several other franchise-related articles.
- University of Detroit School of Law, J.D., 1981, magna cum laude
- Wayne State University Law School, Master of Law, taxation, 1987
- University of Michigan, B.A., history and political science, 1977, high distinction
Mitchell F. Zolton
Mitchell is an associate attorney with Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC, where he counsels clients in strategic approaches to achieve their goals. His practice focuses on general business law, franchising, intellectual property, as well as certain aspects of employment law that surround the business sector.
Mitch is dedicated to supporting all aspects of the client’s brand. He routinely conducts trademark clearance searches, prepares and prosecutes trademark applications, and manages the trademark registration process from beginning to end. When negotiating complex licensing and service agreements, he emphasizes communication and collaboration to arrive at a finished product that will not only meet the client’s needs and goals, but also mitigate risks. Mitch also regularly drafts legal memorandums and conducts legal research in his respective fields of practice.
Mitch joined FSBR as a law clerk in 2017 and became an associate with the firm in 2020. While attending law school, Mitch interned at the Legal Services of Eastern Michigan. He was also a member of the Trademark Moot Court Team, a teaching assistant, and served as a notes editor on the Editorial Board of the Michigan State Law Review.
Outside of the office, Mitch enjoys spending time in Northern Michigan at his family cottage on Houghton Lake. He also enjoys craft beer and visiting breweries around the state. As a true Michigan native, he is a loyal fan of the Detroit Lions, no matter the highs and lows that it brings.
- Drafted a license agreement regarding indoor go-karting software. This involved extensive legal research into the issues involved in software licensing.
- Drafted a series of service agreements on behalf of a client.
- Regularly performs research regarding trademark rights and registration and drafts trademark applications, renewals, and responses to office actions with the USPTO for various clients.
- Performed comprehensive legal research and drafted opinion letters and memos for employers regarding FLSA wage and hour issues, including rules relating to handling tips and tip pools.
- Direct Shipping for Michigan Beer? Wine Not, 2020 MSt. L. Rev. 509, (2020)
- Michigan State University College of Law, J.D., 2020, summa cum laude
- Grand Valley State University, B.S., 2016, Legal Studies
- State Bar of Michigan
- Volunteered at the Legal Assistance Center (LAC) located in the Kent County Courthouse in Grand Rapids
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At Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC, we’ve been helping municipalities, franchised businesses, employers, and more with their legal needs since 2008. We’d love to learn how we can help you, too.