Trademarks & Copyrights



We help clients strategically grow their businesses and maintain their positions in the marketplace by developing, protecting and monetizing well-known and distinctive brands.

Our Approach

The growth of social media marketing and online business transactions has further motivated companies to safeguard their trademarks, register their works and defend their brands. Our attorneys utilize a forward-thinking approach, unique strategies and flexible budgets to represent established companies, early-stage companies, innovators and artists on a variety of trademark and copyright issues.

With first-hand experience working in business, our attorneys understand how to navigate the obstacles that inhibit successful brand management and global enforcement programs—even before launching a mark.

We provide counsel on issues involving advertising and promotions, right of publicity and domain names. With significant experience in proceedings under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP), we handle name acquisitions, online monitoring for unauthorized registrations, strategic portfolio assessments and recovery of domain names from infringers. We devise innovative methods for protecting, monitoring and enforcing our clients’ copyright-eligible work in the traditional and digital world.

Representative Experience

  • Represented 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. The matter settled. Stardock Systems, Inc. v. Paul Reiche III, et al. (N.D. Calif.)
  • 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. (S.D.N.Y.)
  • Manage the U.S. trademark portfolio of Alibaba Group, a large Chinese e-commerce company that provides consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer and business-to-business sales services via web portals.
  • Defended IDentrix, developer of security software used by TSA, against trademark infringement allegations involving “Identix” and “Identrix” registered marks. The case settled. MorphoTrust USA, LLC v. IDentrix, LLC et al. (D. Mass.)
  • Represent Gameloft, a mobile game developer, in a suit alleging copyright infringement and other claims relating to the development of digital cars used in mobile video games. Glass Egg Digital Media v. Gameloft, Inc. et al. (N.D. Calif.)
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of pizza franchisor Little Caesar Enterprises in a copyright and trademark infringement dispute. We also successfully represented Little Caesar on appeal affirming the district court’s decision. Pinnacle Pizza Co. v. Little Caesar Enterprises (D.S.D. and 8th Circuit)
  • Represented Marc Brown, creator of the “Arthur” literary and television character, in numerous trademark infringement actions. Obtained injunction against infringer. Brown v. It’s Entertainment, Inc. (E.D.N.Y.)
  • Represented Remrylie Licensing, a retailer of clothing, footwear, etc. in a copyright infringement case involving photographs of Tupac Shakur. The case was settled. Dana Ruth Lixenburg v. Bioworld Merchandising Inc., et al. (C.D. Calif.)
  • Represented Woolich Racing, which makes products to meet the needs of road, circuit racing, land speed racing and drag racing, in a copyright infringement action involving software for optimizing engine control unit computers for racing. The case settled. Techmark Software Pty Ltd TA Woolich Racing v. FT ECU Inc. (C.D. Calif.)
  • Successfully employed a First Amendment defense to secure a victory on behalf of Ironclad Games and Stardock Entertainment in a trademark infringement matter related to the “Rebellion” mark. Rebellion Developments Limited et al. v. Stardock Entertainment, Inc., et al. (E.D. Mich.)

'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.

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.

Brunetti case attempts to further determine “unprotected speech”

Rochester Business Journal | July 26, 2019

This column by Rochester Corporate partner Jeremy Wolk analyzes a recent Supreme Court decision on whether individuals have a First Amendment right to register federal trademarks of “obscene” words and phrases. The column is based on an NP Alert written by Intellectual Property partners Jeff Costellia, Jason Kravitz and Deanna Kunze, and associate Anthony Duncan.

How Franchising and Licensing Can Be Avenues to Expand Your Fitness Business

Club Industry | October 31, 2018

In the second part of this two-part column, Nixon Peabody attorneys Kristin Jamberdino, Keri McWilliams, and Tarae Howell discuss potential avenues of expansion for fitness studios, including licensing and franchising. Click here to read Part Two.

High court to address rift on bankrupt brands' trademarks

Law360 | October 26, 2018

Boston Financial Restructuring and Bankruptcy partner Lee Harrington is quoted in this article about his representation of Tempnology in a trademark licensing case that was just taken up by the Supreme Court.

How to expand your fitness business through brand management and careful investment

Club Industry | October 23, 2018

New York City Complex Commercial Disputes partner Kristin Jamberdino; Washington, DC, Corporate partner Keri McWilliams; and Boston Complex Commercial Disputes associate Tarae Howell co-wrote a two-part contributed article advising boutique fitness entrepreneurs on best practices for expanding their brands.

How to expand your fitness business through brand management and careful investment

Club Industry | October 22, 2018

New York City Complex Commercial Disputes partner Kristin Jamberdino, Washington DC Corporate partner Keri McWilliams and Boston Complex Commercial Disputes associate Tarae Howell co-wrote a two-part contributed article advising boutique fitness entrepreneurs on best practices for expanding their brands. Click here to read Part One.

Brand battles

Law360 | September 20, 2018

Nixon Peabody is mentioned in this roundup of new action at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board for our representation of Alibaba in a trademark dispute with Discovery Inc., owner of the Discovery Channel.

