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Esports & Gaming



With deep cross-industry experience, our team helps major players in the booming esports, gaming, and interactive media industries navigate potential legal issues, stay ahead of the competition, and reach next-level success.

Our approach

With more than 30 attorneys across the United States and beyond, our Esports and Gaming practice group brings together legal experience across numerous practice areas critical to these industries. Our forward-thinking team understands all facets of this expanding international market and can confidently guide esports and gaming clients through a variety of potential legal issues.

We represent private and public companies around the globe as well as players and talent. Leveraging our collective experience, we look at the big picture, stay ahead of trends, navigate challenges, and proactively identify opportunities for our clients.

Who we work with

  • Publishers
  • Team and league organizations
  • Marketing and media companies
  • Tournament providers
  • Brands
  • Players

Experience

With our breadth of cross-industry experience, we advise clients on issues including:

Labor and Employment + Immigration

We counsel clients on all aspects of their labor and employment practices and issues, from drafting employment and professional service contracts, to implementing forward-looking policies and HR practices, to helping players obtain proper visas to compete in international tournaments. Our experienced nationwide Labor and Employment Litigation team represents employers in state and federal court in single-plaintiff and class action suits, as well as before administrative agencies such as the NLRB and OSHA.

Gambling Laws + Regulatory Compliance

Our attorneys stay ahead of changes to the complex federal and state gambling regulations to ensure developers, publishers, tournament organizers, and teams do not create illegal derivative gambling markings through micro-transactions or other technologies.

We provide guidance and strategic planning to ensure clients comply with international and domestic regulations for cross-border transactions, virtual currencies, international tournament play, gambling restrictions, advertising and endorsement laws, broadcasting and media rights, and data privacy.

Corporate Transactions

Whether you’re creating, backing, franchising, acquiring, or selling an organization, understanding the esports and gaming landscape is key to smart investing. Our experienced Mergers & Acquisitions and Corporate groups know all aspects of the space to help clients unpack the complexities of the deal and make smart business decisions.

Public Financing + Zoning and Real Estate

With the growth in the esports and gaming industries comes the expansion into arenas and brick-and-mortar experiences. Our Public Finance and Real Estate groups guide clients through all steps of public financing, zoning, and real estate transactions.

Representative Experience

We have performed current or past work on behalf of these clients:

  • Video game developers and publishers, Stardock Entertainment and Valve Corporation, in a trademark and copyright infringement dispute involving Star Control: Origins, an action-adventure video game
  • French video game maker, Gameloft S.E., on all trademark prosecution work
  • Fantasy sports content provider on various real estate transactions and litigation matters, and navigating government regulatory inquiries across the country
  • Various gaming companies on U.S. regulatory compliance of their tournament rules, including drafting rules
  • Virtual reality esports company in patent matters
  • Digital engagement consultancy group on patent prosecution work in regards to its proprietary game development platform
  • Global online platform focused on the esports industry, on matters related to their online terms of service, privacy policy, and regulatory compliance
  • FreshPlanet, a video game developer, with their trademark prosecution work
  • Gameloft, a mobile game developer, in a suit alleging copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation, and other claims relating to the development of digital cars used in mobile video games
  • Stardock Entertainment in a First Amendment defense to secure victory on behalf of Ironclad Games and Stardock Entertainment in a trademark infringement matter related to the “Rebellion” mark
  • Bandai Namco Entertainment, a video game developer and publisher, in a lawsuit against AtGames, alleging copyright and trademark infringement, as well as counterfeiting, unfair competition, and false advertising
  • Scientific Games Corporation (aka WMS Gaming), a manufacturer of slot machines, video lottery terminals, and software, to help casinos manage their gaming operations and on patent prosecution matters
  • Professional basketball team looking to acquire a stake in a multigame esports organization to assist in managerial duties around the brand, including a new rebrand to match the basketball team’s colors, marketing, brand promotion, and sponsorships
  • Esports festival—provided general business advice and drafted agreements
  • Large food and beverage management company for an investment in an esports franchise

Presentations

  • “Game On: The Billion Dollar Esports Industry,” ISCS Western Conference, Los Angeles, CA, September 2019 (Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan)
  • “Governance, Player Unions, and Dispute Resolution,” Esports Bar Association Conference, Los Angeles, CA, June 2019 (Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan)
  • “Future Forum: The Future of Esports in L.A.,” Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, Los Angeles, CA, April 2019 (Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan)
  • “Esports Summit: Law, Technology and Governance,” Pepperdine Law School, Los Angeles, CA, March 2019 (Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan)
  • “Who will be the Michael Jordan of Esports? Building the Next Generation of Brand Influencers,” Nixon Peabody & XLIVE Reception Series, Los Angeles, CA, March 2018 (Ellie Altshuler)
  • “Women in Esports and the Video Game Industry,” Esports Activate, Sony PlayStation Theater, New York, March 2018 (Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan)
  • “How the Global Evolution of Esports Will Change the Industry,” Hollywood Entertainment Technology Festival (HET Fest), Los Angeles, November 2017 (Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan)
  • “The Future Is Female—How Women Are Playing a Crucial Role in the Growth of E-sports,” XLIVE, New York, August 2017 (Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan)
  • “Joining Forces—The Importance of Players Unions and Governing Bodies for the Future of the Esports Industry,” XLIVE, New York, August 2017 (Alicia Anderson)
  • Nixon Peabody Esports Intensive,” Nixon Peabody, Los Angeles, CA, June 2017 (Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan)

