Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Media, Entertainment and Technology Group is one of the world’s leading practices. We represent both established and emerging media, entertainment and technology companies and handle our clients’ most important and complex corporate and intellectual property transactions, litigation, antitrust, internal investigations and other legal challenges. With more than 70 members with various substantive areas of experience and knowledge of media, entertainment and technology properties, the practice can handle even the largest matters. As a global law firm, we are also able to draw upon the additional resources of more than 1,400 lawyers in the firm’s 20 offices.
Our litigators are well-known for their decades of experience in handling the full array of media and entertainment-related matters, including accounting, contract and profit participation disputes and enforcing film and television distribution agreements. We are leaders in conducting sensitive investigations and are renowned for our First Amendment practice. We have defended and prosecuted high-stakes copyright disputes, as well as trademark, rights of publicity, patent and other IP-based matters.
Our transactional lawyers are recognized for their comprehensive capabilities in mergers and acquisitions, complex film finance transactions, and joint ventures. They handle presales of media rights; acquisitions and dispositions of catalogs, copyrights and name and likeness rights; television output and film distribution agreements; as well as the full range of corporate transactions that cut across industry lines.
A substantive part of our transactional practice is our significant intellectual property transactions practice, with deep industry knowledge in a variety of areas, including: content licensing across all media; brand-related agreements; data security and privacy issues; data acquisitions and transfers, including regulatory issues; software-related transactions including those arising in the context of cloud computing; hardware agreements including manufacturing, supply, VAR and distribution and services agreements; and patents, including patent licensing, patent pools, and the acquisition and disposition of patents and patent portfolios.
Gibson Dunn has a prominent U.S. litigation practice with a winning track record litigating virtually every kind of dispute that arises in the media, entertainment and technology industries. Our experience encompasses contractual issues such as profit participation and film finance, as well as intellectual property issues such as copyright, trademark and trade secret, and the right of publicity. We coordinate with our partners in related practice groups on patent and First Amendment issues.
We also handle a wide variety of commercial disputes for our media, entertainment and technology clients, including securities, real estate, class action and contract disputes. In addition, we represent clients in connection with internal and governmental investigations.
Our clients include major and independent motion picture studios, television networks, newspapers, magazines, video game publishers, producers and distributors, entertainment industry executives and performers, production companies, studios, book and music publishers, merchandising and record companies, authors, personal managers, and talent agencies. Our lawyers litigate in U.S. state and federal courts as well as arbitrate before guilds and other institutional forums such as the Independent Film and Television Alliance.
Contract Dispute, Profit Participation and Film Finance
Gibson Dunn lawyers represent studios, production companies and talent in all facets of entertainment and media litigation, including contract disputes, finance agreements, profit participation and accounting disputes, and business fraud. We also handle internal and government investigations for our clients.
Intellectual Property and Associated Rights
Gibson Dunn provides its media, entertainment and technology clients with skilled counsel on a wide range of IP issues, including licensing disputes and infringement claims involving high-profile industry names. We also have extensive experience litigating a wide variety of intellectual property rights, including copyright, rights of publicity, trademarks, trade names and trade dress, theft of ideas, Internet advertising, counterfeiting claims and patent disputes for our entertainment clients.
First Amendment Litigation
Gibson Dunn is unique among law firms in terms of the depth and breadth of its media, entertainment and technology practice. The firm has been extensively involved in handling First Amendment issues in virtually all areas of free speech and press and offers counseling, litigation at the trial and appellate levels, prepublication or prebroadcast review, and contractual negotiations among many other services.
Gibson Dunn has one of the premier labor and employment practices in the United States, with approximately 70 lawyers nationwide assisting corporations with their most sensitive and challenging matters. We help clients develop company-wide policies that affect tens of thousands of employees; represent media, entertainment and technology companies on issues involving a single employee or work site; and litigate disputes large and small on behalf of individuals and corporations, before courts, agencies and arbitrators in jurisdictions throughout the country.
Wage and Hour Litigation
We have represented many clients, including film studios, production companies and television companies, in both individual and class actions alleging wage and hour violations, including unlawful business expense practices.
We have successfully defended a wide variety of clients in the entertainment and media industries against claims of discrimination, including the defense of a talent agency in an industry-wide age discrimination class action filed by television writers.
We regularly represent entertainment companies in actions brought by unions, including those initiated by them on behalf of individuals.
We have been involved in a variety of wrongful termination actions, including those alleging termination in violation of public policy (“whistleblower” cases).
Our broad-based employment litigation client work includes a wide variety of other employment-related claims, such as alleged sexual harassment, fraud, defamation and breach of contract.
Arbitrations with favorable resolutions before the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) have included those involving:
The core of Gibson Dunn’s transactional media, entertainment and technology practice is comprised of mergers and acquisitions; equity investments in media, entertainment and technology businesses; financing; product placement and promotional agreements; licensing, distribution and production agreements; and intellectual property transactions.
