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Marshall J. Nelson

Marshall Nelson’s practice is focused on intellectual property, First Amendment, and media law. For many years he has served as copyright, trademark, and advertising counsel for major clients of the firm, handling strategic planning, clearance, registration, licensing and contested matters for a wide range of businesses, with particular emphasis in the communications, media, and health care industries. He also advises and represents newspapers, broadcasters, authors, publishers, and online media on First Amendment, copyright, and media issues. A frequent speaker and author in these areas, Marshall is also the author of amicus briefs in both the Washington and U.S. Supreme Courts on significant media issues.

Marshall's clients include: Kaiser Permanente, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Benaroya Research Institute, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Northwest Kidney Center, Adjusters International, The Seattle Times, Allied Daily Newspapers, Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, Mountaineers Books, Teatro ZinZanni, and many authors, including Charles Cross, Ivan Doig, and John Medina. Marshall was also counsel to Gary Larson and FarWorks, Inc., for many years.

Practice Highlights

Management of copyright registration and enforcement programs for various clients.

Copyright clearance and licensing of extensive medical resource material incorporated in Kaiser Permanente’s HealthConnect EMR system.

Copyright clearance, registration, licensing and prepublication review for "The Complete Far Side" and animated feature films "Tales From The Far Side I and II."

Consulting counsel for defendant/appellees in Brownmark Films v. Comedy Partners, 682 F.3d 687 (7th Cir. 2012) affirming fair use defense for parody by Comedy Central's "South Park."

Management of domestic and international trademark portfolios for numerous clients, including strategic planning, clearance, registration and maintenance, enforcement, and representation in Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) and Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) proceedings.

Consulting counsel for defendant in Sony Ericsson Mobile v. Clearwire Corporation, No. 1:2011cv00048 U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. Va. (2/16/2011) defeating motion for preliminary injunction.

Consulting counsel for co-defendant Cingular Wireless in RIM v. Samsung, CV 06-07797, U.S. Dist. Ct., C.D. Ca., (1/10/2007) successfully settled to retain Cingular’s right to use its trademark.

Lead counsel for The Seattle Times in successful motions to open sealed court files in more than 35 King County Superior Court proceedings, resulting in changes in local court procedures and news stories that were among finalists for 2007 Pulitzer Prizes.

Argued newspaper’s right of access to teacher sexual misconduct records before Washington Supreme Court in Bellevue John Does v. Bellevue School District and Seattle Times Company, 164 Wn.2d 199, 210 (2008).

Represented media organizations as amicus curiae before Washington Supreme Court in In re Orange, 152 Wn.2d 795 (2004) establishing right to open court proceedings at all stages of criminal trials.

Represented The Seattle Times in Seattle Times Company v. Ishikawa, 97 Wn.2d 30 (1982) landmark case setting rights of media access to court proceedings and records.

Additional Qualifications

  • Former Licensing Administrator for educational music publisher
  • U.S. Army Officer, Signal Corps, 1966-1969

Professional & Community Activities

  • Past Chair, Intellectual Property Section, Washington State Bar Association
  • Past Instructor in Communications Law, University of Washington Department of Communication
  • Past Instructor, Intellectual Property, University of Washington Executive MBA Program
  • Past Instructor, Trademark Registration, University of Washington Intellectual Property Certification Program

Professional Recognition

  • Named one of "America’s Leading Lawyers for Business" in Intellectual Property (Washington) by Chambers USA, 2005, 2006
  • Selected by Best Lawyers as Seattle's "Lawyer of the Year" in First Amendment Law, 2013
  • Named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in First Amendment Law by Best Lawyers, 1993-present; named in Intellectual Property Law, 1995-present
  • Selected to "Washington Super Lawyers," Thomson Reuters, 1999, 2000, 2002-2015
  • Named to the "World Trademark 1000," by World Trademark Review, 2012-present 

Alexandra Nicholson recognized in the WTR 1000, read release