21st-century influencer

Los Angeles Business Journal | July 29, 2018

Los Angeles Corporate partner Ellie Altshuler is quoted in this article for her outlook on challenges surrounding content ownership as the relationship between brands and social media influencers evolves.

Power Lawyers: 11 Top Music Attorneys for John Legend, BTS and More

The Hollywood Reporter | April 04, 2018

Los Angeles IP counseling and transactions partner Julian Petty, whose clients include Childish Gambino and the estate of Notorious B.I.G., has been named a Top Music Attorney in the Power Lawyers issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

DQ Sues W.B. Mason over Use of “Blizzard”

Boston Herald | March 17, 2018

In the following coverage, Boston IP litigation partner Jason Kravitz is mentioned as lead attorney for W.B. Mason in its countersuit against Dairy Queen, about a trademark case over the use of the term “Blizzard.” “We obviously don’t think we’re in the wrong, at all,” Kravitz said. “These are fundamentally different business lines—fundamentally different channels of trade. We don’t think any reasonable person is ever going to confuse a bottle of water with W.B. Mason on the label and a Dairy Queen frozen dessert.”

Office Supplier Fires Back at Dairy Queen in Trademark Spat

Courhouse News Service | March 15, 2018

In the following coverage, Boston IP litigation partner Jason Kravitz is mentioned as lead attorney for W.B. Mason in its countersuit against Dairy Queen, about a trademark case over the use of the term “Blizzard.” “We obviously don’t think we’re in the wrong, at all,” Kravitz said. “These are fundamentally different business lines—fundamentally different channels of trade. We don’t think any reasonable person is ever going to confuse a bottle of water with W.B. Mason on the label and a Dairy Queen frozen dessert.”

WB Mason Strikes Back Against Dairy Queen 'Blizzard' Suit

Law360 | March 14, 2018

In the following coverage, Boston partners Jason Kravitz and Gina McCreadie, senior counsel Deborah Thaxter, and associate Leslie Hartford are mentioned for representing W.B. Mason in a trademark infringement case against Dairy Queen over the use of the word “blizzard.”

Buffett's Dairy Queen sues W.B. Mason over 'Blizzard'

Law360 | March 14, 2018

In the following coverage, Boston partners Jason Kravitz and Gina McCreadie, senior counsel Deborah Thaxter, and associate Leslie Hartford are mentioned for representing W.B. Mason in a trademark infringement case against Dairy Queen over the use of the word “blizzard.”

Daily Dicta: Nixon Peabody’s B.I.G. Win

AmLaw Daily | March 11, 2018

Los Angeles IP counseling and transactions partners Staci Riordan and Julian Petty successfully defended the estate of rapper Notorious B.I.G. in a copyright suit. Riordan is quoted in this article, saying the ruling “is sure to become an influential decision on music copyright infringement cases.”

Copyright Lawsuit Against Rita Ora, Notorious B.I.G. Estate Dismissed

Billboard | March 08, 2018

Los Angeles IP counseling and transactions partners Staci Riordan and Julian Petty are quoted for their representation of the estate of rapper Notorious B.I.G. in the successful defense of a copyright suit filed by a 1960s revolutionary poet.

Notorious B.I.G. Shakes Copyright Row Over 'Party' Song

Law360 | March 08, 2018

Los Angeles IP counseling and transactions partners Staci Riordan and Julian Petty are mentioned in this article on NP’s win representing the estate of rapper Notorious B.I.G. A judge ruled the rapper’s use of a phrase from a 1960s poem was permissible under copyright law because it was “transformative.”

8 things every artist should know before signing a deal

Pigeons & Planes | October 02, 2017

Los Angeles IP counseling and transactions of counsel Carron Mitchell is quoted in this roundup article of advice for artists to consider before signing a deal with a music label.

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.

The Wild West of Record Deals: With Industry in Flux, Labels and Artists Shake Things Up

Billboard | June 21, 2017

Los Angeles IP counseling and transactions partner Julian Petty is quoted in this article on the changing economics of the music industry and the recent surge in new signings. Click here to read the full article.

Jay-Z brings new Sprint-endorsed album '4:44' to Tidal and reignites debate over exclusivity

The Los Angeles Times | June 18, 2017

Los Angeles IP counseling and transactions partner Julian Petty is quoted in this article about rapper Jay-Z’s newest album that will be released exclusively through the streaming service Tidal, which he co-owns. Click here to read the full article.

10 Questions: For rap and hip-hop artists, LA lawyer Julian Petty represents

ABA Journal | March 31, 2017

This Q&A with Los Angeles IP counseling and transactions partner Julian Petty highlights his notable clients, his work and how he got a start in entertainment law. Click here to read the full article.

5 keys to high court’s cheerleader uniform ruling

Law360 | March 21, 2017

Los Angeles IP counseling and transactions partner and fashion practice leader Staci Riordan is quoted in this article about the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent 6-2 decision regarding copyright law and decorative elements on cheerleading uniforms.

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