Mr. Iser specializes in the areas of intellectual property, entertainment, commercial, real estate and employment litigation, including the defense of nationwide class action lawsuits. He handles complex, high-profile matters around the country for clients including Mattel, SeaWorld, eBay, Univision, Roland Corporation, and iconic musical artists including Jackson Browne and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Mr. Iser is the Managing Partner of KWIKA.
In the area of intellectual property, Mr. Iser counsels clients and litigates on their behalf concerning copyrights and trademarks; patents; unfair competition; the right of publicity; defamation; clearances and fair-use analyses for films, manuscripts, and products; and the licensing of intellectual property rights. He counsels and litigates on behalf of Mattel, Inc. in a variety of matters, recently including a copyright lawsuit concerning the creation of the Masters of the Universe® brand, trademark opposition proceedings concerning certain Hot Wheels® cars, intellectual property clearances for the Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, American Girl®, Monster High®, Ever After High® and Boomco® brands; a variety of licensing issues across Mattel’s brands, and the defense of a lawsuit in which the plaintiff, a designer of board games, alleged that Mattel breached a license agreement for the distribution of the board game Outburst! He counsel and litigates on behalf of SeaWorld on a number of intellectual property issues, recently including the defense of a trademark infringement lawsuit concerning SeaWorld’s Aquatica water parks. Mr. Iser serves as United States copyright counsel for Roland Corporation, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of electronic musical instruments. On behalf of Roland, Mr. Iser leads a KWIKA team handling a number of matters throughout the country, currently including the defense of a patent infringement action pending in the District of Connecticut.
Mr. Iser has earned a national reputation for his work in the music business concerning contract, auditing, digital distribution, licensing and intellectual property issues, representing musical artists including The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills & Nash, David Byrne, The Ira Gershwin Music Trust, The Doors, Axl Rose, 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 Corporation, eBay/StubHub, Yahoo!, Univision Music, Spectrasonics, Maverick Records, Fat Possum Records and ICM Partners.
In the areas of motion pictures and television, Mr. Iser 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 copyright, fair-use, clearances, right of publicity and defamation.
Mr. Iser counsels and litigates on behalf of SeaWorld on a number of commercial issues, currently including the defense of four nationwide class action lawsuits supported by activists alleging that SeaWorld misrepresents the well-being of its killer whales, and the defense of citations issued by Cal OSHA concerning employee interactions with killer whales.
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, construction defects and partnership disputes.
Lastly, Mr. Iser regularly represents clients in commercial and employment matters involving breach of contract, wrongful termination and sexual harassment, products liability, insurance coverage, bad faith and subrogation, franchising, securities fraud, partnership disputes and dissolution, and commercial torts. His clients have included manufacturers, importers, lending institutions, law firms, accounting firms, oil and gas companies, airlines and numerous entrepreneurially oriented companies.
The representation of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, which operates 11 U.S. theme parks, including SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, and is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations. Mr. Iser led a KWIKA team in defending against complex trademark infringement claims arising out of the name of SeaWorld’s Aquatica water parks. As the result of KWIKA’s efforts, SeaWorld nows owns the registered trademark AQUATICA and the URL aquatica.com. Mr. Iser and his team currently are defending SeaWorld in four nationwide class action lawsuits supported by activists alleging that SeaWorld has engaged in false and misleading sales practices and advertising regarding the well-being of the killer whales at each of SeaWorld’s parks in San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando. In addition, Mr. Iser is trial counsel for SeaWorld in an administrative proceeding pending before the California Occupational Safety and Health (“OSHA”) Appeals Board. OSHA issued four citations against SeaWorld San Diego for, among other things, its alleged failure to effectively identify and evaluate hazards to its employees arising from certain training interactions with SeaWorld’s killer whales.
