Tony Keats

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Tony Keats is a partner of the Firm and Co-chair of the Trademark and Copyright Practice Group. He was a founding partner of Keats, McFarland & Wilson LLP, in Los Angeles, and intellectual property practice team leader for the national law firm Baker & Hostetler. Tony’s almost three decade legal career has focused on both the legal and business protection of brands and creative content from consumer products to entertainment, from designer goods to the Internet. Since he commenced practice, he has provided counsel and has litigated cases on behalf of many of the world’s largest consumer product and entertainment companies, as well as individual entrepreneurs, actors, and musicians. Tony’s litigation background also includes related commercial matters involving unfair competition, contract disputes, rights of publicity violations, business torts, domain name infringement, and idea submission claims. Tony developed intellectual property protection programs for some of the largest entertainment properties in Hollywood history. These have included, among others, New Line Cinema’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Universal Studio’s Jurassic Park, Lucasfilm’s Star Wars, Warner Brothers Batman and Looney Tunes, and Saban Entertainment’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. He has also represented various studios and production companies including Warner Bros., Fox, Universal, DreamWorks SPG, Sony, Viacom, Paramount, Revolution, Mosaic Media Group, E! Entertainment, and Comedy Central. Much of this work involved litigation particularly in seeking emergency restraining orders and injunctive relief. In the area of technology and consumer products, Tony has represented such diverse companies as Apple Computer, Quantum Corporation, Philips Electronics Black & Decker,, Gillette, Hasbro, Quaker Oats, Michael Kors, Polaris, Polo Ralph Lauren, Met-Rx, Nike as well as sports entities such as Major League Baseball Properties and The World Cup Soccer ’94 Organizing Committee. His clients have also included the Business Software Alliance and The Recording Industry Association of America. Tony’s practice also includes the mediation of litigated and non-litigated disputes, particularly in the area of intellectual property and commercial matters. He serves on the Attorney-Settlement Panel for the Federal District Court for The Central District of California, as a mediator for The International Trademark Association Panel of Neutral Evaluators, and the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Film and Media Panel of Neutrals. Tony speaks and writes on a wide variety of intellectual property protection issues. He has authored legislation in California that increased the criminal penalties for counterfeiting in the state. In addition, he has appeared in numerous publications including Forbes, Fortune, the Wall Street Journal, and the National Law Journal, as well as many television broadcasts focusing on intellectual property issues. Tony co-authored the recently published book “Brand Protection: Counterfeiting and Gray Markets for Law Journal Press. He was also a contributing author of the book “Trademark Counterfeiting” in the United States published by Aspen Press. He has received the AV (highest) Martindale-Hubbell rating of his peers in the legal community. Tony received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Brown University and his law degree from the University of San Francisco. He is admitted to practice law in the State of California.

practice & experience

  • Star Patrol Enterprises Inc. v. Saban Entertainment Inc. – Represented Saban Entertainment, Inc. against a complaint for copyright infringement, breach of contract, inducing breach of contract, and various associated state law claims against owners and broadcasters of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, alleging that the Power Rangers infringed a property which the plaintiff allegedly owned.
  • Black and Decker U.S. Inc. et al v. Best Buy Imports et al. -Represented Black & Decker and supervised an extensive investigation into the importation and sale of tools which copied Black & Decker’s registered black and yellow trademark for power tools.
  • M2 Software Inc. v. Viacom Inc. et al. – Represented Viacom, Inc. in trademark infringement action in which M2 Software alleged that Viacom’s use of its M2: Music Television mark infringed M2 Software’s rights in its M2 mark.
  • Curtis James Jackson III v. Vision Plant Pictures LLC et al.- Defended a producer of a documentary against a right of publicity and trademark claim by performer “50 Cent.”
  • Adobe Systems Inc. v. Fritsch – Worked with the Business Software Alliance on an investigation of online dealers in counterfeit software, including auction site dealers.
  • DC Comics v. John Does 1-10 –  Represented DC Comics in this copyright infringement case filed against an unknown leaker of unreleased images from “The Watchmen” comic.
  • Dees v. Saban Entertainment Inc. –  Represented Saban Entertainment Inc. against claims of copyright infringement, unfair competition, and breach of contract.
  • Philips Electronics N.V. v. KXD Technology –  Represented Philips in a trademark infringement case brought against manufacturers of infringing DVD recorders.
  • DC Comics; Time Warner; Disney Enterprises, Inc.; and Nike Inc. v. Steven Koh – Represented DC Comics, Disney, Nike, and Warner Bros. in a lawsuit against a swap meet owner and its vendors based on the sale of counterfeit and infringing merchandise on the swap meet’s premises.
  • Fonovisa Inc. v. Cherry Auction Inc. (Representing The International Anticounterfeiting Coalition Inc.) – Represented the International Anticounterfeiting Coalition, Inc. in the Ninth Circuit and filed an Amicus Brief on behalf of numerous intellectual property owners seeking to overturn a lower court’s decision that flea market owners could not be liable for the infringing acts of flea market vendors.
  • Time Warner Entertainment Company et al. v. Golden Touch Inc., et al. –  Filed complaints and applications for temporary restraining orders and seizure orders against various retailers, wholesalers, and importers of counterfeit goods in Los Angeles on behalf of his clients.
  • Paramount Pictures Corporation v. Jon Langley et al. – Represented Paramount Pictures Corporation just weeks before the release of its holiday blockbuster motion picture, “Varsity Blues,” the registrant of the domain name VARSITYBLUES.COM made good on a prior threat and launched a web site depicting partial birth abortions at that domain name location.
  • Youngblood Timepieces Inc. v. Fossil Inc., et al. – Represented Fossil Inc. and Macy’s Merchandising Group, Inc. against allegations that the plaintiff owned trademark rights in its founder’s surname – YOUNGBLOOD – for use on watches, and that Fossil and Macy’s infringed its rights by using the term Youngblood to identify a line of DIESEL-branded watches.
  • Polo Ralph Lauren v. Hagege –  Filed suit against the defendant for trademark infringement and unfair competition based on his unauthorized sale and distribution of apparel bearing Polo’s trademarks.
  • Time Warner Entertainment Company L.P. v. Does 1-1000 –  Represented Warner Bros. to remove counterfeit Looney Tunes products from retail sales areas around the country to support the holiday sales performance of Warner Bros.’ licensees and retailers.
  • Online enforcement program – Established one of the first comprehensive Internet monitoring and enforcement programs,  currently direct numerous international online protection programs to address copyright and trademark infringement, rights of publicity, grey market infringement, product distribution diversion, disclosure of private facts and defamatory statements.
  • Litigated more than 150 trademark infringement matters in the United States.
  • Obtaining $14 million judgment for famous fashion brand in their largest counterfeiting case.
  • Obtaining nationwide temporary restraining and seizure order for counterfeiting and piracy of famous cartoon property of Hollywood studio.
  • Authoring California legislation that enhanced criminal penalties for trademark counterfeiting.
  • Shutdown Chinese factory making dangerous counterfeits for Fortune 500 battery manufacturer.