Posts Tagged ‘32909’


You’ve been getting those annoying phone calls from the people you owe money too. You don’t have the money. You’re out of work or you took a pay cut. If you had it, you’d pay it. Now you have to listen to these people threaten you? Are they allowed to do this? Well, yes and no. It all depends. There are rules they must adhere to when calling to collect a debt. Here are things they cannot do.

1. Threatening to take legal action unless you are actually intending to do so is illegal. This includes lawsuits, wage garnishment, damaging credit rating, and property repossession. So if you are being threatened with those, you probably want to take it seriously.

2. Contacting someone other than the debt holder or cosigner. This happens all the time. They call friends, relatives, co-workers, people you went to high school with, etc. If you get one of these calls from a collector looking for a friend, you may want to remind them of this.

3. Mislead the consumer about the amount of the debt.

4. Calling before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM. This is a no-no.

5. If they call the debtor at work, they may not tell his/her employer why they are calling until asked.

6. Making misleading statements claiming to be from a government agency with a court order or subpoena for example.

7. Making any type of slur or inappropriate comments either in verbal or written form.

8. Making the individual think he has committed some type of crime in not paying his debts.

9. Pretending to be conducting a survey in order to gather information.

10. Taking you to court far away from your home.

11. Charging interest or fees not allowed by the state.

12. Calling at inconvenient places the individual has asked them not to call such as work, church, school.

13. Making physical threats to harm the individual unless they pay.

14. Publishing the names of people who are in debt (other than reporting to a credit agency)

15. Using a false company name when trying to collect a debt.

16. Depositing a post dated check early in an effort to get the check to bounce.

17. Providing incorrect information about a person to someone else.

18. Contacting via a post card.

So a debt collector cannot harass you by calling you over and over, calling your family members, threatening you, or misleading you into thinking you could be in legal trouble if you do not pay. How do you get them to stop calling? Either settle the debt, or write a letter telling them to stop. At that point their only recourse is to either write it off, or sue you. Either way the thing will be settled and the phone calls will stop.


The attorneys at Widerman Malek, PL assist clients with a wide range of real estate services. We review and prepare real estate and construction contracts, issue title insurance as an agent for Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, act as an escrow agent and conduct real estate closings, litigate and defend real estate litigation claims, represent homeowners’ and condominium associations, and represent property owners in a wide variety of real estate, land use, zoning, building, permitting, use, and compliance matters.

WM Attorneys Who Practice Real Estate Law

Scott Widerman scott widerman
Jim Ippoliti Jim Ippoliti
Mason Williams mason williams
Mark Gushiken Mark Gushiken
Jeff Ippoliti Jeff Ippoliti
Confidential Folder

A trade secret has three parts pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1839(3) (A), (B) (1996). They are (1) information; (2) reasonable measures taken to protect the information; and (3) which derives independent economic value from not being publicly known”.

The Attorneys at Widerman Malek, PL can assist you in setting your appropriate procedures for ensuring that you take the appropriate steps to protect your information as a trade secret. We can also draft procedures and/or manuals (or review existing procedures and manuals) to ensure that the categories of information you desire to protect as a trade secret retain such protection. Maintaining the secrecy of this information is key to trade secret protection, and the attorneys at Widerman Malek, PL can assist you with the procedures that you must have in place in order to prevent loss of your trade secret protection.

Should you believe that your trade secret has been misappropriated, please contact the attorneys at Widerman Malek, PL to discuss your options for an action based on theft of your trade secrets.

WM Attorneys Who Practice Trade Secrets

Melbourne Florida

Melbourne FloridaAs many of you already know, we are located in the beautiful city of Melbourne Florida.  We figures it would be fun to do an article on the history of our great coastal Florida town. Please enjoy.

The city of Melbourne, while a fairly young city, is robust with history.  Did you know this town was founded by three former black slaves in 1867?  It is true.  After the Civil War Peter Wright, William Allen and Wright Brothers fled to Melbourne then called Crane Creek to start anew as freed men.  Did you also know that the city of Melbourne used to be two separate towns?  The town of Melbourne in 1969 annexed the neighboring town of Eau Gallie to form what is present day the city of Melbourne.

Most present day residents of Melbourne probably know this fact, as the merger only took place 44 years ago.  But I wager not as many Melbourne residents would know that their city was once home to mammoths, mastodons, wild horses, camels and paleo-indians.  Amherst College paleontologist, Frederick Loomis was invited to excavate C.P. Singleton’s land in the 1920’s, after Mr. Singleton discovered the bones of a mammoth on his property on Crane Creek.  Loomis’ excavating led to the discovery of the other bones.  The bones date all back to over 10,000 years ago, which means that horses were once indigenous to North America prior to the European settlers arriving.  Uh oh!  Our school history books are going to have to be corrected.  The practiced teaching of U.S. schools, informing students that European settlers first introduced horses to North America is wrong.  The evidence of Loomis’ discovery shocked the scientific world and to think Melbourne played a role in this new revelation.

