Ilissa Samplin is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Ms. Samplin serves as co-chair of the firm’s Trade Secrets Practice Group. She also is a member of Gibson Dunn’s Litigation, Media, Entertainment and Technology, Intellectual Property, and Trials Practice Groups.
Ms. Samplin’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and trials, entertainment and technology disputes, and intellectual property litigation and counseling. She has represented corporate and individual clients in the media, entertainment, and technology industries in a wide range of litigation in both federal and state court, including breach of contract, unfair competition, copyright, trademark, trade secret, and antitrust matters. Ms. Samplin also regularly advises clients on intellectual property policies and compliance. In addition, she has experience drafting life rights, intellectual property, and licensing agreements and cease and desist letters for clients in the entertainment and technology sectors, as well as advising entertainment clients on profit participation and related accounting practices.
Ms. Samplin has been recognized as “Up and Coming” in both commercial litigation and media and entertainment litigation by Chambers USA, as a “Next Generation Lawyer” in trade secrets by The Legal 500, and as a “Future Star” by Benchmark Litigation. Lawdragon named Ms. Samplin to its 500 Leading Litigators in America 2023 and 2024 guides, and Benchmark Litigation named Ms. Samplin to its 40 & Under list of “top emerging talent in litigation” for 2023. The Daily Journal named Ms. Samplin one of the top 40 lawyers in California under 40 in 2022. For her media and entertainment work, Ms. Samplin was recognized as a “Rising Star” in Media and Entertainment by Law360 and Euromoney in their 2022 publications, has been featured in Variety’s Legal Impact Report in 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023, and has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® as “One to Watch” in Entertainment and Sports Law. Ms. Samplin was named to the World Trademark Review 1000: The World’s Leading Trademark Professionals 2023 and 2024 editions. Ms. Samplin was named by Euromoney Legal Media Group at its Women in Business Law Awards as the national 2021 Litigation Rising Star, and Super Lawyers has consistently named Ms. Samplin a “Rising Star” in General Litigation in Southern California. In addition, Ms. Samplin was part of the team that earned recognition in the Daily Journal’s 2020 “Top Verdicts” for a bench trial win for AMC in a profit participation case concerning The Walking Dead.
- Member of the trial team that achieved a complete victory for AMC on all issues tried in a first phase bench trial in Los Angeles, in a long-running profit participation and breach of contract litigation concerning the television series, The Walking Dead. Subsequently achieved summary judgment for AMC on a remaining breach of implied covenant claim. Represented AMC in related profit participation and breach of contract litigations in New York.
- Member of the trial team that represented VOOM HD Holdings, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation, in a multibillion dollar breach of contract action against DISH Network. The four-week jury trial ended in a lucrative settlement valued at over $1 billion, one of the largest settlements in a breach of contract case in New York State Court history.
- Represented Hewlett Packard Enterprise against claims of copyright infringement, tortious interference, and unfair competition brought by Oracle in a lawsuit relating to a subcontractor’s handling of components of an Oracle Operating System. Achieved summary judgment in part, based on statute of limitations arguments, which was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit on appeal. Defended Hewlett Packard Enterprise in a 3-week jury trial, after which the parties settled on confidential terms.
- Representation of Rimini Street, a leading software support services provider, in copyright, false advertising, and unfair competition litigation against Oracle in the District of Nevada. Represented Rimini Street in two bench trials in connection with this matter.
- Member of the trial team that represented a confidential client in a multimillion dollar breach of contract and conversion action in California State Court. The team’s aggressive pre-trial briefing strategy secured significant victories for the client, and ultimately a favorable settlement on the eve of trial.
- Member of the trial team that achieved a favorable verdict under the Fair Labor Standards Act for an individual client in New York Federal Court.
Representative Entertainment and Intellectual Property Matters:
- Securing dismissal with prejudice, on behalf of SoundCloud Limited and SoundCloud Inc., of a trade secrets misappropriation action brought by Beatport concerning online music streaming platforms.
- Securing dismissal with prejudice of trade secret misappropriation and related claims against Oath Holdings, a subsidiary of Verizon, in a lawsuit filed by Investment Science in New York Federal Court. Obtained novel holding that an implied contract of confidentiality does not constitute a reasonable measure to protect a trade secret.
