Robert Klieger is recognized as one of the nation’s top entertainment attorneys, noted both for his distinguished trial practice and his reputation as a trusted counsel and advisor to Fortune 500 companies and leading executives in the motion picture, television, and video game industries.
In 2017, Mr. Klieger was named to The Hollywood Reporter’s Power Lawyers list, recognized in Variety’s Legal Impact Report, and selected as an MVP by Law360, a recognition that places him among the top five media and entertainment attorneys in the nation.
Mr. Klieger served as lead counsel for media mogul Sumner M. Redstone in one of the most dramatic and high-stakes entertainment industry showdowns in decades. The battle for control of Mr. Redstone’s $40 billion media empire played out in a series of high-profile legal proceedings in the courts of Delaware, Massachusetts, and California that were front-page news in mainstream and industry publications including Fortune, The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Variety. Through across-the-board victories in those actions, Mr. Klieger helped to restore Mr. Redstone’s control of Viacom and to clear the way for sweeping changes in the management and strategic direction of the company.
Mr. Klieger was recently elected to the Board of Directors of CBS Corporation, whose operations include CBS Television Network, CBS Films, Showtime Networks, and Simon & Schuster. Mr. Klieger serves as a Director alongside an esteemed group of luminaries in the fields of business, entertainment, and law, including Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, Chairman Emeritus Sumner M. Redstone, and Vice Chair Shari Redstone.
In addition to his entertainment clients, Mr. Klieger regularly litigates on behalf of clients in a number of other industries, including apparel, aviation, and venture capital.
Before joining Hueston Hennigan, Mr. Klieger was a partner at Irell & Manella LLP and a founding partner at Kendall Brill & Klieger LLP. Mr. Klieger’s publications include a leading article on trademark dilution, which has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous federal courts of appeal, and “Best Practices for Effective Representation of Clients in Litigating (and Avoiding) Entertainment Disputes,” a chapter in Inside the Minds: Litigating Media and Entertainment Matters. Mr. Klieger is also a frequent speaker on emerging issues in entertainment and intellectual property law.
Media Entertainment, and Intellectual Property
- Prevailed in $40 billion battle for corporate control of Viacom on behalf of controlling shareholder and Chairman Emeritus Sumner M. Redstone that was waged in the courts of Delaware, Massachusetts, and California.
- Obtained trial victory for Sumner M. Redstone in challenge to his mental capacity filed by former companion Manuela Herzer. Mr. Klieger is currently representing Mr. Redstone in a Los Angeles County Superior Court action to recover $150 million from Ms. Herzer and another former companion, and in several derivative actions filed by shareholders of Viacom and CBS in the Delaware Court of Chancery.
- Won a unanimous defense verdict for Electronic Arts in a jury trial on a copyright claim related to The Sims 3, the third installment in the company’s best-selling series of life simulation games. Mr. Klieger earlier won summary judgment for Electronic Arts on a companion claim for alleged trade secret misappropriation and secured affirmance of that ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Represented Electronic Arts in a high-profile dispute related to the hiring of the development team responsible for the “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” video game franchise; trademark infringement actions related to “EA SPORTS Active” and “Mirror’s Edge” video games; and right of publicity actions involving “Fight Night” and “Medal of Honor” video games.
- Achieved dismissal of ten subsidiaries of The Walt Disney Company from multimillion dollar trademark infringement and unfair competition action involving Toy Story 3.
- Obtained temporary restraining order for Entertainment One motion picture distribution company on eve of film’s premiere at South by Southwest Film Festival.
- Represented Paramount Pictures Corporation in putative class action related to treatment of home video revenues for purposes of reporting and payment to profit participants. Mr. Klieger has also represented Paramount in numerous contract and business tort actions related to complex domestic and international film financing transactions.
- Represented Oscar®-winning filmmaker in accounting and profit participation dispute related to one of the highest grossing films of all time.
- Represented Nickelodeon, MTV Networks, and CBS in a number of copyright and idea submission actions related to scripted and reality television series.
- Represented three motion picture studios in multibillion-dollar dispute related to licensing and distribution of pay television services in Australia.
- Represented global entertainment content company and broadcast network at trial and appellate levels in action alleging breach of matching rights provision in multiplatform license and distribution agreement.
COMPLEX COMMERCIAL LITIGATION
- Represented leading footwear company in defending against federal trademark, trade dress, and design patent infringement claims brought by competing footwear manufacturer.
- Represented founders and franchisor of world-famous Improv comedy club in franchise and licensing disputes, including obtaining certiorari in U.S. Supreme Court.
- Represented former investors in mobile marketing company in prosecuting breach of contract and fraud claims related to acquisition by leading mobile solutions provider.
- Represented apparel company in proceedings before the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
- Defended aircraft manufacturer in a multimillion-dollar dispute alleging improper termination of exclusive purchase agreement.
- Represented venture capital company in arbitration and court proceedings related to alleged fraud in sale of regional energy company.
- Represented maritime engineering company in novel copyright dispute related to alleged infringement of drilling rig design.
COUNSELING AND LITIGATION AVOIDANCE
In addition to his litigation engagements, Mr. Klieger regularly advises motion picture studios, broadcast and cable television networks, and video game publishers in connection with a wide variety of intellectual property, privacy, and contract issues. He is frequently consulted in connection with the negotiation and drafting of complex business transactions involving motion picture production and financing and in connection with the production and distribution of reality television programming. Mr. Klieger has also advised high-ranking executives in connection with non-solicitation and non-competition provisions in employment agreements in the financial services and other industries.