About Gloria Franke Shaw

The biggest names in entertainment and media trust Gloria Franke Shaw to protect their most important assets: their intellectual property. From defending against copyright infringement claims to litigating breach of contract disputes, Gloria understands how to balance legal perils, business interests and publicity concerns to protect her clients' creativity, freedom of expression and bottom line.

Innovative solutions for complex business realities

Gloria develops creative solutions for her clients' business and legal problems by uncovering what is truly important for all sides in a dispute and reaching consensus when possible. Understanding the business and technological complexities behind a contentious dispute allows Gloria to achieve the best possible outcome for her clients without damaging their business, creative works, goals or reputation. Gloria has extensive experience with how copyright, trademark, idea submission and defamation claims play out in court and in the media, and she works with her clients to balance the pros and cons of each way forward to find the solution that works best for them.

Gloria obtained the highly publicized dismissal of a copyright infringement suit against Seth MacFarlane. The suit claimed that an anthropomorphic teddy bear created by MacFarlane and featured as the lead character in the movie Ted was copied from the plaintiff's YouTube series character. Gloria also secured dismissal of copyright infringement claims for the producers of the horror film The Unborn and dismissal of breach-of-contract and breach-of-confidence claims related to the reality TV series Ghost Hunters.

Gloria is co-chair of Katten's Los Angeles Women's Leadership Forum, which is dedicated to the strategic retention and advancement of women. While in law school, she served as a senior editor on the Southern California Law Review.

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Practice Focus

  • Complex litigation matters, including copyright, trademark, idea submission, right of publicity, defamation, media law, profit participation, licensing, distribution and other contract disputes
  • All stages of litigation in arbitration as well as state, federal and appellate courts
  • Risk analysis for publications and/or creative works, including defamation and right of publicity issues
  • Chain of title analysis for creative works
  • Pre-litigation advice on issues such as the scope of intellectual property rights, contract interpretation, and media and entertainment content
  • Employment litigation matters and pre-litigation advice including wage and hour, covenants not to compete, PAGA (Private Attorneys General Act) collective claims, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) violations, WGA (Writers Guild of America) issues and employee contract disputes

Representative Experience

  • Represented Seth MacFarlane, Media Rights Capital and Universal Studios in high-profile copyright case. Plaintiff, Bengal Mangle Productions, alleged in suit filed in US District Court for the Central District of California in July 2014 that anthropomorphic teddy bear from the movie Ted was "strikingly similar" to its character, Charlie, a teddy bear from plaintiff's Web series. We obtained stipulation for dismissal of the suit, which cannot be refiled.
  • Represented certain defendants against claims of breach of implied contract and confidence relating to a TV series. We prevailed on a motion for summary judgment as to several defendants. The California Court of Appeal issued a rare Writ of Mandate ordering the trial court to grant judgment for the remaining defendant. The court issued a published opinion addressing a novel issue of the statute of limitations for idea theft claims in California.
  • Defended 10 defendants (including production and distribution companies, producers and screen writer) against claims of copyright infringement and breach of implied contact regarding a horror film. Prevailed on motion for judgment on pleadings arguing that the plaintiff's screenplay and defendants' film were not "substantially similar" as a matter of law. District court's ruling was affirmed by US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
  • Represented certain defendants in action alleging copyright infringement, breach of implied contract and breach of confidence regarding a TV series. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sitting en banc addressed the scope of federal copyright preemption of state law contract claims.
  • Represented sports agency and certain individual agents for a NBA player in ruling dismissing various commercial tort claims brought by the player's former agent against our clients. The New York Supreme Court found that plaintiff failed to state any cognizable state claims, and dismissed the action with prejudice and without leave to replead.
  • Defended film producers, director and writers of a film against defamation and false light claims brought by Native American tribe for allegedly portraying them in a negative manner in the film. The US District Court for the District of New Jersey granted our motion to dismiss, finding that the film is fictional, does not portray specific individuals and does not support a legal claim.
  • Represented defendants in trademark infringement action relating to use of a particular phrase in the title of a TV series.
  • Represent defendant in action alleging breach of contract, fiduciary duty and accounting by an actor over contingent participation from a long-running TV series.

Presentations and Events

  • Facilitator| Hot Issues in Entertainment
    January 31 – February 2, 2019
  • Los Angeles Intellectual Property Law Association Spring Seminar 2017
    Co-presenter | Copyright Year in Review
    May 5, 2017