Publications

  • “Ask the Esports Lawyer—Part 2: Covering the Most Pressing Issues in Esports Law” Esports Insider, June 7, 2019 (Ben Kim, Irene Scholl-Tatevoysan)
  • Ask the Esports Lawyer—How will FTC loot box investigations impact esports influencers?Esports Insider, April 18, 2019 (Michael Strauss)
  • “Demand for Esports-Friendly Venues to Grow,” GlobeSt.com, February 22, 2018 (Rudy Salo and Noah Lebowitz)
  • “Protecting Intellectual Property Rights in the Billion-Dollar World of Virtual Gaming,” TechCrunch.com, January 23, 2018 (Brianna Howard)
  • “Here Are Some of the Legal Implications of Virtual Reality in Esports,” Forbes, October 24, 2017 (Brianna Howard)
  • “What’s in a Name? Choosing and Protecting Your Esports Brand,” Medium.com, October 23, 2017 (Colleen Raimond)
  • “To Avoid Copyright Disaster, the Future of Game Streaming is Licensing,” VentureBeat, August 23, 2017 (Brianna Howard, Jessica Walker, Jason Kunze)
  • “Ten Legal Issues to Watch When it Comes to Esports,” Forbes, May 19, 2017 (Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan, Matt Morris, Chris Queenin, and Brianna Howard)
  • “Immigration in Esports: Do Gamers Count as Athletes?” Forbes, May 18, 2017 (Courtney New)

As esports take off, questions abound over players' rights of publicity

LegalTech News | November 21, 2019

Los Angeles Labor and Employment associate Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan talks about the increasing sophistication of esports player contracts, a trend fueled in part by game publishers and investors showing interest in more standardized pacts.

How the EU copyright directive affects esports live streams

Esports Insider | August 06, 2019

Intellectual Property associates Jason Kunze of Chicago and Jennette Psihoules of Washington DC participated in the latest edition of the regular feature “Ask the Esports Lawyers.”  In this edition, Jason and Jennette look at how the European Union copyright directive may impact esports.

E-sports practices get boost with teen's Fortnite win

LegalTech News (Law.com) | August 05, 2019

This article highlights Los Angeles Labor and Employment partner Ben Kim and associate Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan for leading the e-sports practice at Nixon Peabody, one of only a few such practices at large law firms.

Meet the Esports Insider Hall of Fame Class of 2019

Esports Insider | June 11, 2019

Nixon Peabody’s Los Angeles office hosted the second annual Esports Insider Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Monday night, strengthening the firm’s position as a top legal resource in this burgeoning industry.

Ask the Esports Lawyers – Answering the most important questions in our industry

Esports Insider | June 07, 2019

Los Angeles Labor and Employment partner Ben Kim and associate Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan discussed the most pressing legal issues in esports in this Q+A with Esports Insider.

Alum Ellie Altshuler is Ahead of the Curve

November 05, 2018

Los Angeles Corporate partner Ellie Altshuler is featured in this Loyola Law School article on the path she took to becoming the go-to lawyer for YouTube content creators and social media influencers seeking to expand their brand.

Top 40 under 40

Los Angeles Daily Journal | June 24, 2018

Los Angeles corporate partner Ellie Altshuler was named as one of the top 40 attorneys in California under the age of 40 by the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

Protecting Intellectual Property Rights in the Billion-Dollar World of Virtual Gaming

TechCrunch.com | January 23, 2018

Los Angeles commercial litigation associate Brianna Howard weighs in on new patent questions arising at the intersection of virtual reality and esports—two rapidly growing industries.

Click here for the TechCrunch virtual gaming article.

Here are some of the legal implications of virtual reality in esports

Forbes | October 23, 2017

Los Angles commercial litigation associate Brianna Howard is featured in this Q&A about the legal implications of incorporating virtual reality and other new technologies into the esports industry, specifically intellectual property rights.

What’s in a name? Choosing and protecting your esports brand

Medium.com | October 22, 2017

Rochester IP counseling and transactions associate Colleen Raimond authored this article about how esports players and teams can create and protect their brands.

To avoid copyright disaster, the future of game streaming is licensing

VentureBeat | August 22, 2017

Los Angeles commercial litigation associates Brianna Howard and Jessica Walker and Chicago IP litigation associate Jason Kunze contributed this article on how licensing agreements can protect online streaming platforms from copyright infringement in the gaming industry.

Ten legal issues to watch when it comes to eSports

Forbes | May 18, 2017

Associates Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan, Matt Morris, Chris Queenin and Brianna Howard co-authored this article about legal issues the booming eSports industry should consider.

Immigration in esports: Do gamers count as athletes?

Forbes | May 17, 2017

Boston labor and employment counsel Courtney New contributed this article about how the U.S. immigration system’s lack of a definition for “athlete” in the P-1 visa category presents challenges for the booming esports industry.

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