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Justice and law concept

What Are Gray Market Goods? – Legal Overview

Is reselling illegal?

A recent decision by the United States Supreme Court in the case Impression Products v. Lexmark International Inc. ruled that patent-protected goods can be freely sold after the first authorized sale. This ruling solidified the legality of importing used goods for resale in the U.S., which favors consumers and discount retailers.

What is the Gray Market?

Gray market (or grey market) refers to a trade of goods through distribution channels unintended by the original manufacturer. This practice is legal.

The term originates from the 1980s when the practice of reselling the product to other resellers instead of selling it to the end user became widespread. Gray market should not be confused with the black market, which refers to the distribution of illegal or stolen products.

Gray market goods are non-counterfeit products sold outside regular distribution channels by entities unrelated to the original product manufacturer or patent proprietor. These commodities are usually electronic equipment or luxurious goods that have a high price difference across the world. Simply put, entrepreneurs buy the product where it’s cheaper, import it legally to the desired market, and then resell it at a higher price but below regular market price.

Laws on Reselling Products

Gray market and gray market products are regulated by state civil codes or statutes (example: California Civil Code, CHAPTER 4. Grey Market Goods). The U.S. Customs Services rules and regulations are also important for this matter. Currently, there is no Florida statute regulating gray market products in general.   

colorful stone beach bracelets     

Restrictions on the Importation of Gray Market Products

For the protection of U.S. registered trademarks, the U.S. Customs Service limits the admissibility of foreign trade names and trademarks if they resemble or appear identical to those registered in the U.S. These goods may be subjected to forfeiture or seizure.

U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) regulates these situations under § 133.23 (restrictions on importation of gray market articles).

In order to benefit from the protections afforded under C.F.R. § 133.23, U.S. trademark owners must meet the following conditions:

  1. Trademark must be registered with U.S. Customs and Border Protection through the Intellectual Property Rights e-Recordation systems; and
  2. U.S. trademark and the foreign trademark must be owned by two different entities (persons or companies)

If these conditions are met, all incoming gray market goods are subject to “restricted” scrutiny.

Exceptions to Restriction

In the case of gray goods detention, the importer must prove that the goods mark fits one of the exceptions:

  • the foreign trademark was applied by the foreign owner who is the same as the U.S. owner
  • domestic and foreign goods which bare the same name or mark are physically and materially identical

Requesting a sample of detained or seized merchandise alleged to bear a counterfeit trademark is a key to challenging detention successfully.

Litigation in Gray Market Disputes

The complexity of this area of law demands an experienced trial attorney to litigate and handle cases in related disputes.

At Rosenthal Rosenthal Rasco, we provide comprehensive legal solutions for commercial litigation and product liability cases. Contact us today.

Author: Joshua E. Rasco 

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Florida Condominium Association Website Law Everything You Need to Know

Florida Condominium Association Website Law: Everything You Need to Know

Condominium Website Rules

The laws regulating websites for Florida Condominium Associations were amended in 2018. It is important for Condominiums Associations and condominium unit owners to fully understand these amendments and to take action to ensure compliance with these new rules.  

Florida Condo Website Requirements

By January 1, 2019, a Condominium Association in Florida with 150 or more units (not including timeshare units) must have an independent website or web-portal owned and operated solely by the Association or operated by a third party provider on behalf of the Association.

Ownership of Condominium Website

Association websites may be owned by the Association or by the Association’s management company. Associations with management companies should review their management agreement to determine if the website is owned by the Association or by the management company.

If an Association’s website is owned by the management company, the Association should also review the termination provisions of the management contract to see how the website will be handled upon the termination of the management company’s services.  

Ownership of Condominium website

Condominium Web Site Content – Posting Information and Documents

Section 718.111 of Florida’s Condominium Act regulates and outlines documents that must be posted on the Associations’ website.

Associations Should Post the Following Documents on Their Website:

    • The recorded declaration of each condominium operated by the Association
    • Recorded bylaws of the Association
    • The articles of incorporation of the Association, or other documents creating the Association and each amendment to these, all in the form of copies of documents filed with the Florida Division of Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes.
    • The rules of the Association
    • Any management agreement, lease, or other contracts to which the Association is a party or the unit owners have an obligation or a responsibility
    • Summaries of bids for materials, equipment or services must be maintained on the website for a year
    • The annual budget required by s. 718.112(2)(f) and any proposed budget to be considered at the annual meeting
    • The financial report required by subsection (13) and any proposed financial report to be considered at a meeting
    • The certification of each director of the Association
    • All contracts or transactions between the Association and any director, officer, corporation, firm, or association that is not an affiliated condominium association or any other entity in which an Association director is also a director or officer and financially interested
    • Any contract or document regarding a conflict of interest or possible conflict of interest
    • The notice of any unit owner meeting and the agenda for the meeting
    • Notice of any board meeting, the agenda, and any other document required for the meeting

Posting notices on the Association website does not eliminate the obligation of the Association to post notices at the condominium property or to deliver the notices to members via post or email, as required by the Condominium Act.

