Larry Iser is the Managing Partner of KWIKA. He practices in the areas of intellectual property, entertainment, contracts and licensing, real estate, commercial and employment litigation, including the defense of nationwide class action lawsuits. Larry handles complex, high-profile matters around the country for leading companies including Mattel, SeaWorld, Roland and Kinetic Content, and has earned a national reputation for resolving disputes in the music industry, negotiating and litigating on behalf of iconic artists and entities recently including Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills & Nash, David Byrne, Richard Carpenter, Apple Music, Spotify, Warner/Chappell and StubHub.
Larry is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, listed in Chambers USA, the preeminent guide to the legal profession, and since 2007 in U.S. News & World Report’s “The Best Lawyers in America (film, television and music). Larry was recognized as a “Litigation Star” in the 2021 issue of Benchmark Litigation, a Billboard “Top Music Industry Lawyer” in 2017 and, in 2016, a “Lawyer of the Year – Entertainment Law” by Best Lawyers in America. That same year, The National Law Journal named Larry an “Intellectual Property Trailblazer,” and the Daily Journal named him to its “Top 75 Intellectual Property Litigators in California.” Other accolades include being named a “Power Lawyer” by The Hollywood Reporter, making Variety’s inaugural “Honor Roll: Attorneys Who Helped Changed the Face of Entertainment,” and the Los Angeles Business Journal listing Larry in “Who’s Who in L.A. Law.” Larry’s exploits in the music business were profiled in the 2018 Southern California Super Lawyers magazine, in which Larry also was ranked one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Southern California.
Larry teaches intellectual property and rights clearance issues to aspiring content producers at the University of Southern California (Stark Program).
Intellectual Property: Larry counsels clients and litigates on their behalf at the intersection of intellectual property and content creation, including copyrights and trademarks; patents; unfair competition; the right of publicity; defamation; clearances and fair-use analysis for films, plays, music and products; and the licensing of intellectual property rights.
Recent Representative Matters in Intellectual Property:
- Larry counsels and litigates on behalf of Mattel, Inc. in a variety of intellectual property matters, including providing clearances for the Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, American Girl®, Monster High®, Ever After High® and Boomco® brands;
- Larry and his team recently settled a lawsuit arising from a cross-licensing dispute concerning monster trucks;
- Larry and his team recently obtained dismissal of idea submission claims brought by a toy inventor;
- Larry and his team recently obtained summary judgment against a writer who claimed to own (and sought to recapture) a copyright interest in Mattel’s Masters of the Universe franchise, thereby paving the way for the development of a major motion picture by Sony.
- Larry handled trademark opposition proceedings concerning the Motown Metal line of Hot Wheels® cars.
- Larry counsels and litigates on behalf of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, which operates 11 U.S. theme parks, including SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, on a number of intellectual property issues, recently including the defense of a complex trademark infringement lawsuit concerning SeaWorld’s Aquatica water parks. After defeating the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction, and filing a motion for summary judgment, the case was settled at mediation, and SeaWorld now owns the registered trademark AQUATICA and the URL aquatica.com.
- Larry defended actor Jason Patric in an injunction proceeding seeking to bar Mr. Patric from using his son’s name in connection with Patric’s parental alienation support group, “Stand Up For Gus.” Relying on the First Amendment, Mr. Iser persuaded the Court to deny the requested injunction.
- Larry successfully represented an Internet marketing company against claims by Intel Corp. that the marketing company was infringing Intel’s trademarks.
- Larry has long served as United States copyright counsel for Roland Corporation. Larry leads a KWIKA team handling a wide variety of intellectual property issues, recently assisting Roland in responding to an offshore company that created phony Roland websites.
- Larry and his KWIKA colleagues represented Roland DGA Corporation, the world’s leader in integrated printer/cutters for sign-making in the durable graphics market, in complex patent litigation pending in the District of Connecticut concerning a patent for print/cut technology for sign-making.
- Larry represented Roland in a patent infringement action in the patent “rocket docket” of the Eastern District of Texas, securing a rare victory on a motion to transfer for inconvenient forum in a case concerning LCD screen technology.
- Larry represented Roland defending claims that Roland’s Rhythm Coach® line of drum practice pads infringed a patent for cadence-providing drum practice technology.
Music Business: Larry has earned a national reputation for his work in the music business concerning contracts, auditing, digital distribution, licensing and intellectual property issues. During his career, Larry has represented iconic artists including The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills & Nash, David Byrne, Richard Carpenter, The Ira Gershwin Music Trust, The Doors, The Rick James Estate, The Janis Joplin Estate, The M.C. Hammer Bankruptcy Estate, The Wiggles, Intocable, and Branford Marsalis, as well as companies including Roland, Apple Music, Spotify, Warner/Chappell, eBay/StubHub, Yahoo!, Univision Music, Spectrasonics, Del Records, Third Side Music, Reach Music Publishing, Maverick Records, Fat Possum Records and ICM Partners.
