Brinks attorney to speak on careers in intellectual property at University of Michigan Law School panel discussion Oct. 29

ANN ARBOR, MICH. – Oct. 22, 2015 – Melinda DeSantis, an attorney in the Ann Arbor office of Brinks Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., will serve as a panelist at the University of Michigan Law School’s “Careers in Intellectual Property” discussion to be held on Oct. 29. The Careers in Intellectual Property panel is intended to provide U of M law students a deeper understanding of the career paths available specific to intellectual property law.

“While assisting clients as they navigate through patent and trademark prosecution, I have found my career path in intellectual property law to be both stimulating and rewarding,” DeSantis said. “I’m eager to share my passion for IP with future practitioners.”

At Brinks, DeSantis focuses her practice on patent prosecution in the areas of medical, chemical, and automotive arts. She received her law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law in 2013, where she was Executive Editor of Outside Articles for the Law Review. While in law school, she also published the scholarly article, “RNA Surveillance is Required for Endoplasmic Reticulum Homeostasis” in the May 2012 issue of PNAS. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree, with high honors, in biochemistry from the University of Michigan.

Brinks Gilson & Lione
The attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents at Brinks Gilson & Lione focus their practice in the field of intellectual property, making Brinks one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S. Clients around the world rely on Brinks to help them protect and enforce their intellectual property rights. Brinks attorneys provide counseling in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret and copyright law. More information is available at


Detroit Regional Chamber’s Response to Michigan House’s Road Funding Plan

DETROIT, October 22, 2015 – Today, Detroit Regional Chamber Vice President of Government Relations Brad Williams released the following statement in response to road funding legislation passed by the Michigan House of Representatives on Wednesday.

“The Chamber stands by its letter to the Legislature on October 21. The House package is inadequate to address the long-term challenge and creates future disinvestment in the State’s future that will leave subsequent Legislatures with bad options. We continue to support the compromise measure agreed to by Gov. Snyder and leaders of the Michigan Senate.”

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for Southeast Michigan is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit

Business groups, governor turn up pressure on road funding

From: Crain’s Detroit Business

By Lindsay Vanhulle

October 22, 2015

LANSING — Business groups and even Gov. Rick Snyder are turning up the pressure on state lawmakers to go back to the table and pass a road-funding deal.

Nearly six months ago, statewide voters told Snyder and lawmakers virtually the same thing when they trounced a ballot proposal meant to pay for road work through higher sales and fuel taxes.

Yet spring turned into summer, which turned into fall, and top House and Senate leaders haven’t been able to compromise on any deal that would fix the state’s roads and bridges.

“I thought it was pretty close,” Snyder said this week during a meeting with Crain’s reporters and editors. “We had a pretty rational package all put together.”

But, he said, politics got in the way. So last week he called off any future meetings with the leadership “quadrant” — House Speaker Kevin Cotter, Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich — unless someone becomes willing to move.

And, the governor hinted: The impasse is “a great opportunity for the public to step up and say get something done.”

Groups from the Detroit Regional Chamber to Business Leaders for Michigan are calling for legislative leaders to approve a reported compromise plan, calling it “imperfect” but the best option to end the stalemate.

House and Senate Republicans have been split on how much new revenue to take in through raising the fuel tax or vehicle registration fees and how much existing spending to divert from the general fund. A reported compromise would include $800 million in new revenue and $400 million in current spending, along with an income tax rollback provision first introduced in the Senate. The House was to vote on a new plan Wednesday night that would raise $1.2 billion a year for roads, but not until the 2020-21 fiscal year. The 19-cents-a-gallon state gasoline tax would be increased by 3.3 cents in 2018. The 15-cent diesel tax would rise by 7.3 cents in 2017. License plate fees would increase by an average of $55 per vehicle annually starting in 2016.

At least $1.2 billion is needed to maintain Michigan’s infrastructure. The state’s 19-cent gasoline tax hasn’t been raised since 1997, nor is it tied to inflation, so it no longer generates enough revenue to match Michigan’s annual share of federal transportation dollars.

“The reported ‘last, best deal’ reflects a compromise that, while imperfect to all parties, would finally bring an end to this saga and give Michigan motorists and businesses the transportation infrastructure they deserve,” Detroit chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah and Brad Williams, its government relations vice president, wrote in a letter to lawmakers.

