Mr. Iser specializes in the areas of intellectual property, entertainment, music, real estate, commercial and employment litigation. He has handled significant, high-profile matters for clients including Mattel, Inc., Yahoo, Inc., eBay, Inc., Roland Corporation, Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Michael Jackson and The Beatles. Mr. Iser has earned a national reputation for his representation of musical artists whose songs have been used without permission by national political candidates. Mr. Iser has been named among the top 75 Intellectual Property Litigators in California, a Hollywood “Power Lawyer” by The Hollywood Reporter and a “Super Lawyer” by Los Angeles Magazine. Mr. Iser is listed in The Best Lawyers in America.
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 for films, manuscripts, and products; and contracts involving the licensing of intellectual property rights. Mr. Iser represented renowned 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.” Subsequently, Mr. Iser represented David Byrne of the band Talking Heads 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. Mr. Iser recently represented the Ira Gershwin Musical Trust in litigation against music publisher Warner/Chappell arising from the administration of the Trust’s music publishing interests outside the United States. Mr. Iser currently represents Zobmondo!! Entertainment, LLC, the producer of board games, card games, and books derived from the concept of “Would you rather . . . ?” questions in litigation over trademark, trade dress, and copyright issues.
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 litigated 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. Mr. Iser counsels and litigates on behalf of Mattel, Inc. in a variety of matters, currently including trademark opposition proceedings concerning certain Hot Wheels® cars, licensing issues, and the defense of a lawsuit in which the plaintiff, an animation company, alleges that Mattel breached a so-called “implied contract” to compensate the animation company in the event that Mattel utilized certain ideas from a proposed cartoon series. In 2011, Mr. Iser successfully defended Mattel, Inc. in a lengthy jury trial over a licensing dispute, obtaining a complete defense verdict for Mattel on every issue.
Mr. Iser leads a KWIKA team handling a number of patent infringement actions throughout the country. KWIKA represents Roland DGA Corporation, the world’s leader in integrated printer/cutters for sign-making in the durable graphics market, in litigation pending in the District of Connecticut concerning a patent for print/cut technology for sign-making. Recently, in a case that was pending in the patent “rocket docket” of the Eastern District of Texas, Mr. Iser and his team secured a rare victory on a motion to transfer for inconvenient venue in a case concerning LCD screen technology. KWIKA’s patent infringement team also recently represented Roland Corporation defending claims that Roland’s Rhythm Coach® line of drum practice pads infringed a patent for cadence-providing drum practice technology.
Mr. Iser is well known for his work in the music business, having represented clients including Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Doors, Axl Rose, David Byrne, The Rick James Estate, The Janis Joplin Estate, The M.C. Hammer Bankruptcy Estate, The Wiggles, Intocable, Branford Marsalis, Kevin Eubanks, Yahoo!, eBay/StubHub, Univision Music, Spectrasonics, Maverick Records, Fat Possum Records and International Creative Management. In 2008, Mr. Iser led a KWIKA team in successfully defending the eBay unit StubHub against claims brought by its competitor, Ticketmaster. In 2009, Mr. Iser brought suit against Ticketmaster for various claims of the consultant who had guided Ticketmaster’s entry into the secondary ticketing business.
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. He represented 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.” He successfully defended 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.
Mr. Iser is a guest lecturer on the topic of film clearances at the USC Peter Stark Graduate Film School program, and on the topics of intellectual property, copyrights and trademarks at the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Business Management.
Mr. Iser has served for the past 20 years 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. Recent matters include the successful defense 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.
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, 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. In one nationally publicized case, Mr. Iser obtained summary judgment in favor of Mattel, Inc. obtaining dismissal of a financial “whistleblowing” charge brought by a former Senior Vice President.
Mr. Iser is a graduate of the University of Michigan (B.A. 1976) and the University of California, Hastings College of Law (J.D. 1980). He is a member of the Board of Directors of the non-profit Reprise Theatre Company, and is a member of El Caballero Country Club.