In an effort to educate residents and visitors of the city’s rich history, Melbourne’s Historic Preservation Board is offering quarterly lectures to the public.  The next lecture is scheduled to meet at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, January 15th, at the Melbourne City Hall Council Chamber, 900 E. Strawbridge Avenue.  Karen Raley, author of Melbourne and Eau Gallie, will be presenting the lecture “Melbourne & Eau Gallie’s First Hundred Years”.  Her lecture will be focused on the history of these two towns leading up to the merger, forming present day Melbourne, Florida.  For those who wish to learn more about the city’s rich past, this is the perfect opportunity to learn.  Who knows what other interesting facts can be learned about Melbourne?


Mark Malek

By Ken Datzman, Brevard Business News 05/28/2012


There are few government entities like the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Beyond Wall Street, it is the rooted center of the universe of American capitalism. The office receives patent applications from entrepreneurs and businesses at the rate of more than 450,000 a year, with the majority filed electronically.

Some 6,000 examiners, generally scientists and engineers, review the applications, of which more than 150,000 a year are approved for patents.

As far as who can file to protect their invention, the patient office specifies only that the subject must be “useful.” The USPTO has granted more than 8 million patents since 1790.

These patented inventions help power the economy, in a big, sweeping way. Intellectual–property–intensive industries today support at least 40 million jobs and contribute more that $5 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product, according to a U.S. Department of Commerce report

The  first–of–its–kind report, “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus,” was released in April by the department. Intellectual property accounts for nearly 35 percent of GDP. Some of the most intensive IP–industries include computer and peripheral equipment, audio– and video–equipment manufacturing, newspaper and book publishers, and pharmaceuticals.

The numbers might even be more impressive if the patent pipeline unclogged — the USPTO says there is a backlog of nearly 700,000 patent applications — and entrepreneurs and businesses were able to bring their inventions to the market sooner.

Now, thanks to the newly enacted Leahy–Smith America Invents Act, the first “significant” reform of the Patent Act in 60 years, that is about to happen.

President Obama signed the historic patent–reform legislation late last year, which is designed to speed up the outdated system, weed out bad patents efficiently, and most importantly, align it with the international market.

“The single, biggest thing the America Invents Act does is change the U.S. patent system from a ‘first–to–invent’ country to a ‘first–to–file’ country, and that brings us in line with Europe,” said Mark Malek, a registered patent attorney with Widerman Malek, PL in Melbourne, who works with businessowners and inventors in the region.

“A lot of people invent and want to tweak the invention first. Technically, it’s now disadvantageous for the inventor to hold off filing his or her patent application. With the America Invents Act, it’s truly a race to the patent office.”

Supporters of the law believe that this will assist people filing for patents in multiple countries. Many other countries use a first–to–file system, Malek said. The USPTO has expanded work–sharing with other patent offices around the world to speed patent processing for applicants seeking protection in multiple jurisdictions.

Under the first–to–invent system, inventors had a one–year grace period where they could find investors to help pay for the patent–application fee ($7,000 to $10,000) and determine whether there is a market for their invention.

Many saw the old system as a barrier to innovation, unnecessarily delaying American inventors from marketing new products and creating jobs in this country.

This year, for the first time, China is expected to become the world’s number–one patent publisher, surpassing the U.S. and Japan in the total number of patents. But with the new changes in place, the U.S. is positioned to regain its patent dominance.

A key element of the America Invents Act is a fast–track option for patent processing. Instead of an average wait time of almost three years, the USPTO will be able to offer startups and growing companies an opportunity to have their patents reviewed in one–third the time. The fast–track option has a “guaranteed” 12–month turnaround.

“For a fee, you can advance your application to be completed in 12 months,” said Malek, whose areas of practice include patent, trademark, copyright, and intellectual–property litigation. “But there are other ways to do it as well, such as filing a ‘petition–to–make–special.’ We do this for a lot of inventors in Florida who are over the age 65.”

A petition–to–make–special is a formal request submitted to the USPTO asking that a patent application be examined ahead of other pending applications in the same field, as opposed to the “first–come, first–served” principle.

“It can move an application from the bottom to the top of the stack,” said Malek, who earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Dayton and worked in his field with a company that built wastewater treatment facilities around the nation, before going on to law school.

In addition to the senior–citizen status, the petition–to–make–special, an accelerated examination, can be granted in a number of categories including green technologies, he said. Under the Green Technology Pilot Program, pending patent applications in that field are eligible to be accorded special status and given expedited examination. Another petition–to–make–special area is cancer research, Malek said.

