Jonathan Steinsapir is a partner with the firm whose practice encompasses a wide range of commercial litigation matters, with particular emphasis on intellectual property disputes.
Mr. Steinsapir has a wide range of experience in all types of intellectual property litigation, including patent, copyright and trademark litigation Mr. Steinsapir also has extensive experience with contract cases, including licensing and output agreements and “idea theft” claims. He has also represented both employees and employers in trade secret and non-compete cases. Representative matters are set out below.
From 2008 through 2012, Mr. Steinsapir has been selected every year for inclusion in Super Lawyers’ and Los Angeles Magazine’s Southern California “Rising Stars” in intellectual property litigation.
Mr. Steinsapir graduated from the UCLA School of Law in 2002 and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He graduated with honors from UCSD in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minors in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies.
Following law school, Mr. Steinsapir served as a law clerk for the late Hon. Cynthia Holcomb Hall of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He then clerked for Judge Margaret M. Morrow of the Central District of California.
Mr. Steinsapir worked in the Pentagon for the Office of the General Counsel to the Secretary of Defense from August through December 2001. After the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon, he traveled to Uzbekistan as the Pentagon’s only on-site legal advisor during the negotiation of an executive agreement mandating the cleanup of former Soviet biological weapons sites [see Article].
Mr. Steinsapir is a native of Santa Monica and a graduate of Santa Monica High School. He is currently the Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee for the Board of Trustees of Hill & Dale Family Learning Center, an early childhood education and preschool in Santa Monica.
- MVP Entertainment v. Mark Frost – Represented Mark Frost, an award-winning author and screenwriter who has written numerous books and screenplays and the co-creator of the legendary television series, Twin Peaks, in an action where a production company alleged that Mr. Frost breached a contract to produce a motion picture based on Mr. Frost’s book, The Match: The Day The Game of Golf Changed Forever. Mr. Steinsapir argued appeals in the case in both the Ninth Circuit and the California Court of Appeal, and ultimately obtained a complete victory on summary judgment for Mr. Frost. The court held, on an issue of first impression, that an alleged “electronic signature” by Mr. Frost’s attorney on an email was not sufficient to constitute a “signed writing” under the Copyright Act. 17 U.S.C. § 204(a). The California Court of Appeal affirmed in a published opinion. MVP Entertainment, Inc. v. Frost, 210 Cal. App. 4th 1333 (2012). In an earlier iteration of the same controversy, Mr. Steinsapir secured a reversal of a federal district court’s dismissal of a declaratory judgment action. Frost v. Frederick, 466 Fed. Appx. 604 (9th Cir. 2012).
- In re the Estate of Michael J. Jackson – Represents the Executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson in several actions in the federal courts of New York and California. Notably, Mr. Steinsapir obtained an extremely important victory on behalf of the Executors in federal court in New York, where the Court dismissed an action on the pleadings because the defendant had failed to file a timely creditor’s claim in the Probate Court in California. The Court recognized that California’s probate scheme must be applied even to alleged creditors whose claims are not based on California law and who file their cases in federal court. AQ Consulting, WLL v. Branca, 2011 WL 240812 (S.D.N.Y.). Mr. Steinsapir later represented the Estate at a trial in probate court where the court ruled in favor of the Estate and refused to allow the same creditor to file a late claim. In another action in New York federal court, Mr. Steinsapir obtained a complete summary judgment in favor of the Executors in an action filed by a concert promoter who claimed over a hundred million dollars in damages for the alleged failure of Michael Jackson to perform a concert before his death. AllGood Entertainment Inc. v. Dileo Entertainment & Touring Inc., 726 F. Supp. 2d 307 (S.D.N.Y. 2010).
- Interactive Music v. Roland Corp. U.S. (E.D. Tex. & C.D. Cal.) – Represented Roland Corporation, the famous distributor of electronic musical instruments, against claims that its keyboards infringed two patents. After the case was transferred from Texas to California, the case was stayed pending a 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 U.S. in exchange for the dismissal of Roland’s counterclaims against plaintiff. Prior to the transfer to California, Mr. Steinsapir and the firm secured a rare victory in the Eastern District of Texas on a motion to transfer venue. Interactive Music v. Roland Corp. U.S., 2008 WL 245142 (E.D. Tex.).
- Starz Entertainment v. Buena Vista Television (C.D. Cal.) – On behalf of the pay-television provider Starz, Mr. Steinsapir secured summary judgment on counterclaims of copyright infringement and breach of contract filed against Starz by Disney subsidiary Buena Vista. Although the Court was tentatively inclined to deny summary judgment, after Mr. Steinsapir’s oral argument, the Court reversed itself and granted summary judgment for Starz and severed the counterclaims from the case for the sole purpose of entering a final judgment against Disney [see Ruling]. Mr. Steinsapir and his colleagues also secured partial summary judgment on Starz’s affirmative claims, where the Court held that Buena Vista was precluded from selling digital copies of Disney movies on Apple’s iTunes Store at the same time that they were being licensed to Starz [see Order]. The case settled in December 2008, just before a damages trial on Starz’s claims.
- Jackson Browne v. John McCain, et al. (C.D. Cal.) – Mr. Steinsapir took the lead in briefing on fair use and Lanham Act issues in Jackson Browne’s claims of copyright infringement and violations of the Lanham Act against John McCain and the RNC based on the unauthorized use of Mr. Browne’s musical composition in a campaign commercial [see Opposition]. After the Court denied Defendants’ motions to dismiss, the case settled on largely confidential terms, but included a public apology from defendants to Mr. Browne with a pledge from all defendants to “to respect and uphold the rights of artists and to obtain permissions and/or licenses for copyrighted works where appropriate.”
- Quantum Licensing v. Marilyn Monroe, LLC (AAA Arbitration) – Along with partner Alan Kossoff, Mr. Steinsapir was lead counsel 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 and awarded the Claimant nothing. The panel also awarded the Estate roughly $300,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.
- Mr. Steinsapir has argued appeals in both the Ninth Circuit and the California Court of Appeal. He has also worked on several other appellate matters, including matters in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fifth, Ninth and Federal Circuits, and the California appellate courts. E.g., MVP Entertainment, Inc. v. Frost, 210 Cal. App. 4th 1333 (2012); Frost v. Frederick, 466 Fed. Appx. 604 (9th Cir. 2012); Sole v. Wyner, 551 U.S. 74 (2007); Regents of University of California v. Credit Suisse First Boston (USA), Inc., 482 F.3d 372 (5th Cir. 2007).