Deena R. Merlen – Partner
Deena R. Merlen’s practice areas include intellectual property law, employment law, labor law, media and entertainment transactions, general business law, commercial transactions, and dispute resolution.
From assisting a global company to protect, grow and exploit its worldwide portfolio of trademarks and other intellectual property assets, to helping a new company select and clear its future brand, Ms. Merlen is a trusted “go to” advisor to well-known companies, new enterprises and individuals alike. Ms. Merlen represents clients in regard to their domestic and international copyright and trademark portfolios, develops and enforces intellectual property rights, prosecutes registrations, negotiates licensing, distribution, and branding agreements, represents clients in the purchase or sale of intellectual property assets, and provides strategic counsel to safeguard brand platforms and expand the value of intellectual property assets.
Ms. Merlen also has an extensive practice representing clients in employment and workplace matters including general counseling, discrimination actions, mediations and dispute resolution, investigations by federal or state agencies, as well as wage and hour claims and other labor law matters, and advises on and negotiates employment agreements, independent contractor arrangements, company restructurings, separation agreements, and other services-related arrangements. In addition to assisting clients with intellectual property, employment law, and labor law matters, Ms. Merlen provides general business counsel and represents companies and individuals in transactional matters such as partnerships, joint ventures, licensing arrangements, the purchase or sale of businesses, and corporate matters such as company formation, mergers and acquisitions, capitalization, and governance.
Drawing from her previous career of over a decade in the arts, Ms. Merlen’s practice also encompasses music, film, television, theatre, publishing, literary arts, performing arts, fine arts, design, digital and interactive media, technology, copyright, trademark, brands, licensing and more. She ran her own business in the entertainment industry prior to commencing her law practice, and brings that business experience and acumen to her legal practice. She has worked on films and television programs, ranging from award-winning documentaries to commercial fiction feature films, as well as web television and web sites, publication of books, and music licensing and distribution. Ms. Merlen has also been a guest speaker and moderator for intellectual property and entertainment industry panels on a variety of topics.
Ms. Merlen is a graduate of Oberlin College (B.A., 1984) and New York Law School (J.D., summa cum laude, 1996), where she ranked first in her graduating class, was an Editor of the Law Review, and was a recipient of the Outstanding Editor Award, several American Jurisprudence Awards, the Trustees’ Prize and a merit scholarship. After law school, Ms. Merlen was law clerk to Hon. Roger J. Miner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton, where she practiced for over five years in the corporate law and intellectual property practice groups.
She serves on the Board of Directors of Friendship Ambassadors Foundation Inc., a 40-year old nonprofit organization and NGO involved in international cultural exchange and the arts. In addition, Ms. Merlen is Co-Chair of the Entertainment, Media and Intellectual Property Law Committee of the Fairfield County Bar Association, and a member of the Labor and Employment Law, the Intellectual Property Law, and the Entertainment, Art and Sports Law Sections of the New York State Bar Association. She is admitted to practice in Connecticut and New York. Ms. Merlen is a Partner of the Firm.