Condominium Web Site Accessibility

The Association website should be accessible to the general public via the World Wide Web, but should also contain a password-protected section for unit owners and Association employees. Username and password should be provided to all condominium unit owners upon request. This section contains protected notices and records. Documents accessible in the public section must be redacted to protect sensitive information.

Documents Privately Accessible to Unit Owners:

    • Governing documents (declaration, articles and bylaws, CC&Rs, etc.)
    • A list of executory agreements and documents
    • Budgets, current and pending
    • Board of directors information, contracts between directors and the Association
    • Board meeting notices and supporting documents

Publicly Available Documents

    • Meeting notices for annual meetings and any owners meetings, posted no less than 14 days before the meeting
    • Association’s estoppel designee

Legal Services for Condominium Associations

It is vital for all Condominium Associations and condominium unit owners to recognize and understand the website rules and posting requirements.

This is just a brief overview of amendments to the State of Florida’s Condominium Act, and we recommend that all Florida Condominium Associations consult with an experienced and qualified condominium association attorney who will ensure statutory compliance with the Condominium Act.

Our law firm, Rosenthal Rosenthal Rasco LLC, can provide Florida Condominium Associations with experienced legal services. Contact us today and learn more about the efficient and personal representation we provide to our clients.  

Author: Heather A. Scott

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How Does Reverse Mortgage Interest Work

How Does Reverse Mortgage Interest Work?

A reverse mortgage loan is a great way for senior homeowners to access the unencumbered value of their property. These loans do not require monthly payments from the borrower, but the monthly interest accrues to the loan balance at the end of each month.  

When deciding on a reverse mortgage loan, it is crucial for you to understand how reverse mortgage interest rates are calculated and how they work. Having a strong legal professional with experience in reverse mortgage loans and real estate by your side is always a good idea.

Interest Rates on Reverse Mortgage

Interest on reverse mortgage loans work similarly as interest on any loan – they are charged on the amount of money you get from your loan.

However, with one difference – you do not pay any monthly installments and interest, which are deferred to the end of your loan. Therefore, the interest accrues monthly to the total amount you owe to the lender.  

When is the Reverse Mortgage Loan Due for Payment?

A reverse mortgage is not due as long as you meet the loan obligations. The entire loan and interest are repaid when the reverse mortgage loan matures.

These Events Typically Trigger Loan Maturity:

  • borrowers pass away
  • homes are sold
  • borrowers move
  • not being able to pay taxes and homeowner’s insurance
  • not being able to comply with all the loan terms

Some of these events can cause a loan default and may result in foreclosure.

The longer the borrower lives in the house, the more of the home value will go to the payment of the reverse mortgage. However, the owner can never owe more money to the lender than the home is worth.

mortgage loan

How are Reverse Mortgage Interest Rates Calculated?

There are two basic types of reverse mortgage interest rates:

  • Fixed interest rates the fixed rate is an interest rate that remains constant throughout the life of a loan. These rates are usually determined by investors or government agencies, with the intention of keeping them stable. There are multiple factors that determine an actual interest rate for your loan.
  • Variable interest rates these rates adjust annually or monthly, and they have two elements:
  • Index – reverse mortgage rates can be attached to one of the two indexes, the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) or the Constant Maturity Treasury rate (CMT)
  • Margin – is the amount added to the Index, it is determined by the loan investor, and it is used to calculate Expected and Actual interest in any loan. It is not adjustable, it stays the same.

Variable elements of the rates change at predetermined frequencies, in accordance with market-based indexes, and you can choose between monthly and yearly variables.

How High will My Reverse Mortgage Interest be?

As mentioned, your actual interest rate will depend on a number of factors, and so will the amount you will be able to borrow.

  • Index and Margin value
  • your home’s appraised value
  • your age
  • life expectancy
  • expected years in the house
  • an existing mortgage

To make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions of your reverse mortgage loan, contact us. At Rosenthal Rosenthal Rasco, we provide experienced and professional counseling in negotiating and closing your loan agreement.

Author: Heather A. Scott

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