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Ruth Vafek represents clients in employment law compliance and litigation, intellectual property counseling, prosecution, licensing and infringement claims. Ruth is also a certified civil mediator.

Ruth Vafek is a shareholder at Ausley McMullen and focuses her practice on Employment Law, Intellectual Property, and Mediation.

Ruth’s experience in Intellectual Property law includes trademark and copyright registration and portfolio counseling, negotiation and drafting of licensing and development agreements, and litigating all types of infringement and licensing dispute claims.

In the area of Employment law, Ruth advises clients on compliance with state and federal laws, trains managers to avoid employer liability, and defends clients in court against claims of discrimination.

Ruth handles litigation, including torts, in both state and federal courts, and has served as first chair for multiple jury trials. She also counsels companies with the goal of preventing expensive litigation.

Among other experience, while in law school, Ruth consulted for a closely-held technology company in Silicon Valley. She reported directly to the CEO and acted as liaison to the company's outside law firms. She assisted with a wide range of matters encountered at many companies, including employment law disputes and employee grievances, negotiating contracts, corporate governance issues, stock splits, independent financial audits, working with the board of directors and outside investors, and obtaining protection for and policing intellectual property rights. In that position she learned first-hand, from the client's perspective, what clients need and expect from their lawyers.

In her free time, Ruth enjoys spending time with her husband Oskar (a physics professor at FSU and the Mag Lab), reading, and traveling, as well as training for and competing in equine sports, especially eventing.

Intellectual Property

  • Represented artist to enforce limits of license granted to client.
  • Defended hospitality client against claims of trademark infringement and breach of license.
  • Negotiated settlement between client and competitor regarding disputed trademark rights.
  • Drafted and negotiated master agreement for public client to structure allocation of IP rights resulting from outside investment, while addressing pre-existing obligations and needs of various internal stakeholders.
  • Drafting and advising on Software as a Service (SaaS) agreements, licenses, and other project agreements involving retention, assignment, or division of intellectual property rights.
  • Represented inventor to negotiate agreement with new patent assignee.
  • Assisting with IP aspects of due diligence and security interests in the context of mergers and acquisitions, asset transfers, and investing.

Employment

  • Counseling public and private employers with regard to employment policies, employee complaints and disputes, hiring and termination, and compliance issues.
  • Defended publicly traded client against discrimination and other employment-based lawsuits.
  • Defended public entity client against harassment and discrimination lawsuits.
  • Assisting clients with defending against competitor claims involving non-compete/ non-solicitation agreements.
  • Advising and assisting clients with negotiating employment and severance agreements for executive positions.
  • Defended one of largest local employers in area against claims of breach of contract by former CEO.
  • Litigating employment-related claims involving application of ERISA procedures and requirements.

Other Litigation

  • Defended accounting firm against lawsuit alleging professional negligence.
  • Obtained “zero liability” jury verdict for client in tort case alleging traumatic brain injury and demanding 7-figure damages.
  • Litigating cases involving contractual disputes in a variety of industries.

Education

  • Santa Clara University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 2006
  • Goucher College, B.A., with honors, 2001
    • Order of the Coif

Bar Admissions

  • State of Florida
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
  • United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • All state courts in Florida
  • American Bar Association – member of the Section of Litigation, Section of Intellectual Property Law and Section of Employment Law
  • The Florida Bar – since 2007
  • Tallahassee Bar Association
  • Tallahassee Women Lawyers/ Florida Association of Women Lawyers
  • Former member of the Board of Directors, Housing Leadership Council
  • Former member and Chair of the Board of Directors, Urban League of Tallahassee
  • Presenter on “Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs” at Domi Station, December 2021