Jonathan Steinsapir is a partner with the firm. He is a trial lawyer who has successfully tried cases before juries, judges, and arbitrators; he is an accomplished appellate advocate who has argued about a dozen appeals before the Ninth Circuit, the Eleventh Circuit, and the California Court of Appeal in recent years; and he is a counselor to clients hoping to avoid litigation altogether. His practice focuses on complex litigation and client counseling in entertainment, music, and software matters, along with matters in most other commercial sectors. He has particular expertise in intellectual property issues, having handled disputes in all forms, from license negotiations to litigating all stages of dozens of copyright, patent, and trademark cases throughout the country. He also counsels clients on employment related issues and represents both employees and employers in high stakes trade secret, non-compete and discrimination matters. He also has extensive experience litigating probate issues in both probate and other courts, particularly when they intersect with intellectual property matters.
Mr. Steinsapir clerked for the Hon. Cynthia Holcomb Hall of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2002-03. The following term, he clerked for the Hon. Margaret M. Morrow of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Mr. Steinsapir graduated from UCLA School of Law in 2002 and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He graduated with Honors from UCSD in 1998, and spent a year studying politics in Israel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
From August through December 2001, Mr. Steinsapir worked in the Pentagon for the Office of the General Counsel to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. A month after the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon, he traveled to Uzbekistan as the Pentagon’s only on-site legal advisor during the negotiation and signing of an executive agreement between the United States and Uzbekistan mandating the cleanup of a notorious, former Soviet biological weapons testing site in the Aral Sea.
Recognized for his expertise in intellectual property and related issues, Mr. Steinsapir is frequently asked to comment on pending matters of interest by various publications, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Playboy, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, and The Daily Journal. From 2014 forward, Mr. Steinsapir has been named every year by his peers as a “Super Lawyer” in Intellectual Property Litigation in Southern California Super Lawyers Magazine.
Music and Copyright Matters: Mr. Steinsapir has counseled clients and litigated matters concerning copyright issues in the motion picture and music industries, the clothing and apparel industry, the commercial printing industry, the jewelry industry, and various other industries.
- Represented the Estate of Michael Jackson in a jury trial defending claims by producer Quincy Jones that the Estate had underpaid royalties to Jones after Jackson’s tragic death in 2009. Although Jones asked a jury to award him over $30 million, the jury rejected almost all of his claims and Jones was eventually awarded only $2.6 million. Notably, this amount was less than what Estate witnesses had testified to the jury that the Estate had been prepared to pay Jones before trial.
- Steinsapir has expertise in copyright termination issues and has been consulted confidentially on several Copyright Termination matters, by both studios and record companies seeking to protect their copyrights, on the one hand, and by authors, musicians and other content creators seeking to retake their copyrights, on the other.
- Lead counsel for Mark Frost, the award-winning author, screen writer and co-creator of Twin Peaks, in a series of actions centered around allegations that Mr. Frost breached a contract to produce a motion picture based on his book, The Match: The Day The Game of Golf Changed Forever. Steinsapir argued appeals in the case in both the Ninth Circuit and the California Court of Appeal, obtaining a complete victory for Mr. Frost with the courts addressing an issue of first impression regarding the scope of the “signed writing” requirement of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 204(a). MVP Entertainment, Inc. v. Frost, 210 Cal. App. 4th 1333 (2012).
- Represented the pay television provider Starz concerning numerous copyright and other intellectual property issues along with issues arising under its output and licensing agreements. Among several other litigations, Mr. Steinsapir represented Starz in a 2013 jury trial in Colorado against DISH Network, where the case settled midway through trial on favorable terms for both parties.
Trademark and Unfair Competition Matters: Mr. Steinsapir has extensive experience litigating trademark, trade dress, false advertising and unfair competition matters in state and federal courts.
- Represented the Estate of Michael Jackson in litigation regarding trademark infringement and dilution of Jackson’s famous “King of Pop” trademark and was able to secure the KingOfPop.com domain name for the Estate.
- Successfully represented the Kardashian Sisters in claims that they contributed to alleged trademark infringement by a makeup brand they endorsed, arguing an appeal that affirmed a summary judgment in their favor. Kroma Makeup EU v. Boldface Licensing & Branding, 920 F.3d 704 (11th Cir. 2019).
