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Neal J. Gauger



Neal J. Gauger is an intellectual property and criminal defense litigator, with a focus on clients in the technology and entertainment industries. Neal also advises and advocates on behalf of Nixon Peabody clients within a diverse range of government investigations and regulatory proceedings and counsels clients regarding compliance, data privacy and data security matters.

What do you focus on?

I focus on resolving civil disputes and government prosecutions so that our clients can devote their energies to pursuing their chosen endeavors and developing their core business. As a former mediator, I balance aggressive litigation tactics with alternative dispute resolution strategies in order to achieve successful results.

In commercial litigation, I handle a broad range of matters, with a specialty in defending and prosecuting copyright, trademark, and trade secret disputes. I also regularly counsel my clients as to their intellectual property business operations, including complex IP rights issues; IP development; the establishment of protection over new, existing, and derivative works; licensing; advertising and marketing of products; and publicity matters. By gaining a deep understanding of my clients’ larger business goals, I ensure they have effective rights protection strategies in place long before litigation arises.

The other half of my practice is dedicated to counseling clients through complex internal, state, and federal investigations, including False Claims Act, RICO, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matters. In doing so, I routinely obtain non-prosecution and non-custodial sentences for my clients. I have led teams in negotiating with and defending actions brought by the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Internal Revenue Service, among others.

As with my intellectual property practice, I find that the best defense to a government investigation is to have vigorous preparation beforehand. To that end, I regularly lead the strategic development and implementation of compliance programs across a wide range of regulatory frameworks, including data protection, anti-corruption, and fraud/waste matters. My experience counseling companies to minimize the likelihood of enforcement—and engaging with government regulators when enforcement does occur—informs my approach to all aspects of corporate governance and operations.

I also pride myself on taking a proactive approach to educating my clients about their rights and the regulatory risks they may face, including the development of teaching tools and policies. These include development of a fifty-state data protocol, which allows my clients to be informed and respond immediately to time-sensitive data incidents.

What do you see on the horizon?

As state and federal governments are now increasingly relying on revenue from criminal and regulatory actions to fund their own operations, enforcement actions across the board will continue to increase in their frequency, intensity, and scope. This is particularly true with respect to “truth in advertising” claims. Where before regulators were willing to utilize a longer leash, today companies must be prepared for close scrutiny and be able to provide support for even the smallest details of their advertising and marketing campaigns.

Representative Experience

  • Successfully defended the Estate of the Notorious B.I.G. in a copyright infringement case based on the lyrics of the artist’s song, “Party and Bullsh*t.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s finding of fair use. This is the first fair use ruling for music lyrics and is the first fair use ruling affirmed with a written decision. Abiodun Oyewole v. Rita Ora et al. (SDNY)
  • Representation of a major software development company to affirmatively prosecute claims of trade secret misappropriation and copyright infringement
  • Representation of a major commercial client against patent infringement claims relating to its mobile application operations
  • Representation of an internationally known recording artist to defend against various intellectual property infringement claims involving music sampling
  • Representation of an internationally known sports and entertainment organization to prosecute various intellectual property infringement claims
  • Representation of a major street artist to prosecute various claims of copyright infringement
  • Representation of a major international fashion retailer in a patent infringement case involving distressed denim jeans
  • Representation of a major international fashion retailer in a copyright infringement case involving fabric designs
  • Representation of a major international fashion retailer in a copyright infringement case involving still photography
  • Key member of a trial and appellate team for a federal copyright trial on behalf of a large clothing retailer, including resolution of numerous novel copyright and damages issues
  • Representation of a Fortune 500 executive in an investigation brought pursuant to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
  • Representation of a major entertainment company and its executives against false advertising claims brought by the FTC and CA state prosecutors
  • Representation of executives at a major mortgage bank in defense of an SEC investigation alleging claims of securities fraud
  • Representation of multiple clients through crisis management issues related to data privacy and data breaches, including defense of later civil litigation claims

Publications and Presentations

H&M revives copyright suit with SCOTUS petition

World Intellectual Property Review | September 11, 2019

This article quotes extensively from a petition filed at the Supreme Court by Los Angeles Intellectual Property partner Staci Riordan and Government Investigations and White Collar Defense associate Neal Gauger, who are representing H&M in a copyright suit.

H&M takes copyright ruling to Supreme Court

Law360 | September 10, 2019

This story mentions Los Angeles Intellectual Property partner Staci Riordan and Government Investigations and White Collar Defense associate Neal Gauger, who are representing H&M in a copyright suit. The story quotes the attorneys’ petition for cert, which asks the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a Ninth Circuit ruling that would make it much easier to sue for infringement.

'Party and Bulls--t': NY judge rules phrase is fair use in Notorious B.I.G., Rita Ora songs

Billboard | September 05, 2019

This story highlights Intellectual Property partner Staci Riordan and associate Sydney Pritchett and Government Investigations and White Collar Defense associate Neal Gauger, all of Los Angeles, who successfully defended their client, the estate of slain rapper Notorious B.I.G., in a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Law360's Weekly Verdict: Legal Lions & Lambs

Law360 | September 05, 2019

This story highlights Intellectual Property partner Staci Riordan and associate Sydney Pritchett and Government Investigations and White Collar Defense associate Neal Gauger, all of Los Angeles, who successfully defended their client, the estate of slain rapper Notorious B.I.G., in a copyright infringement lawsuit.

2nd Circuit says Biggie's “Party And B*******” is fair use

Law360 | September 04, 2019

This story quotes Los Angeles Intellectual Property partner Staci Riordan discussing the successful defense of the estate of slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Intellectual Property associate Sydney Pritchett and Government Investigations and White Collar Defense associate Neal Gauger, both of Los Angeles, also worked on this matter.

Episode S2E8—Hip-hop’s diversity issue

To Live and Law in LA | December 11, 2018

Los Angeles entertainment partner and Billboard Top Music Lawyer Julian Petty talks about the lack of diverse legal representation in the hip-hop industry, why he made the switch from aspiring rapper to lawyer, and his background representing some of the biggest names in the business, including Childish Gambino and the estate of the Notorious B.I.G. Associates Jade Turner-Bond and Neal Gauger host.

Season 2, Episode 6: Season 2 mailbag

To Live and Law in LA | November 27, 2018

Los Angeles attorneys Aaron Brian, Shannon Egan, Neal Gauger and Jade Turner-Bond take listener questions in this week’s episode of To Live and Law in LA. Among the topics: The future of the Supreme Court, and whether it’s better to own a dragon or be a dragon.

S2 E2: Inside an immigrant detainee camp

S2 E2: Inside an immigrant detainee camp | October 24, 2018

In this week’s episode of the podcast, associate Neal Gauger talks about his efforts volunteering with the ACLU inside a federal prison outside Los Angeles, where he and others sought to help asylum seekers being held in inhumane conditions. This episode is hosted by counsel Aaron Brian and associates Jade Turner-Bond and Shannon Egan.

Ex-Tenant can't revive NJ suit over utility billing system

Law360 | March 27, 2018

Long Island commercial litigation partner Dan Gibbons successfully prevailed on the appeal of this case involving a class action over a utility billing system at a New Jersey apartment complex.  Dan along with Los Angeles government investigations and white collar defense partner Jason Gonzalez and associate Neal Gauger represented Yes Energy Management Inc. in this matter.

Contact

Neal J. Gauger

Associate

Los Angeles

Phone: 213-629-6098


Fax: 884-868-4012

University of Southern California, J.D.

University of Pennsylvania, M.A.

Ithaca College, B.S.

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

U.S. District Court, Central District of California

U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

U.S. District Court, Southern District of California

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California

California

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