Intellectual Property, Entertainment, and Sports Litigation

Sussman Shank attorneys have considerable experience in resolving disputes related to intellectual property, including copyright and trademark infringement and disputes related to licensing, distribution, and Internet domain names.  We have represented both small and large businesses in a wide range of industries.

Our attorneys also have represented high-profile players in the entertainment and sports industries, in disputes ranging from contract litigation to class-action wage and hour cases.

Representative Experience

Entertainment, Media, and Technology

  • We represented Viacom, Inc. in numerous intellectual property and contract-related disputes.  Our representation included a lawsuit concerning a reality contest show on MTV, a class action licensing dispute involving BET, and a dispute concerning Paramount's distribution of the film Hustle and Flow.  Our representation also included anti-piracy counseling.  All three disputes were settled prior to trial.
  • We represented director Steven Spielberg in defense of a claim for fraud by an individual who had financed Mr. Spielberg's first short film.  We obtained a summary judgment dismissing the claim.   
  • We represented publisher Reed Elsevier in Reed Elsevier, Inc. v. Munchnick, 559 U.S.154 (2010), in which the Supreme Court held that copyright registration is not a jurisdictional defect that prevents federal courts from conditionally certifying a class for settlement purposes.  
  • We represented a Korean gaming company as plaintiff in Lanham Act and Anticybersquatting Act litigation in federal court, as well as in a proceeding before the World Intellectual Property Organization.  We obtained preliminary and injunctive relief and prevailed on summary judgment.  We received statutory damages and attorneys' fees, and obtained a court order that the infringing domain name be transferred to our client.   
  • We represented a major video game studio in defending against a class action wage and hour claim.  The plaintiffs claimed they were misclassified as "artistic professionals" under applicable overtime laws.  The case was successfully mediated and settled. 
  • We represented a Japanese animation company in a production agreement and licensing dispute with a trading card company.  The case was settled after trial, but before verdict. 
  • We served as litigation counsel for Apple in defense of a claim for patent infringement related to software.  We became involved as litigation counsel shortly before trial, and after obtaining several favorable pretrial rulings, the case settled shortly before trial. 

Apparel Companies

  • We represented the Marciano brothers, the founders of Guess?, Inc., in worldwide litigation against the owners of Jordache jeans. This representation included two jury trials totaling seven months, as well as ancillary litigation in numerous jurisdictions, including California (state and federal), New York, Delaware, and Hong Kong.  The representation resulted in the Marcianos receiving back 51% of the stock in Guess jeans that they had sold to the owners of Jordache, as well as other consideration that was part of a confidential settlement. 
  • We represented premium jean maker Citizens of Humanity in a successful two-week trial, and obtained a jury verdict of more than $11.3 million against the Japanese distributors for breach of contract, trademark infringement, and fraud. 
  • We represented Citizens of Humanity in a copyright action against a competitor using Citizens' back pocket design. 
  • We represented a garment accessory company in litigation against Fossil in which we pursued claims for false advertising, violation of the Lanham Act, and trade dress infringement.  We represented that same garment company in several lawsuits alleging copyright infringement related to designs of hardware on clothing accessories, and in defense of claims of trademark infringement of rights relating to the names of specific styles or models.
  • We defended Olivia Newton-John and others in defense of claims related to the demise of Koala Blue fashion boutiques. 


  • We represented FIFA in connection with the World Cup.
  • We represented the Women's Tennis Association in connection with privacy and data security matters.
  • We represented a sports broadcaster in defense of a claim for sexual assault.
  • We represented a sports agency in defense of a suit brought by the former agent for baseball superstar Barry Bonds.  The suit alleged interference with contract.  We prevailed on summary judgment, and the judgment was affirmed on appeal. 

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