Advertising, Media and Entertainment Practice

Online platforms, social media, and influencer marketing have revolutionized the way businesses connect with consumers. With nearly limitless opportunities to reach consumers online or virtually, brands must be agile and responsive to trends, while ensuring they adhere to applicable laws and regulations.   

Knobbe Martens helps brands navigate the evolving world of advertising and media. We have vast experience assisting clients with launching, enforcing, and defending their advertising and media.

We can guide you in developing advertising and media that leverage the transformative power of digital channels while ensuring compliance with legal requirements and best practices. 

Our team counsels companies in a wide variety of industries, including health and fitness, fashion, consumer products, entertainment, food and beverage, e-commerce, medical, pharmaceutical, finance, and transportation.

We are at the forefront of legal developments in the advertising, media and entertainment fields and advise on their implications for your business. Our team provides proactive advice to help you adapt and minimize risk.  We counsel our clients on compliance with consumer protection laws, industry guidelines and regulations, advertising and unfair competition laws, claim substantiation, intellectual property, rights of publicity, influencer agreements, marketing and social media guidelines and data privacy issues. 

We conduct thorough reviews of marketing guidelines, marketing materials, including packaging, labels, and promotional campaigns, sweepstakes, contests, and promotions to ensure compliance with advertising laws. We also review pre-launch advertising, influencer agreements, collaboration agreements, marketing campaigns, and promotions.

Advertising & Media Litigation Experience

Whether before the federal courts, state courts or before administrative agencies like the NAD, FTC and FDA, our litigation teams can assist you in asserting claims against others related to mislabeling, false advertising, and greenwashing, ensuring that your rivals’ messaging aligns with legal requirements and regulations, and comports with fair advertising law.

On the defensive side, if mislabeling or false advertising claims are asserted against you, our team defends clients in such litigation, both in state and federal courts, as well as in arbitration proceedings and proceedings before regulatory agencies.

Our Services Include:

Affiliate and influencer agreements

Collaboration agreements

Developing branding, marketing, and social media guidelines

Promotions, sweepstakes, and contests

Social media advertising and campaigns

Advertising litigation and FTC and FDA actions

AI issues

Athlete and celebrity marketing agreements

Mobile and direct marketing review

Risk analysis and strategy for advertising campaigns

Publicity rights and endorsement contracts

Self-regulatory organization actions such as the NAD

Data privacy compliance

Due diligence reviews

Representative Engagements

4 A.D. Limited

A Band Apart (Quentin Tarantino)

Angry Little Girls, Inc.

Beggars Group Limited

The Behemoth (video games)

California Thoroughbred Racing

Clear Choice Entertainment, Inc.

Crackit Productions Limited

Dana Point Concours d’Elegance

Digital Sports Video, Inc.

Dramatico Entertainment Limited

Fandango

Freedom Communications

The Game Show Network

Golden West Casino

High Noon Productions

Hope Enterprises, Inc. (Bob Hope)

ITV Studios/Granada Media

Karma Foundation

Kate Spade

Ken Block / Hoonigan

Marine Layer Productions

MGA Films, Inc.

Maplegate Media, Inc.

Nevada Palace Hotel & Casino

Orange County Great Park

Pluto.TV

Quiksilver, Inc.

The Robb Report

Suzanne Somers

TMS Entertainment, Ltd.

Vootage

Wave Loch (wave and water amusement rides)

XL Recordings Limited

Successes

Kabushiki Kaisha MegaHouse v. Anjar Co. LLC

Knobbe Martens successfully represented MegaHouse Corp., a Japanese toy company and subsidiary of Bandai Co., Ltd., in trademark and copyright litigation regarding the famous game Othello®. As a result, MegaHouse is now the undisputed owner and licensor of the Othello® trademark and related intellectual property. MegaHouse and its predecessors had been involved in disputes regarding the intellectual property rights in Othello® for more than a decade. The firm filed a federal lawsuit in the Central District of California, and defeated the defendants’ motion to dismiss. The litigation was eventually resolved through settlement, and MegaHouse was very pleased with the resolution. The firm’s efforts helped to clarify the rights and obligations of Othello® licensees and distributors throughout the world and bring certainty to Othello® enthusiasts in time for the 2015 World Othello Championship in Cambridge, U.K.