The representation of Mattel, the world’s largest toy company, in the lengthy jury trial of a complex licensing dispute, in which Mr. Iser and a KWIKA team obtained a complete defense verdict for Mattel on every issue. Mr. Iser and his team then successfully argued to uphold the judgment on appeal, following which Mattel was awarded (and collected) 100% of its attorneys’ fees and costs. In another matter for Mattel, Mr. Iser and his team obtained summary judgment for the toy company against a writer who claimed to own a copyright interest in Mattel’s “Masters of the Universe”® franchise, thereby paving the way to the development of a major motion picture by Sony.
The representation of the Ira Gershwin Music Trust in complex copyright litigation in the Southern District of New York against music publisher Warner/Chappell Music Publishing arising from the administration of the Trust’s music publishing interests outside the United States.
The representation of Warner/Chappell 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 claim that Warner/Chappell and its predecessors failed to pay music publishing royalties dating back to 1950.
The representation of Roland, in a case of first impression, which established the validity of Roland’s copyrights in the sounds contained in its musical instruments. Mr. Iser routinely polices the marketplace and the Internet for infringements of Roland’s intellectual property, and currently represents Roland in a variety of copyright, trademark and patent matters around the country.
The representation of singer/songwriter Jackson Browne in the 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.”
The representation of singer/songwriter David Byrne in a lawsuit against Florida Governor Charlie Crist arising out of the unauthorized use of Mr. Byrne’s song “Road To Nowhere” in a 2010 commercial for Governor Crist’s campaign for U.S. Senate. That case was also resolved by a confidential financial settlement, which included a filmed public apology, broadcast on YouTube.
The representation of 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.
The representation of Roland in a patent infringement action pending in the patent “rocket docket” of the Eastern District of Texas in which Mr. Iser and his team secured a rare victory on a motion to transfer for inconvenient venue in a case concerning LCD screen technology.
The representation of Roland defending claims that Roland’s Rhythm Coach® line of drum practice pads infringed a patent for cadence-providing drum practice technology.
The representation of eBay unit StubHub against claims brought by its competitor, Ticketmaster, that StubHub was interfering with Ticketmaster’s exclusive agreements with concert venues.
The representation of 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.
The representation of an individual accused by Ticketmaster of using “bots” to secure concert tickets.
The representation of actor Jason Patric in an injunction proceeding seeking to bar 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 successfully defended Mr. Patric against the request for an injunction.
The representation of an Internet marketing company against claims by Intel Corp. that the marketing company was infringing Intel’s trademarks.
The representation of Zobmondo!! Entertainment, LLC, the producer of board games based on the concept of “Would you rather . . . ?” questions in litigation in the United States District Court over trademark, trade dress, and copyright issues.
The representation of the Fox Network in the successful defense of a lawsuit claiming that the reality television show “Boot Camp” infringed the copyright in the television show “Survivor.”
The representation of the former personal manager of comedienne Roseanne, as well as the former manager of actor Wesley Snipes, both of whom claimed that the managers had acted as unlicensed talent agents, obtaining precedent-setting rulings for the managers, resulting in widely-cited written opinions.
The representation of a winery against a class action lawsuit concerning underlying water rights, and the successful defense of a popular public golf course against a landlord’s efforts to close the golf course in order to build condominiums.
The representation of Mattel, Inc. against a financial “whistleblowing” charge brought by a former Senior Vice President.
Admissions, Memberships & Qualifications
Los Angeles Music Center Leadership Council (Board Member)
El Caballero Country Club (Member)
Honors & Awards
“The Best Lawyers in America (film, television and music)” U.S. News and World Report (since 2007)
Hollywood “Power Lawyer,” The Hollywood Reporter
“Honor Roll: Attorneys Who Helped Changed the Face of Entertainment” Variety
“Top 75 Intellectual Property Litigators in California,” Los Angeles Daily Journal
“Super Lawyer,” Southern California Super Lawyer Magazine
Publications & Speaking Engagements
USC Film School, Peter Stark Program, Guest Lecturer on Intellectual Property and Clearances for Filmmakers (graduate and undergraduate students)
UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Business Management (Guest Lecturer, Intellectual Property for business people (graduate and undergraduate students)
University of Michigan (B.A. 1976)
University of California, Hastings College of Law (J.D. 1980)