Mergers and Acquisitions
We have assisted clients in the acquisition and disposition of entire businesses, of equity interests in publicly and privately held media, entertainment and technology clients, asset acquisitions and dispositions, and in merger transactions. Because of our familiarity with the industry, we are able to bring to this setting the requisite level of understanding and insight in assessing intellectual property rights, potential antitrust and other regulatory issues and similar industry-specific knowledge.
Financing transactions in the media, entertainment and technology industry have grown increasingly complex and varied. We enjoy one of the leading practices in this area and have represented clients in both equity and debt offerings in public and private markets, as well as in bank financings and tax-advantaged financings. Our representation of clients in the film finance area has included single picture financings, multi-picture production agreements, and slate financings, among others.
Gibson Dunn’s intellectual property transactions lawyers represent many of the world’s leading technology, entertainment and digital media companies in sophisticated IP transactions. We regularly represent our clients in a wide variety of license, development, acquisition, strategic alliance, joint venture and other transactions involving technology, content and intellectual property.
Gibson Dunn’s IP transactional lawyers play an important role in supporting the firm’s merger, acquisition and other corporate transactions practices. We conduct diligence regarding the status and ownership of intellectual property, the scope and status of inbound license agreements, open source contamination issues, infringement exposure, privacy/data security and other IP issues that may be of great significance in the context of a technology or content company acquisition or other corporate transactions. We have substantial experience dealing with licensing and other transactions involving Internet companies, including e-commerce agreements, website development and hosting agreements, content license agreements and website co-branding agreements, and in addressing the various legal issues that arise in the context of online businesses.
Our extensive trademark licensing and counseling practice regularly advises clients regarding enforceability and infringement issues associated with the selection of new marks and assists clients with registering marks throughout the world.
Merchandising, Product Placement and Promotional Agreements
Our lawyers are skilled in the negotiation and documentation of merchandising agreements, for a variety of properties and in a broad range of media. We also advise clients on the acquisition of companies in merchandising and related businesses.
In the area of product placement and promotional agreements (including sponsorship agreements), we represent both buyers and sellers. Our experience in this area ranges from short-term or relatively limited placements or promotions to company-wide alliances generating significant opportunities for all parties over a period of years.
We are widely practiced as well in counseling clients on disputes related to merchandise licensing claims and foreign merchandising activities.
Licensing, Distribution and Production Agreements
We represent companies at every stage in the acquisition, development, production and distribution of content. We handle licensing of content, production and coproduction agreements, and representation of both content licensors and distributors in distribution agreements, including output agreements. Our distribution agreement experience includes agreements covering a limited range of products, as well as distribution agreements related to “packages” or to entire catalogs or libraries.
M&A transactions involving entertainment content and digital media on which our IP transactions team played a key role include the following recent representations:
Gibson Dunn has one of the leading antitrust practices in the world. The firm is ranked as a top-tier firm in the United States and recognized as a leading global firm for Competition/Antitrust law in the 2020 edition of Chambers Global. It is also ranked among the top “Global Elite” firms in the 2019 edition of Global Competition Review‘s GCR 100, a list of the world’s top 25 antitrust practices.
The Antitrust Group provides services to media, entertainment and technology clients in virtually every significant area of antitrust and trade regulation law. Our practice includes client counseling; mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic alliances; antitrust compliance; private treble damage and injunction litigation in U.S. federal and state courts, including class actions; cartel investigations, grand jury practice and criminal antitrust litigation; government civil investigations and enforcement; appellate representation; and EU and Member State antitrust (UK, France and Germany).
Our litigation covers the full spectrum of antitrust claims and issues, including alleged price fixing, predatory pricing, price squeeze, price discrimination, market allocation, boycotts, resale price maintenance, exclusive dealing, exclusive territories, tying arrangements, refusals to deal, dealer terminations, other vertical restraints, monopolization, monopoly leveraging, essential facilities, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, trade associations, and interlocking directorates.
Antitrust Transactional Engagements
Our lawyers are involved at all stages of mergers and joint ventures that raise antitrust issues and have shepherded numerous transactions through U.S. and foreign government merger reviews. With many alumni from the federal antitrust agencies in our ranks, Gibson Dunn has considerable experience with the administrative review process that is often triggered by significant merger activity in an industry.
We routinely assist clients in preparing Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (HSR) premerger notification filings and in responding to government second requests. The need for experienced counsel in such matters has been dramatically underscored in recent years by the multimillion-dollar fines that have been imposed because of noncompliant HSR filings. We also assist clients with EU and foreign merger notification and Exon-Florio filings, and have significant experience as well dealing with other regulatory aspects of mergers and state attorneys general investigations of merger transactions. Finally, our lawyers have considerable experience representing parties to a merger in both government and private preliminary injunction challenges to mergers and acquisitions in federal courts.
We have counseled clients on the formation and operation of a variety of joint ventures in the media, entertainment and technology sectors. We have also represented clients in a series of transactional engagements reviewed by the DOJ or FTC, including:
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