Recent Representative Matters in the Music Business:
- Larry and his team represent producers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen, and Justin “Yves” Rothman in litigation with recording artist Lizzo over the authorship of the hit song “Truth Hurts.”
- Larry and his team represent music publisher Third Side Music with respect to various infringements of the Sofi Tukker hit song “Best Friend.”
- Larry and his team represent Reach Music Publishing in the United States District Court against claims by William Drayton aka Flavor Flav for breach of contract and copyright infringement arising out of the exploitation of the publishing catalog of the groundbreaking hip hop group Public Enemy.
- Larry represented several iconic artists, including Jackson Browne, Crosby Stills & Nash and Richard Carpenter in successfully resolving audit claims against their respective record companies, including claims that the record companies failed to properly account for digital streaming and licensing income.
- Larry represented Warner/Chappell Music Publishing defending claims brought by the heirs of Mack David, the lyricist who wrote the English lyrics to the French song La Vie En Rose in 1950 and assigned his rights to Warner/Chappell’s predecessor. David’s heirs claimed that Warner/Chappell and its predecessors failed to pay music publishing royalties dating back to 1950. After Larry and his team filed motions for summary judgment, the matter was settled.
- Larry represented singer/songwriter Jackson Browne in his groundbreaking lawsuit alleging that Republican candidate for President John McCain, the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Republican Party infringed Mr. Browne’s copyright and trademark rights and violated Mr. Browne’s right of publicity by including Mr. Browne’s famous recording “Running On Empty” in a 2008 campaign commercial. After defeating the defendants’ various motions to dismiss the suit, the case was settled on confidential financial terms and a public apology from the defendants, accompanied by a pledge “to respect and uphold the rights of artists and to obtain permissions and/or licenses for copyrighted works where appropriate.”
- Larry represented singer/songwriter David Byrne in a lawsuit against then-Florida Governor Charlie Crist arising out of the unauthorized use of Mr. Byrne’s song “Road To Nowhere” in a 2010 commercial for Crist’s campaign for U.S. Senate. The case was resolved by a confidential financial settlement, as well as a filmed public apology broadcast on YouTube.
- Larry represented eBay unit StubHub against claims brought by its competitor, Ticketmaster, that StubHub was interfering with Ticketmaster’s exclusive agreements with concert venues.
- Larry represented a prominent ticket broker against Ticketmaster for various claims of the broker, who, acting as a consultant, guided Ticketmaster’s entry into the secondary ticketing business.
- Larry represented an individual accused by Ticketmaster of using “bots” to secure concert tickets.
- Larry represented Roland in a case of first impression that established the validity of Roland’s copyrights in the digital sound recordings contained in Roland’s musical instruments.
- Larry represented the Ira Gershwin Music Trust in complex copyright litigation in the Southern District of New York arising from the administration of the Trust’s music publishing interests outside the United States.
Motion Pictures and Television: Larry has advised and litigated cases on behalf of actors, directors, producers, distributors, personal managers, talent agents, television networks and motion picture studios. Mr. Iser routinely advises his clients on matters concerning contracts, copyright, fair-use, clearances, right of publicity, defamation, and relationships with talent agents and personal managers.
Recent Representative Matters in Motion Pictures and Television:
- Larry and a KWIKA team currently represent Mattel against claims by a television financier that the ABC Television series The Toy Box was developed by Mattel based on ideas submitted by the financier.
Class Action Defense: Larry and his team have substantial experience defending class action lawsuits in both state and federal court.
Recent Representative Class Action Matters:
- Larry and his team obtained dismissal of a putative class action against SeaWorld relating to the Covid-19 pandemic filed in federal court in San Diego. The lead plaintiff, who had purchased annual passes for SeaWorld San Diego by way of interest-free monthly payments, claimed that SeaWorld’s collection of the monthly payments following the temporary closure of the park violated California’s consumer protection laws. The entire case was dismissed in response to SeaWorld’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit for failure to state a claim.
- Larry and his team currently represent SeaWorld in four nationwide class action lawsuits fueled by activists alleging that SeaWorld has engaged in false and misleading sales practices and advertising regarding the well-being of the killer whales at SeaWorld’s parks in San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando. Three of the lawsuits have been dismissed and are on appeal. The fourth case, originally filed in California state court, was removed by SeaWorld to federal court, where it is currently pending.
- Larry successfully represented a winery against a class action lawsuit concerning underlying water rights.
