Laura Castner focuses in the areas of intellectual property, entertainment and general business litigation, and has substantial experience in proceedings before federal and state appellate courts. She has successfully defended and prosecuted major corporations as well as smaller companies and individuals in various industries including manufacturing, music and television, film production, software, telecommunications, and real estate.
In the area of trademark infringement, false advertising and right of publicity, Ms. Castner obtained an injunction in favor of a French recording star against unauthorized manufacturers and distributors selling apparel bearing images and marks associated with him. She also successfully represented a “mom-and-pop” manufacturer in a trademark infringement action against two Fortune 500 companies, resulting in a favorable settlement while multiple summary judgment motions were pending. In addition, Ms. Castner has handled trademark cancellation and opposition proceedings before the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. In the area of copyright, Ms. Castner has represented a software developer in infringement matters, obtaining summary judgment for damages, injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees in one case against a breaching licensee, and achieving advantageous settlements with others.
In the area of general business litigation, Ms. Castner has represented a film production company in an action for fraud, breach of contract and conversion against a former investor in a project, which culminated in a unanimous jury verdict of liability against the investor and a $3.9 million award for the production company, including an award of punitive damages. Ms. Castner has also litigated trade secret misappropriation and joint venture cases on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants. In addition, Ms. Castner is currently defending several celebrity product endorsers against proposed federal class actions by consumers alleging false advertising and mislabeling claims.
Ms. Castner has a varied appellate practice. She has represented the Estate of Michael Jackson before the California Court of Appeal, obtaining affirmance of a summary judgment in favor of the Estate, and of a dismissal of a paternity action; the plaintiff in the latter action is now seeking review by the California Supreme Court. Ms. Castner obtained a reversal by the Ninth Circuit of a finding of jurisdiction over the Arab Republic of Egypt and several agencies thereof, as to ERISA claims by an Egyptian national visiting the United States. She obtained a temporary stay of trial proceedings from the Court of Appeal on behalf of the founder of a family business in a partnership dispute with other family members; the founder’s position was adopted by the Court of Appeal following the trial.
Ms. Castner earned her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1992, where she was a Notes Editor of the Columbia-VLA Journal of Law and the Arts. She graduated from Rutgers College in 1988 with a B.A., with highest honors, in Political Science and French. Ms. Castner was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was an undergraduate associate with the Eagleton Institute of Politics. She is admitted to the bars of California, New York and New Jersey.