“The failure to act decisively has already cost Michigan motorists four construction seasons since Governor Snyder first called on the Legislature to act,” they wrote. “Increasingly, citizens from all walks of life, along with business owners and leaders, see the Legislature’s inability to find common ground on this issue as a failure of leadership.”

The Detroit chamber, Business Leaders for Michigan — a coalition of the state’s largest employers — and the Michigan Municipal League all warn against the use of more than $400 million in general fund revenues.

They and outside policy analysts have cited looming fiscal pressures, including the funding of the state’s Healthy Michigan Medicaid expansion, as reason to be cautious when raiding the state’s coffers.

Gideon D’Assandro, a spokesman for Cotter, said the House doesn’t plan to move the Senate’s road-funding bills out of a conference committee — where they’ve been since August — because there’s no compromise ready for a vote.

D’Assandro said Cotter has met privately with the governor to discuss roads and remains open to a solution, but no future quadrant meetings are scheduled.

“We’re still going to continue to work it, but it was to the point where people were at a position of just disagreeing,” Snyder said. “I’m not going to give up on this.”

Chamber Letter to Legislature: Action Needed on Roads Compromise Plan

October 21, 2015

The Honorable Arlan Meekhof
The Honorable Jim Ananich
Michigan Senate

The Honorable Kevin Cotter
The Honorable Tim Greimel
Michigan House of Representatives

State Capitol Building
Lansing, Michigan 48909

Dear Messrs Meekhof, Ananich, Cotter and Greimel:

After the defeat of Proposal 1, leaders of both parties promised voters a plan to finally fix Michigan’s roads and critical infrastructure. Six months later, no agreement has been reached and voters once again read headlines that our elected leaders are at an impasse.

This morning, the Chamber’s Board of Directors met to discuss the challenge of funding our road and infrastructure fix. The Board voted – in an overwhelming majority – to endorse the compromise measure that is currently being discussed and agreeable to the Governor. In addition, the Board authorized us to communicate this action and included messages to the Legislature and media.

Immediately after the failure of Proposal 1, the Chamber outlined five principles that have shaped our advocacy on this important issue:

  1. Transportation infrastructure should be funded by users of the system.
  2. The funding crisis has been decades in the making; an appropriate solution should be permanent and dedicated.
  3. New revenue will be required to protect services that the business community and citizens demand.
  4. Transportation is multi-modal and all modes of transportation are important to competitiveness.
  5. Speed is important, but getting it right is more important.

The Chamber continues to believe that the tremendous economic progress Michigan has made thanks to the strong leadership of the Legislature and Governor is at risk if the roads issue is not resolved in a manner consistent with these five principles. The reported “last, best deal” reflects a compromise that, while imperfect to all parties, would finally bring an end to this saga and give Michigan motorists and businesses the transportation infrastructure they deserve.

Action should be taken immediately to pass this proposal. It is past time for voters to see whether their elected representatives are interested in solving the most vexing and persistent issue facing our state.

The Chamber recognizes that the commitment of $400 million in General Fund appropriation is not without its risks; Michigan’s citizens and businesses recognize that the state must fund priorities that sustain our economic growth, and this is likely to have a cost in future years. The state must prepare to fund Healthy Michigan, make higher education attainable for its residents, and invest in economic development programs that take advantage of Michigan’s improving business climate.

This commitment of $400 million from the General Fund combined with $800 million in new revenue will provide an adequate pathway to being the long process of bringing Michigan’s roads and bridges to working, safe and sustainable condition. Further dedication of the General Fund beyond the $400 million, however, would be short-sighted and run counter to Michigan’s best interests.

Michigan’s residents and business community should not wait any longer to have a transportation system worthy of a state on the rise. The failure to act decisively has already cost Michigan motorists four construction seasons since Governor Snyder first called on the Legislature to act. Increasingly, citizens from all walks of life along with business owners and leaders see the Legislature’s inability to find common ground on this issue as a failure of leadership. Your prompt action will help repair not only our critical infrastructure, but Michigan’s reputation for good government leadership that you have worked so hard to build over the past few years.


Sandy K. Baruah

President & Chief Executive Officer

Brad Williams

Vice President, Government Relations

cc: Governor Rick Snyder
Members, Michigan Legislature
Chair, Detroit Regional Chamber
Vice Chair, Detroit Regional Chamber

This Small Shop in the Big City Will Change the Way You Think about Detroit. An Infusion of Functional Art. First Class Fashion. And Friendly Service.