During the last four years, the USPTO, under the Department of Commerce, has reduced the patent backlog from more than 750,000 to 680,000, despite a 4 percent increase in filings. Much of the credit goes to its director, David Kappos.

“David Kappos is doing a phenomenal job,” said Malek, who worked as a intern in 1999 and passed the patent bar examination in early 2000, allowing him to practice as a patent agent before the USPTO.

“He made it a point to do away with a lot of the ‘red tape.’ He freed up the hands of the examiners and gave them the infrastructure they needed to do their jobs. It has resulted in a reduced backlog at the patent office. The examiners are really doing a great job, I think,” added Malek, who also has an MBA degree from the University of Orlando.

Entrepreneurship is alive and well in the U.S., although the rate of new business formation dipped during 2011 and startup founders remained more likely to fly solo than employ others, according to the new “Kauffman Index of Entreprenurial Activity,” a leading indicator of business creation in America published annually by the Ewing Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Mo.

The index shows that 0.32 percent of American adults created a business per month in 2011 — a 5.9 percent drop from 2010, but still among the highest levels of entrepreneurship over the past 16 years.

Business is up at Widerman Malek, PL, a nine–attorney firm with an office in Washington, D.C. “We are really smart about our growth,” said Malek, whose partners include Scott Widerman. “We don’t try to overgrow. We are very good at knowing what we don’t know. In other words, we stick to our niche, our areas of expertise. We are not going to roll the dice. That has been a huge key to our success.”

He added, “We are thankful to our colleagues in Brevard County who refer intellectual property work to us because it is out of their specialty area. We really appreciate the firms that have the same mentality as we do.” Intellectual property and the patent–application process in general are complex areas of law. The USPTO says it cannot assist in the preparation of patent–application papers. If you are ready to apply for a patent, the USPTO “strongly advices” contacting a registered patent attorney or patent agent.

Besides intellectual property, Widerman Malek, PL specializes in a number of other areas, including real–estate law, foreclosures, and estate planning and probate.  Their firm has successfully melded the practice of law and community engagement. Malek said the firm prides itself on being plugged into the community through their volunteerism. Firm members sit on committees and nonprofit boards, giving their time to improve the county’s quality of life.

“As a firm, we support a number of organizations. We put a lot of time and energy into programs that really help kids in general. And we like to do everything we can to reach out to veterans. We wouldn’t have the pleasure of sitting here today having this  conversation without the sacrifices that veterans and their families have made.”

Malek himself was just named to the Brevard Field of Dreams Inc. board, an organization that was founded byretired Atlantic City, N.J., firefighter and area resident Jim Tapp.

The group is trying to raise $3 million in private funding to build a customized sports park, which will feature leagues and programs for children and young adults with disabilities. Brevard Field of Dreams, which kicked off a capital campaign in January, has secured a site in West Melbourne to develop the facility.

“Brevard Field of Dreams is a great project,” said Malek. “There isn’t a park in the county that serves the needs of handicapped individuals and their families.”

He continued, “Looking at it just from a business perspective, if you are a sizable employer who might be interested in relocating to Brevard County, this is something that could help attract them. There are a lot of families who have some sort of special needs.”

Malek, whose 6–year–old son Andrew has been diagnosed with a mild form of autism, is a supporter of Florida Tech’s Scott Center for Autism Treatment on the school’s campus in Melbourne. “The Center’s programs have a big impact on families. It helps them tremendously.”

He chaired the recent “Evening of Hope IV” committee, a fund–raising event for the Scott Center hosted at the home of Joe Flammio, a Florida Tech board of trustees member. The event raised $190,000. “It was a “tremendous success,” said Malek.

The funds were raised through sponsorships, an auction and a Rolex watch raffle. Kempf’s Jewelers in Indialantic donated a Rolex valued at $6,325. “I was honored to have called the local person who won the watch,” said Malek.

His participation in the community as a volunteer reaches across the county, with the Epilepsy Foundation, Sentinels of Freedom, Junior Achievement of Space Coast, Melbourne Main Street, Rolling Readers of the Space Coast, Harmony Farms, the Danny Craig Foundation, and other groups and organizations.

The Danny Craig Foundation was started by Carol Craig, founder and chief executive officer of Cape Canaveral–based Craig Technologies Inc. Her son Danny has Prader–Willi Syndrome, a rare genetic disease.

On the Community Foundation for Brevard website (, under, you can learn more about the nonprofit organizations and the community needs in the county.

Malek says his family oriented firm feels it has a responsibility to give back to the community, not only by providing pro–bono services but also by participating in charity events and advocating on behalf of those in need.

“We are a group of young lawyers who have families.  Some of us came from big law firms, where we put in countless hours. At ZW&M, the priorities are our families and the community. We just had our company picnic. Kids were everywhere. We all loved it. It was great.”