Freeplay Music, LLC v. Makita USA, Inc.

Defended Makita in a copyright infringement action relating to the use of background music in internet videos. Freeplay promoted music on its website as “free” and encouraged downloading without asking for payment or agreement to any terms of use. Freeplay then sought large statutory damages against users who used the music in certain ways. The firm successfully challenged the sufficiency of the pleadings and raised various jurisdictional issues that eventually resulted in a favorable settlement for our client.

Gravel Farms Racing, LLC and Ken Block v. Mad Media LLC

Successfully represented Ken Block asserting federal and state law trademark and copyright infringement claims relating to www.gymkhana.com, and arising out of Mad Media LLC’s claim to have acquired copyright ownership over videos and pictures of high performance driving demonstrations that defendants were hired to record. Obtained favorable early stage settlement following mediation that included acquiring clear title to all disputed copyrights and domain names.

Stephenson v. Game Show Network LLC

We represented Game Show network in convincing the Federal Circuit to affirm the Patent Trial and Appeal Board's decision that a computerized gaming patent owned by John Stephenson, allegedly a competitor of Game Show Network, is invalid. In 2011, Stephenson, the founder of Multimedia Games Inc., sued GSN for infringement of a patent directed to computer gaming tournaments. GSN filed an IPR petition in 2013, and the litigation was stayed pending the Board’s review of the asserted patent. In its final written decision, the Board found that all 19 claims of Stephenson’s patent were unpatentable. The Knobbe Martens team convinced the Board that all of the patent's claims were anticipated or obvious in view of a prior art patent application.

Cosmo Lyles Client

Cosmos Lyles was recognized by Popular Science magazine in their 2010 Invention Awards. Mr. Lyles invented a guitar bridge that incorporates a series of springs and levers to keep the strings of a guitar constantly in tune without having to adjust the guitar pegs. Slash (Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist) and Rob Zombie’s lead guitarist John 5 are using the new bridge and rave about it. The bridge is sold under the EVERTUNE mark. The firm obtained patent protection for the bridge, which will enable musicians worldwide to spend more time playing and less time tuning their instruments.

Rhodes v. Rhodes Music Corp.

We represented the defendant in a right of publicity case involving the use of the name "Rhodes" for musical instruments. We took over the case on appeal and successfully obtained reversal of summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff.

International Online Studio and Production Company (Confidential Client)

Manage clearance and prosecution of trademark applications and handle enforcement issues relating to studio assets. Also assists the company with respect to its licensing programs related to its entertainment properties.

Monster Energy

Engaged in numerous litigation and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board matters, enforcing Monster Energy’s trademark, and trade dress rights in various industries, including the entertainment industry and related merchandising.

National Footwear Brand (Confidential Client)

Assisted national footwear brand in securing endorsement deal for NBA players.

Television Production Company (Confidential Client)

Assisted a television production company with amicably resolving trademark dispute relating to the title of a reality series

Television Studio (Confidential Client)

Assisted a television studio with creating and establishing a licensing program for products based on a popular television series.

Basketball Player (Confidential Client)

Assisted famous basketball player with licensing of rights of publicity and endorsement to major national fast-food chain.

Surfer (Confidential Client)

Assisted famous surfer with licensing of rights of publicity to major apparel brand.

In the Reuters Legal article “Drake and the Emergence of AI in Creative Expression,” associate Matt Pham and partner Baraa Kahf analyze the legal questions raised by rapper Drake’s use of AI-generated...
Knobbe Martens partner and advertising & media practice co-chair Jonathan Hyman and associate Nickolas Taylor have authored the article “Social Media and the Law—A Warning for Brands and Content...
In the World Trademark Review article “Navigating Deepfake Risks: Age Old Problems, Brand New Tech,” Jonathan Hyman, co-chair of the firm’s advertising, media and entertainment practice group, shared...