- Successfully obtained a preliminary injunction in the Kardashian Sisters’ favor against infringement of their trademarks in connection with another makeup line and successfully argued the appeal affirming the injunction. 2Die4Kourt v. Hillair Capital Management, 692 Fed.Appx. 366 (9th Cir. 2017). Later, he secured a final judgment of roughly $12 million for the Kardashians in related proceedings.
- Lead counsel, along with partner Alan Kossoff, to the successor to the Estate of Marilyn Monroe in a licensing dispute with a former licensee seeking roughly $7 million in damages after the Estate terminated its trademark license agreement. After a one-week arbitration in Chicago, the three-arbitrator panel unanimously decided in the Estate’s favor, awarded the Claimant nothing, and awarded the Estate roughly $300,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.
Patent Matters: Mr. Steinsapir represents patentees and accused infringers in patent cases. He has argued dispositive motions and Markman issues in federal courts in California, Texas, Nevada, and Connecticut.
- Represented the Estate of Michael Jackson in several cases involving claims that holographic images of Michael Jackson infringe certain patents. On May 16, 2014, after being given less than 14 hours’ notice, Mr. Steinsapir argued and defeated an application for an injunction in federal court to enjoin performance of a “virtual” Michael Jackson performance at the May 18, 2014 Billboard Music Awards. The cases eventually all settled on favorable terms for the Estate.
- Represented Roland Corporation and affiliates in numerous patent cases throughout the country. In one case, Mr. Steinsapir represented Roland against claims that its keyboards infringed two patents. After the case was transferred from the Eastern District of Texas to the Central District of California, it was stayed pending an ex parte reexamination where the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office cancelled all claims in both patents-in-suit. As part of a comprehensive settlement negotiated by Mr. Steinsapir, plaintiff agreed to assign another related patent to Roland in exchange for the dismissal of Roland’s counterclaims.
- Represented Kretek International in a case where a company alleged that Kretek’s vaping products infringed its patent. The case settled on favorable terms.
Appellate: In the last few years, Mr. Steinsapir has handled numerous appellate matters, arguing almost a dozen appeals in the U.S. Courts of Appeals (in the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits) and in the California Court of Appeal. He has also worked on matters in the U.S. Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court and other federal Courts of Appeals. Among others, all of the following appeals were argued by Mr. Steinsapir: Kroma Makeup EU v. Boldface Licensing & Branding, 920 F.3d 704 (11th Cir. 2019) (affirming summary judgment in clients’ favor); 2Die4Kourt v. Hillair Capital Management, 692 Fed.Appx. 366 (9th Cir. 2017) (affirming preliminary injunction in clients’ favor); Kroma Makeup EU v. Boldface Licensing & Branding, 845 F.3d 1351 (11th Cir. 2017) (addressing issue of first impression regarding equitable estoppel on motion to compel arbitration); Jaycee Dugard v. United States, 835 F.3d 915 (9th Cir. 2016) (argued kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard’s claims against the Federal Government); Ross v. O’Neal, 525 Fed. Appx. 600 (9th Cir. 2013) (holding that California statute was unconstitutional as applied to firm client, Shaquille O’Neal); MVP Entertainment, Inc. v. Frost, 210 Cal. App. 4th 1333 (2012) (obtaining affirmance of trial court’s ruling in client’s favor); Frost v. Frederick, 466 Fed. Appx. 604 (9th Cir. 2012) (obtaining reversal of trial court’s ruling against client).
Probate and Related Issues
- With Howard Weitzman, Mr. Steinsapir has represented the Estate of Michael Jackson for over ten years, counseling it on intellectual property and other issues, and representing it in dozens of cases and disputes in the state and federal courts of California, New York, and Nevada. As a result of his representation, Mr. Steinsapir also has extensive experience in probate litigation and the intersection of probate litigation and “ordinary” civil litigation, including 850 petitions, claims filing requirements, late claim petitions, and the one-year post-death statute of limitations.
- UCSD, 1998, B.A. with honors, in Political Science and minors in both Economics and Middle Eastern Studies
- UCLA School of Law, 2002, J.D., Order of the Coif