- Secured a major summary judgment victory on willfulness damages, for a leading digital download service provider, in multiple copyright infringement litigations related to musical compositions. The first time a court has held on summary judgment that a digital service provider’s reliance on contractual representations from its content providers can preclude a finding of willful infringement. As a result of the Court’s ruling, plaintiffs’ maximum possible damages award decreased by 80%. Also won Daubert motions resulting in the exclusion of the opinions of three of plaintiffs’ experts at trial.
- Securing dismissal with prejudice, on behalf of Verizon Media, Yahoo, AOL, and Oath Holdings of trademark infringement claims in two lawsuits brought by Evox in California Federal Court, which was affirmed on appeal. Currently defending against copyright infringement claims.
- Securing summary judgment for a major digital download service provider in a copyright infringement litigation based on a successful fair use defense.
- Successfully convinced district court to grant Campari America’s motion to stay a trademark litigation filed by the plaintiff pending resolution of the parties’ ongoing proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
- Achieving default judgment for CrossFit in two trademark infringement and breach of contract litigations arising out of the activities of former CrossFit licensees in Mexico.
- Securing dismissal with prejudice on behalf of CBS board members in a putative securities class action.
- Achieving a favorable settlement for Theory Entertainment in a breach of contract and conversion action brought by a former executive, after near complete success on a motion to dismiss.
- Achieving a favorable settlement for Korn Ferry in a misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract litigation brought by competitor, Heidrick & Struggles.
- Achieving a favorable settlement for Korn Ferry in a misappropriation of trade secrets and tortious interference litigation brought by competitor, Spencer Stuart.
- Achieving a favorable settlement for a leading mobile gaming company in a trade secrets misappropriation, breach of contract, and fraud litigation.
- Achieving a favorable settlement for a cosmetics company in a misappropriation of trade secrets litigation.
- Achieving a favorable settlement for a social media application and its two co-founders in a bet-the-company dispute that included claims for breach of joint venture agreement, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty.
- Representing WBTV in confidential profit participation arbitrations.
- Representing Big Fish Entertainment and REELZ against copyright and trademark infringement claims brought by A&E in connection with On Patrol: Live.
- Representing Onyx Renewable Partners in a trade secrets misappropriation and breach of contract and fiduciary duty litigation against its former general counsel.
- Representing a major technology firm in a trade secrets misappropriation, breach of contract, and breach of loyalty dispute with a former executive.
- Representing a major technology firm in a trade secret misappropriation and patent infringement litigation
Representative Commercial Litigation Matters:
- Securing dismissal with prejudice, on behalf of Hewlett-Packard, of a nationwide consumer class action brought on behalf of purchasers of numerous models of HP printers, asserting unfair trade practices, misrepresentations, tortious interference, violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and trespass to chattels based on firmware updates to the printers.
- Securing dismissal, on the grounds of forum non conveniens, on behalf of General Electric and subsidiaries in a tortious interference action filed in the Southern District of New York, arising from prior proceedings under 28 U.S.C. § 1782. The Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal on appeal and the Supreme Court denied certiorari.
- Successfully obtaining 28 U.S.C. § 1782 discovery (discovery in aid of a foreign proceeding) on behalf of hedge fund manager, Louis Bacon, the founder of Moore Capital Management, and deposed key witnesses in a subsequent $100 million defamation action brought by Mr. Bacon.
- Representing Hewlett-Packard in an antitrust lawsuit related to ink cartridges.
- Representing Modern Health in a founders’ dispute litigation, involving claims of wrongful termination, retaliation, breach of contract, defamation, and tortious interference.
From 2012 to 2013, Ms. Samplin served as Law Clerk to the Honorable Joseph F. Bianco, then of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Ms. Samplin received her Juris Doctor degree in 2011 from Stanford Law School. While at Stanford, she served as a Managing Editor of the Stanford Journal of Law, Business, and Finance, President of the Stanford Entertainment and Sports Law Association, and a member of the Cyberlaw Clinic. Ms. Samplin received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College in 2008, where she graduated summa cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Ms. Samplin is admitted to practice in the States of California and New York and is a member of the bars of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth and Second Circuits and the United States District Courts for the Central and Northern Districts of California and the Southern District of New York. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles chapter of Friends of the Children, an organization that provides mentoring for children of youth who have been in the foster care system.