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- J.D. magna cum laude, Brooklyn Law School
- Editor-In-Chief, Journal of Law and Policy, 1999-2000
- B.A. magna cum laude, State University of New York at Albany
- New York
Alexander (Alex) Kaplan is a partner at Oppenheim + Zebrak, LLP and head of O+Z’s New York office. Alex is deeply experienced in copyright, trademark, advertising, right of publicity, and trade secrets law. A seasoned courtroom lawyer, Alex has over two decades of experience litigating high-stakes cases in all of these disciplines, with particular focus in the music industry. Outside of the courtroom, Alex provides daily counsel to his clients on legal questions that affect key business decisions. Clients turn to Alex for his unique blend of litigation skills and comprehensive knowledge of IP law, which allows him to effectively and efficiently bring value to his clients as the first and only call they need to make on rights-related legal and business issues.
In copyright and media-related matters, Alex has represented many music, sports, and entertainment clients in a wide variety of engagements touching on all forms of copyrightable subject matter. Alex frequently represents record labels and music publishers in mass infringement cases against internet service providers and social media platforms. Representing defendants, Alex has won multiple high-profile cases on summary judgment, often prevailing on the factually intensive issue of lack of substantial similarity. On behalf of Madonna and Warner Music Group, he convinced the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject the Sixth Circuit’s controversial Bridgeport decision governing liability for music sampling. Alex has represented all of the major and many independent music publishers and record labels, recording artists including Madonna, Lady Gaga, and U2, and clients in academic publishing, including Elsevier, Lexis/Nexis, and STM. Alex speaks frequently on noteworthy issues in copyright law and was featured in a Planet Money podcast discussing the knotty issue of fair use.
In trademark and false advertising matters, Alex has represented clients in numerous industries, including consumer products, fashion, entertainment, food & beverage, and healthcare before the federal courts, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), and the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of the Better Business Bureau. He has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in Lanham Act cases in courts across the country, including in multiple preliminary injunction hearings and jury trials. Beyond litigation, Alex frequently counsels clients concerning advertising and marketing claim substantiation and review. Alex’s trademark and advertising clients have included Colgate Palmolive, Church & Dwight, S.C. Johnson & Son, ZeroWater, OK GO, the NFL, Major League Baseball, and Diageo.
Alex has been recognized by Chambers & Partners for Advertising Litigation (2023), Billboard as a Top Music Lawyer (2023), The Legal 500 United States for Copyright (2016-2019), Marketing & Advertising (2017-2019), Media & Entertainment (2018-2019), Trademarks: Litigation (2019), and Media, Technology, and Telecoms: Media & Entertainment Litigation (2019). Alex also received the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award from Brooklyn Law School’s Intellectual Property Law Association and was named an Acritas Star Lawyer in 2020.
Alex spent the first 20 years of his career at Proskauer Rose, where he was a partner in the firm’s Litigation Department. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and two children.
Concord Music Group, et al. v. X Corp. (Twitter)
Representing 17 music publishing groups against Twitter in a copyright infringement action alleging mass infringement on the Twitter platform of thousands of musical compositions. (Middle District of Tennessee)
- Post Foods, LLC v. OK Go Partnership
Representing indie rock band OK GO in a declaratory judgment case brought by Post over Post’s use of the OK GO registered mark on a breakfast cereal product. (District of Minnesota)
UMG Recordings v. Frontier Communications
Representing Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Warner Records, and Abkco in a copyright litigation against Frontier Communications, alleging infringement of over 10,000 works based on contributory and vicarious infringement. (Southern District of New York)
Big Machine Music v. Shenzhen Qutui Tech. Co. (Vinkle)
Representing multiple music publishers alleging copyright infringement by the music video-making app, Vinkle, for the unauthorized use of dozens of songs upon which the Vinkle app is built. (Northern District of California)
Warner Records v. Charter Communications
Representing the major record labels (UMG, Sony Music, and Warner Records) and music publishers (UMPG, Sony Music Publishing, and Warner Chappell) in a copyright litigation against Charter Communications, alleging Charter turned a blind eye to its subscribers’ repeated acts of copyright infringement. (District of Colorado)
UMG Recordings v. Bright House Networks
Representing the major record labels (UMG, Sony Music, and Warner Records) and music publishers (UMPG, Sony Music Publishing, and Warner Chappell) in a copyright litigation against Bright House Networks, alleging Bright House turned a blind eye to its subscribers’ repeated acts of copyright infringement. (Middle District of Florida)
American Chemical Society v. ResearchGate
Representing the American Chemical Society and Elsevier in a copyright litigation involving infringement claims against ResearchGate, an online social network and file sharing/download service, based on its use and copying of peer reviewed published journal articles. (District of Maryland)
Prior to O+Z
Sony Music Entertainment
Successfully represented Sony Music Entertainment in bringing multiple copyright claims addressing various unauthorized uses of sound recordings and music videos on commercial websites.
Archie MD, Inc. v. Elsevier, Inc.