Detroit October 21, 2015     The ArtLoft is for style setters. Trend spotters. Gift getters. An urban oasis with wall-to-wall, top-to-bottom internationally acclaimed home accessories, art objects, jewelry and fashions, all personally curated by Rachael Adadevoh-Woods.

At a glance, shoppers will find fine pieces that define them, their residence, and their city. Personal and home accessories that are creative, imaginative and decidedly practical, too. A mix of global, domestic and Detroit treasures.

Expect to find luxurious lines like Michael Aram, Jonathan Adler, Sid Dickens, Carrol Boyes, Janna Ugone and Pablo Designs, along with unique, statement clothing from Desigual, Sun Kim and Jason, and shoes from Sacha London and Camper. Plus one-of-a kind jewelry that ranges from classic to whimsical.

Rachael, a native of Ghana, who for 18 years has reigned over her shop in Birmingham, Michigan, says she hand-picks an eclectic mix of classic and edgy items for this unconventional Cass Avenue locale, to cater to the new breed of urban dwellers and visitors. The store is open Monday through Saturday, 11 am – 6 pm. Sundays by appointment. And the website, is fully stocked to shop afterhours, night and day.

“Our guests deserve a first class experience with a bit of city swagger,” she declares. “We gift-wrap, ship all over the country and actually forge long-term friendships. More often than not, a shopper leaves with a hug or a hand-shake!”

For a new take on Detroit street culture and a fresh personal shopping experience, visit the ArtLoft Midtown soon. It may well become your new go-to place for all things worldly, whimsical and wonderful.


Brooks Kushman Shareholder Will Moderate Panel at Managing the Trademark Asset Lifecycle Conference

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Brooks Kushman Shareholder Robyn Lederman will moderate a panel discussion on trademark licensing during World Trademark Review’s Managing the Trademark Asset Lifecycle conference in New York City on October 29, 2015.

Lederman will join three panelists to discuss the many issues that must be addressed when entering into a licensing partnership; including sourcing licensing partners, royalty fee calculations, contractual imperatives, dispute resolution strategies and licensing across borders.

Lederman has over 25 years of experience practicing trademark law with special focus on global branding strategy. She guides clients on issues related to all aspects of managing a global trademark portfolio, including clearance, filing strategies, anti-counterfeiting, domain name recovery, licensing, trade dress protection and co-existence agreements. Robyn works with high and low-tech clients across industries, such as agricultural, automotive, bio-tech, active wear, cosmetics, entertainment, social networks, financial services, and homeland security.

Lederman holds a Juris Doctor from the Benjamin N. Cordozo School of Law and is very active in the community outside of Brooks Kushman, educating young companies and start-ups on the practical impact of trademark law through her involvement with Bizdom and the Michigan Israel Business Bridge.

About Brooks Kushman P.C.

Brooks Kushman P.C. is a leading intellectual property (IP) and technology law firm with offices in Michigan and California, and represents clients nationally and internationally with respect to protection, enforcement and monetization of IP, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. The firm has more than 90 intellectual property professionals specializing in various technical disciplines, and has a reputation for providing leading IP counseling with a focus on the business objectives of their clients.

Brooks Kushman counts a number of Fortune 100 companies across a variety of industries among its clients. The firm is also recognized by leading legal publications and rankings, including Corporate Counsel magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Law360, Intellectual Asset Management, Managing Intellectual Property, and Intellectual Property Today. For more information, please visit

Walsh College Offers Open House at Novi Campus

Walsh College will hold an open house for future students interested in pursuing its high-quality, highly valued bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business and information technology from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday, November 5, at its Novi campus, 41500 Gardenbrook Rd.

At the open house, future students can:

  • Meet with an advisor. Bring transcripts and receive guidance through the application process. Transfer credits will be evaluated on the spot
  • Learn how to transfer up to 82 credits to complete an undergraduate degree
  • Learn about academic programs, online degrees, financial aid, student organizations, and career services

Register to attend at

The normal application fee is waived for undergraduate and graduate applications during the event. Registration for the Winter 2016 semester begins Monday, November 23. Scholarships are available for qualified students.

“Our open house advisors can provide the personalized guidance that future students need to plan a Walsh business or information technology undergraduate or graduate program which is geared for academic and career success,” said Heather Rigby, director, Admissions and Academic Advising. “Since its founding in 1922, Walsh College has been a business education leader recognized by students and employers alike.”