Real Estate: Mr. Iser has long served as outside litigation counsel for real estate developer The Watt Companies. On behalf of Watt and other real estate clients, he has advised and litigated disputes involving breach of contract, fraud, specific performance, brokers’ commissions, landlord-tenant, easements, tree cutting and other neighbor disputes, construction defects, and partnership disputes.
Recent Representative Matters in Real Estate:
- Larry and his team represented longtime client The Watt Companies against a commercial tenant who filed multiple lawsuits in an unsuccessful effort to terminate various leases and for damages.
- Larry successfully defended a popular public golf course against a landlord’s efforts to close the golf course in order to build condominiums.
Employment: Larry represents both executives and employers in employment disputes, including claims for breach of employment contracts, wrongful termination, employment discrimination, hostile work environment and sexual harassment, and workplace safety and injury.
Recent Representative Matters in Employment:
- Larry was lead trial counsel in the successful defense of four highly publicized citations issued against SeaWorld San Diego by Cal/OSHA falsely alleging that SeaWorld failed to effectively identify and evaluate hazards to its employees arising from certain training interactions with SeaWorld’s killer whales.
- Larry represents a studio executive prosecuting claims for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, discrimination based on sexual orientation, hostile work environment, breach of contract and fraud.
- Larry represented a reality television production company defending claims by a senior executive that the company failed to honor an agreement to share in the proceeds from the sale of the production company.
- Larry has counseled and/or litigated on behalf of a number of clients from the motion picture, television and music industries concerning claims of sexual harassment.
- Larry successfully represented Mattel against a financial “whistleblowing” charge brought by a former Senior Vice President.
Other Commercial Disputes: Larry regularly represents clients in commercial disputes involving breach of contract, licensing, insurance coverage, bad faith and subrogation, franchising, partnership disputes and dissolution, and commercial torts. Larry’s clients have included manufacturers, importers, lending institutions, law firms, accounting firms, oil and gas companies, airlines, and numerous entrepreneurially oriented companies.
Recent Representative Commercial Matters:
- Larry counsels and litigates on behalf of Mattel with respect to a variety of licensing issues across Mattel’s brands. Larry and his KWIKA team recently represented Mattel in the lengthy jury trial of a complex licensing dispute, obtaining a defense jury verdict against board game designer who alleged that Mattel breached a license agreement for the distribution of the game Outburst! After successfully defending the jury verdict on appeal, Mattel was awarded (and collected) 100% of its attorneys’ fees and costs.
- Larry represented Saban Brands in resolving disputes with Bandai, the master toy licensee for Saban’s famous brand the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and in transitioning the master toy license from Bandai to Habsro.
- Larry successfully prosecuted claims of breach of contract and bad faith insurance practices against a leading title insurance company.
Honors & Awards
- Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America (since 2017)
- Listed in Chambers USA, the world’s leading guide to the legal profession (since 2017)
- Named 2021 “Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation;
- Named “Top Music Industry Lawyer,” Billboard (2017)
- Named among “Top 100 Lawyers in Southern California,” Southern California Super Lawyer Magazine (2018)
- Named “Lawyer of the Year – Entertainment Law,” Best Lawyers in America (2016)
- Named “Intellectual Property Trailblazer,” The National Law Journal (2016)
- Named “Top 75 Intellectual Property Litigators in California,” Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal (2016)
- Listed in “The Best Lawyers in America (film, television and music)” U.S. News & World Report (annually since 2007)
- Named “Super Lawyer,” Southern California Super Lawyer Magazine (annually since 2004)
- Named to the “Honor Roll: Attorneys Who Helped Changed the Face of Entertainment,” Variety (2013)
- Named “Power Lawyer,” The Hollywood Reporter
- Listed in “Who’s Who in L.A. Law,” Los Angeles Business Journal
Publications & Speaking Engagements
- USC Film School, Peter Stark Program, Guest Lecturer on Intellectual Property and Clearances for Filmmakers (graduate and undergraduate students) (Annually since 2010)
- Los Angeles Copyright Society, Panelist, “Red, White & Blues: Music and Political Campaigns” (September, 2020)
- YouTube Space, Silicon Beach, Instructor on Intellectual Property and Clearances for Content Creators. (2017-2018)
- University Film and Video Association 2017 Conference at Cal State Los Angeles, Presenter on Copyright and Trademark Fair Use Issues.
- Frequent guest columnist for Forbes, including “Hollywood v. VidAngel: Fifty Shades Of Filters,” “Trump’s Threat (With Fire And Fury) To Sue Wolff And Bannon? A Nothingburger, Probably From McDonald’s,” and ‘”Hamilton’ And Copyright: Lin-Manuel Miranda Had His Eyes On Music History.“
- University of Michigan (B.A. 1976)
- University of California, Hastings College of Law (J.D. 1980)