Deena R. Merlen is a Partner at the firm. Her practice areas include intellectual property, employment and labor law, media and entertainment transactions, general business law, commercial transactions and dispute resolution. In her employment practice, Ms. Merlen has extensive experience representing clients in 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. She advises on and negotiates employment agreements, independent contractor arrangements, company restructurings, separation agreements and other services-related arrangements. In addition, 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, including company formation, mergers and acquisitions, capitalization and governance.
In her intellectual property practice, Ms. Merlen 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. She helps clients with domestic and international copyright and trademark portfolios, develops and enforces intellectual property rights, prosecutes registrations, and negotiates licensing, distribution and branding agreements.
Ms. Merlen’s practice also encompasses music, film, television, theatre, publishing, literary arts, performing arts, design and technology. She ran her own business in the entertainment industry for over a decade and brings that business experience and acumen to her legal practice.
Prior to her work with RPJ, Ms. Merlen served as Law Clerk to The Honorable Roger J. Miner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, after which she joined Debevoise & Plimpton, where she practiced for over five years in the areas of corporate law and intellectual property.
Ms. Merlen is admitted to practice in Connecticut and New York.
Ms. Merlen received a B.A. from Oberlin College (1984) and a J.D. from New York Law School (summa cum laude, 1996), where she ranked first in her class, was an editor of the Law Review and received the Outstanding Editor Award, several American Jurisprudence Awards, the Trustees’ Prize and a merit scholarship.
Ms. Merlen is Co-Chair of the Entertainment, Media and Intellectual Property Law Committee of the Fairfield County Bar Association; 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; and serves on the Board of Directors of Friendship Ambassadors Foundation Inc.
Ms. Merlen is a frequent guest speaker and moderator for employment law, intellectual property and entertainment industry panels on a variety of topics.
Noted Speaking Engagements
- Girls With Impact Luncheon and Press Conference Speaker – June 29, 2017
- “Hot Topics and Changes in the Employment Legal Landscape,” Program Moderator, Fairfield County Bar Association – June 7, 2017
- 19th Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations®, Opening Session Speaker – February 3, 2017
- “Navigating the IR Waters So You Don’t Drown,” Co-Moderator with RPJ Counsel Dara L. Onofrio and Associate Allison “Ally” M. Grein, International Trademark Association Roundtable – June 24, 2016
- “Native Advertising, UGC and the Law,” Roundtable Discussion Speaker and Co-Host with RPJ Associate Allison “Ally” M. Grein, Internet Week NY – May 20, 2016
- SUNY Levin Institute FastTrac New Venture for the Female Entrepreneur, Guest Speaker – October 29, 2015
- “Your Client’s Being Knocked Off—Now What? Genuine Approaches to Counteracting Counterfeiters,” CLE Program Speaker, Fairfield County Bar Association – October 28, 2015
- “Trademark Litigation A-Z,” Roundtable Moderator, International Trademark Association – March 18, 2014
Selected Articles & Publications
- “The Answer to: ‘Can I Get Fired for Talking About Politics at Work?” Interview by Stacey Lastoe, The Muse, featuring Ms. Merlen and RPJ Partner Helen D. “Heidi” Reavis – January 20, 2017
- “Will You Be Prepared in Time for the New Overtime Rules?” RPJ Blog – June 22, 2016