For more information, visit

Heather Zara, Founder + CEO of Zara Creative, recognized by DBusiness; 30 in Their Thirties

Founder and CEO | Zara Creative, Troy | Employees: 9 | Revenue: NA | Michigan State University

Heather Zara’s friends thought she was crazy to quit her 10-year sports broadcasting career to open a video company that specializes in TV commercials, branding videos, philanthropic films, and weddings.

“It’s funny because I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur, but I was always fascinated with why people became successful,” Zara says.

She started with zero funding but, in just over three years, Zara Creative has grown to serve more than 500 clients ranging from nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies. It has nearly doubled its sales every year.

Zara estimates that weddings make up about 35 percent of her business. They’ve taken her and her crew to far-flung destinations like Cancun and Miami, and in Michigan to Petoskey and Glen Arbor. Because her business has grown so much, Zara recently turned over supervision of the wedding portion of her firm to one of her employees.

Zara, meanwhile, maintains direct responsibility for the rest of the business. “It’s really cool because it almost ties back to my days as a reporter,” she says. “Every time I work with a client I get to learn about their business.”

The video storyteller prides herself on always trying to push the creative envelope for clients. One client, a lawyer, wanted a commercial shot in his library, with him standing in front of shelves of law journals.

“After he told us what he was looking for, I asked him if he was married to that idea,” Zara says. “I just thought we could do something more creative.”

Instead, she made a commercial intended to make the attorney’s target audience laugh. “The lawyer wasn’t even in it,” she recalls. “He ended up getting a ton of new business and we won a national award.”

Zara says her philanthropic efforts are a driving force in her life: She works with more than 30 Detroit-area nonprofits, serves on committees for the Boy Scouts of America, and is one of the sponsors of the newly-relocated Ronald McDonald House at the Detroit Medical Center.

Leadership Detroit’s ‘East Meets West’ Tackles Regional Issues

Leadership Detroit, an initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, has joined forces with the Center for Community Leaders and the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce to host a thought exchange of best practices called “East Meets West.”

Thirty-three leaders across the state came together in Detroit on Oct. 8-9 to explore the politics, opportunities and challenges of the state’s two largest regions. Participants collaborated on ideas and strategies to better align the Detroit and Grand Rapids regions on statewide issues to support Michigan’s comeback.

Key to this initiative is to better understand how leaders approach major challenges in Michigan around three principles:

  • Alignment among the business, civic and philanthropic organizations to drive major community initiatives
  • Leveling expectations for local government to advance partnerships with the business community
  • Leading strategies to grow economic equity and inclusion

The Detroit session included a bus tour of the city and panel discussions on Building Economic Equity, Understanding Race and Diversity and Economic Diversification Efforts in the Detroit Region. Participants heard from regional leaders including Chamber Board Chair Mark Davidoff, Michigan Managing Partner of Deloitte LLP, New Economy Initiative’s Dave Egner, Renaissance Venture Capital Fund’s Chris Rizik, and Walker-Miller Energy Services’ Carla Walker-Miller.

“The Detroit session was very eye opening and helped me see the issues impacting Detroit from the Detroit perspective. I was very engaged from start to finish and I was extremely happy with the speakers, bus tour, participant discussion and overall vibe of the Detroit region session,” said Shlynn Rhodes, project manager for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The group will meet again in Grand Rapids on Nov. 5-6 before completing the program on Dec. 8 in Lansing. View the complete East Meets West roster.

MICHauto Report Available to Economic Developers, Showcases Michigan’s Next-Generation Mobility Leadership

MICHauto, an initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, recently released its Michigan is Autoreport at the 2015 MICHauto Summit. The report, now in its third iteration, details Michigan’s automotive and next-generation mobility assets and overall business climate. It will be disseminated to economic developers throughout the state for automotive business and investment attraction efforts.

Among its highlights, the report shows that:

  • Michigan’s engineering workforce ranks No. 1 nationally.
  • As of 2014, Michigan employed more industrial engineers (23,390) and mechanical engineers (38,700) than any other state in the country.
  • Michigan leads the country in connected vehicle projects (45), a 50 percent increase since 2013.
  • Michigan accounts for $8.9 billion, or 76 percent, of business-funded automotive R&D, leading the nation in automotive-related R&D.
  • Michigan has 15 universities and colleges with nationally ranked undergraduate engineering programs, four of which also have nationally ranked graduate programs.

Supported by Gov. Snyder and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), “Michigan is Auto” has been translated into several languages and is distributed around the world to industry executives considering expansion in North America. Read the full report here.