Surprisingly the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Seattle Seahawk's Marshawn Lynch’s trademark for the phrase "I'm just here so I won't get fined." The athlete used that expression repeatedly during last year's Super Bowl XLIX media day. Lynch now sells T-shirts with the saying. The approval of this trademark is somewhat surprising given that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will frequently deny registrations for T-shirt slogans on the grounds that the phrases are merely ornamental unlike a mark on a clothing label. Lynch joins many applicants who try to trademark phrases that are popular or “trending” such as “Je suis Charlie, “Black Lives...

The new bill (S.5333-A / A.8043) signed by Governor Cuomo states that Liquor Stores can hold own wine & liquor tastings without the manufacturer or wholesaler being present on-site.  Before this law was passed, sales reps from the distillery, brewery or cidery or the product's wholesaler of the product had to set up a table at the liquor store, pour the beverage and supervise the tasting. Bookkeeping and arranging this was burdensome for both the manufacturer and the liquor store owner. The rationale for the law is to support New York State's craft beer, ciders, and spirits industry. This will allow the liquor store's costumer to sample the new beverages that are struggling to...

Last year, New York became the 23rd state in the country to legalize medical marijuana. New York State has decriminalized the possession of up to 25 grams of marijuana since 1977. However, many arrests are made every year for public use of marijuana in New York City. The Marijuana Regulations and Taxation Act was introduced in 2014 to put an end to these arrests. The New Recreational Marijuana Use Law has since been rejected and amended and now Democratic Senator Liz Krueger is committed to pushing it through in early 2015. If this bill passes, retail marijuana dispensaries would be allowed to operate and they would be regulated by the State Liquor Authority. The bill would establish an...

Shoot first. Do shots later. That's what's being advertised at an Oklahoma City gun range that has secured a liquor license - the first to do so in the state of Oklahoma. Our New York liquor license attorneys understand the 40,000-square-foot facility boasts 24 firearm lanes, 10 archery lanes - and a full bar. But don't worry - drinks are only available after you shoot. It's believed to be the state's first-ever liquor-licensed gun range. Officials say once patrons order a drink, his or her driver's license is scanned and red-flagged. At that point, the patron is not allowed to re-enter the shooting gallery, either as a spectator or a shooter for the next 24 hours. So anyone who...

At the recent New York State Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the state will pour $6 million into a promotional effort with the intention of raising the profile of the state's beverage producers. Glasses were clinked to that - and the fact that the governor underscored his commitment to pass the Craft New York Act. This measure, supported by the State Liquor Authority, would simplify and consolidate distilling manufacturer licenses, as well as increase production limits and reduce fees for licensing required by craft manufacturers. It also aims to widen opportunities for marketing, update laws pertaining to shipping and increase the number of outlets...

For the last four years, restaurants have been beholden to the Bloomberg-era restaurant grading system that purported to clearly display for customers the level of sanitary conditions within. Our New York restaurant lawyers know, however, that the blue "A," green "B" and orange "C" grades were not truly reflective of reality. Inspectors have gained a reputation as fickle and inconsistent. The appellate process often skews in favor of inspectors, and fines are frequently outsized in comparison to the alleged violation. Finally, the New York City Council moved to alter the grading system to allow for a significant reduction in fines and more opportunities for restaurants to appeal...

Property prices are once again on the rise, and in New York, the hottest commodity lately are retail condominiums. As Wall Street Journal reports, New York City has seen a rise in New York retail sales for condos , driving up sale prices in tourist districts, as well as in nearby areas where residential development is underway. Manhattan real estate attorneys want to underscore the fact that while these kinds of transactions can be smart investments - in some cases yielding high returns - they should never be completed without thorough legal review. Investors and buyers need to be assured that the terms are fair, that there will be no issues in using the property for the intended...

New York liquor merchants and winery owners are voicing opposition to the proposed New Liquor Warehousing Law, which they say would have a sobering impact on small and mid-sized companies.  Some say the effect would be so bad, they may be driven out of business. The bill, proposed by state Senate co-leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx), would require that all spirits sold in the state be kept at warehouses in New York for at least one full day prior to sale. It's referred to as "at rest" legislation. As it now stands, about 200 smaller-scale operators use less costly warehouses in New Jersey. Our Manhattan liquor  lawyers recognize that if this new liquor warehousing law passes, not only...

In an effort to curb the reportedly raucous, boozing crowd, Manhattan, Community Board 6 is instituting a liquor license crackdown by requesting restaurants forbid customers from drinking alcohol outdoors unless they also order food. The sidewalk cafe portion of these restaurants already must abide by special rules. This measure would impose even stricter standards for restaurant owners already squeezed from all sides. Our Manhattan restaurant lawyers know as it stands, there is nothing in the current ordinance that requires such action. However, restaurants that don't self-police and comply could find their liquor license in jeopardy. The board's business affairs committee...

The State Liquor Authority revoked the liquor license of Cutchogue winery, Vineyard 48, last week based on findings that it had hosted numerous raucous parties on weekends.  Neighbors in the Town of Southold complained of loudspeakers blasting dance music and a DJ making obscenity-laden commands to get up and dance. Allegedly all this could be heard up to a half-mile away in nearby residences. The complaints, dating back to early 2011, also included intoxicated partygoers wandering throughout the neighborhood, traffic congestion and an illegal cigar shop. There was even an arrest at the winery for sexual activity amid the vines. The State Liquor Authority's revocation of Vineyard...