Our firm has comprehensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of litigation involving the sports industry. We have a remarkable track record in state and federal court jury and non-jury trials and appeals, as well as before various domestic and international arbitration tribunals and government agencies. Although proud of our litigation record, we also understand the importance of exploring alternatives to litigation, and we have achieved outstanding levels of success in the earliest phases of legal disputes.
Our lawyers are extraordinarily well-versed in the complex marketing and branding issues faced by companies in the sports entertainment industry. Our breadth of practice is evident in the scope and volume of cases we litigate. Along with the dozens of federal and state court cases presently being litigated or negotiated, we are actively protecting and policing our clients’ intellectual property rights in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
We are also conscious of the uniquely public nature of much sports-related litigation. These disputes are often high-profile and require quick and decisive action. At the same time, they require a sensitivity to the public images of sports figures, teams and enterprises. From fan-based websites to cyber-squatters, from First Amendment issues to seizure orders for counterfeit merchandise, we know from decades of experience that sports trademarks attract a great deal of public interest, some of it unwelcome. We therefore work closely with our clients on public relations issues associated with litigation.
Robert Raskopf, a partner in our New York office, has four decades of trial and appellate experience in sports, media, marketing, advertising and entertainment-related matters. For over twenty years, Mr. Raskopf has served as outside intellectual property litigation counsel to the NFL and its member clubs, and many of the decisions he has obtained for the NFL are widely recognized as being among the farthest reaching in sports marketing law. Some examples are 1) defeating a claim in a copyright infringement jury trial seeking a percentage of all NFL revenues derived from the use of the inaugural helmet logo of the Baltimore Ravens; 2) defeating a claim in a trade secrets and trademark jury trial for the Green Bay Packers that NFL team colors and numerals could be used by NFL players in a venture without permission of their employers; and 3) maintaining federal trademark registrations for the Washington Redskins against cancellation claims by Native American individuals. In the sports and marketing fields, Mr. Raskopf has also represented Major League Baseball Players Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard, FIFA, the National Hockey League, ESPN, Major League Soccer, Arsenal Football Club, the Mexican National Football Team, the Women’s United Soccer Association, Score/Pinnacle, The National Sports Daily, Playoff/Donruss Trading Cards, the United States Soccer Foundation, Upper Deck, and Clinch Gear.
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