Obtained summary judgment for leading publishing company, Elsevier, dismissing hundreds of claims of copyright infringement over alleged copying of medical animations. Also prevailed on breach of contract and trade secrets misappropriation claims. (Southern District of New York)
VMG Salsoul v. Madonna Louise Ciccone
Argued and won Ninth Circuit appeal affirming summary judgment decision dismissing copyright claim against Madonna, Warner/Chappell and Warner Music over iconic hit song Vogue, brought by owner of the 1970s track Love Break, in which the Ninth Circuit rejected the Sixth Circuit’s controversial decision in Bridgeport Music v. Dimension Films. (Central District of California; Ninth Circuit)
Francescatti v. Germanotta
Obtained summary judgment for Lady Gaga against a singer-songwriter who alleged that the recording star copied portions of her song into the hit single Judas. The court held that the two works were not substantially similar and dismissed the claim, finding no copyright infringement. (Northern District of Illinois)
Fahmy v. Jay-Z, et al.
Defended Live Nation Entertainment in a copyright infringement suit brought by an Egyptian composer over Jay Z’s performances of a hit single on concert tour. The court dismissed the claim for direct infringement and stayed the remaining claims against Live Nation pending the outcome of the direct infringement claim against Jay-Z, which was later dismissed. (Central District of California)
Blu-ray Anti-Circumvention Enforcement
Represented licensor of Blu-ray encryption technology in addressing illegal circumvention software sold over the Internet designed to defeat the content protection system for Blu-ray discs. Successfully worked with foreign government to prosecute manufacturer of unlawful circumvention tools. (Antigua)
Lester v. U2
Defended legendary rock band U2 in the successful resolution of a copyright infringement action over the song Vertigo brought by a musician claiming copying of his musical composition. (Central District of California)
Moman v. Bertelsmann Music Group, Inc.
Successfully defended BMG and RCA Music in suit by music producer concerning right to Elvis Presley recordings. Plaintiff ultimately withdrew his lawsuit. (Southern District of New York)
Clyde Otis Music Group v. Universal Music Group
Successfully defended Universal Music Group against claims of copyright infringement and for declaratory judgment seeking ownership over certain hip hop recordings. (District of New Jersey)
Zomba Music Group v. MP3.com
Won summary judgment for Zomba Music finding MP3.com had committed mass copyright infringement of Zomba’s sound recordings by copying and making them available over the internet through a personal music locker service. (Southern District of New York)
Trademark/False Advertising/Right of Publicity
Tesfay v. Hanesbrands Inc.
Represented Hanesbrands defending a right of publicity suit brought by model for alleged unauthorized use of her image in product advertising. Won motion to dismiss the action in its entirety. (Southern District of New York)
NFL Advertising Challenge
Represented the National Football League in successfully defending an advertising challenge at NAD by AT&T and DirectTV addressing advertising claims for NFL Network.
Triangl Group Ltd. v. Lingzhi Garment Co.
Represented Triangl, a top-selling bikini brand, in a trade dress and copyright infringement action against a Chinese manufacturer of infringing swimwear. Obtained broad injunctive relief shutting down sales by Lingzhi of infringing swimsuits over various websites. (Southern District of New York)
Tween Brands v. Bluestar Alliance
Represented Justice, the leading brand of tween-age girls’ clothing, in the successful resolution of a sharply contested trademark, copyright, and false advertising suit against Bluestar, owner of the Limited Too brand of girls’ apparel. (Southern District of Ohio)
Par Sterile Products v. Fresenius Kabi USA
Represented pharmaceutical manufacturer Fresenius Kabi in the successful defense of a Lanham Act false advertising action in which Par accused Fresenius Kabi of falsely marketing a generic drug. (Northern District of Illinois)
Gambro Renal Products v. NxStage Medical
Represented NxStage, a medical device manufacturer, in the successful resolution of a Lanham Act false advertising litigation brought by competitor Gambro. The matter involved the marketing of continuous renal replacement therapy devices used in hospital intensive care units for patients suffering from catastrophic kidney failure. (District of Massachusetts)
Stark v. Diageo
Successfully defended a trademark infringement action brought by Stark Wine LLC in which a nationwide injunction was sought to prevent Diageo from selling its newly-released Stark Raving brand of table wine. (Northern District of California)
Church & Dwight Co. v. Clorox Co.
Obtained preliminary injunction enjoining comparative television advertising for Clorox’s Fresh Step cat litter product denigrating the performance of Church & Dwight’s Arm & Hammer cat litter. (Southern District of New York)
Tria Beauty, Inc. v. Radiancy, Inc.
Represented Radiancy, maker of a hair removal device, in the successful resolution of false advertising claims concerning the respective performance of the parties’ products. (Northern District of California)
MLB Properties v. Upper Deck
Successfully represented Major League Baseball against The Upper Deck Company in a trademark infringement action, obtaining an injunction prohibiting Upper Deck’s unauthorized use of MLB team logos in a baseball card series. (Southern District of New York)
Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants
Perot Systems v. 20th Century Systems Inc.
Obtained preliminary injunction and multimillion-dollar jury verdict for trade secret misappropriation in Virginia state court where former employees attempted to obtain government contracts using prior employer’s trade secrets. (State of Virginia)
Eric Bolling v. CNBC Inc.
Defeated motion for preliminary injunction in New York state court seeking to prevent television network from enforcing restrictive covenant preventing television personality from joining competing network. (State of New York)
Cardionet, Inc. v. LifeWatch Corp
Represented defendant and counterclaim plaintiff in obtaining successful settlement in a trade secrets action concerning technology behind heart monitors. (Northern District of Illinois)