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Michael A. Kahn

Senior Counsel

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” – Yogi Berra

Areas of Concentration

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Media and Entertainment
  • First Amendment

Experience at Work

Mike concentrates his practice in copyright, trademark, First Amendment and media law, including libel and privacy rights. He is a widely recognized trial lawyer in the area of general commercial litigation, and regularly advises clients on a range of intellectual property matters.

A veteran of numerous jury trials, Mike has handled lawsuits and arbitrations in various venues across the nation. He has served as a court-appointed mediator in a variety of intellectual property lawsuits, including copyright, trademark, patent and libel cases. 

In the Community

In addition to his active practice, Mike is an adjunct professor at Washington University School of Law, where he teaches an upper level course on Censorship and Free Expression. He is also the award-winning author of numerous novels and short stories.

Mike serves on the Board of Advisers of the Gateway Journalism Review and is active in the Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts.

Awards & Recognitions

Awards

  • St. Louis Small Business Monthly, Best IP Attorney (2021 & 2022)
  • Missouri Lawyers Weekly, Legal Champion (2020)
  • St. Louis Small Business Monthly, Best Patent Attorney (2018)
  • The Best Lawyers in America® | Lawyer of the Year: Copyright Law, St. Louis (2012, 2014, 2018, & 2020)
  • The Best Lawyers in America® | Lawyer of the Year: Litigation – First Amendment, St. Louis (2015)
  • The Best Lawyers in America® | Lawyer of the Year: Litigation – Intellectual Property, St. Louis (2013)
  • The Best Lawyers in America® | Copyright Law; Entertainment Law – Motion Pictures and Television; Entertainment Law – Music; First Amendment Law; Litigation – First Amendment; Litigation – Intellectual Property; and Media Law, St. Louis (2009 – Present)
  • Super Lawyers® | Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers List, Super Lawyer (2005 – Present)
  • St. Louis Book Award

Recognitions

  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow

Significant Experience

Representations

  • The musicians who created the “Joyful Noise” song in their copyright infringement lawsuit against Katy Perry, Lukasz Gottwald (Dr. Luke), Capitol Records, and other defendants over the Katy Perry song “Dark Horse.” [Gray, et al. v. Perry, et al, Civil Action 2:15-cv-5642 (C.D.Cal.)]
  • The Mike Tyson tattoo artist in his copyright infringement lawsuit over the use of his facial tattoo artwork on another character in the motion picture The Hangover Part II. [Whitmill v. Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., Civil Action No. 4:11-cv-752 (E.D. Mo.)]
  • International photographer Michael Eastman in his copyright infringement lawsuit against NBCUniversal and Bravo TV over use of one of his photographs in an episode of Million Dollar Decorators [Eastman et al v. NBCUniversal Media, LLC et al, Civil Action No. 4:11-cv-1296 (E.D. Mo.)]
  • Successfully represented various firms (including professional sports teams, radio and TV stations, and newspapers) and individuals (including authors, artists and professional athletes) in connection with copyright, trademark, First Amendment and general commercial litigation.
  • Has been counsel of record for the National Basketball Association, Oprah Winfrey, Lions Gate Entertainment, Mark McGwire, McFarlane Toys, Radio One, Emmis Communications, the St. Louis Business Journal, Eveready Battery Company, The New York Yankees, Paramount Pictures, and The Topps Company in various disputes.
  • Has negotiated intellectual property licenses with professional sports leagues, publishers, musicians, and others.
  • Oversees the intellectual property portion of the due diligence process in mergers, acquisitions, and joint venture deals for the firm’s clients.
  • Awarded for services as special counsel to the Examiner in a major bankruptcy proceeding in St. Louis, the only bonus ever given by a bankruptcy court to an examiner’s counsel.

Knowledge & Insights

Speaking Engagements

  • The Legal Side of Writing and Publishing. Business Edge Workshop. Volunteer Attorneys and Accountants for the Art. St. Louis, MO. (2022)
  • Rebranding Trademarks: Challenges of Walking Away and Choosing a New Mark. Strafford Publication. Webinar. (2021)
  • Copyright Myth Busters. Business Edge Workshop. Volunteer Attorneys and Accountants for the Art. St. Louis, MO. (2019)
  • Lawsuits of the Rich and Famous: The Hazards of Celebrity Promotions. Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. St. Louis, MO. (2013) 
  • ABCs of Intellectual Property. St. Louis County Law Library. St. Louis, MO. (2013) 
  • New Wine in Old Bottles: Fair Use in an Era of New Use. The Missouri Bar. (2007)
  • Weird Issues in Copyright Law. Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. St. Louis, MO. (2007) 

Publications

  • Scary New World.The Best Lawyers in America® Business Edition. (2017)
  • “Worse Law School Advice Ever.” Washington University Journal of Law & Policy. Vol. 53 (147). (2017)
  • “From Shylock to Billy Budd: The Literary Headline Trial.” St. Louis University Law Journal. Vol. 54(4). (2011)
  • “Bulls in the China Shop.” Belles Lettres: A Literary Review. Vol. V(2). (2004)
  • “The Missouri Franchise Act: Much Ado About Nothing.” St. Louis Bar Journal. (1991)

Teaching

  • Censorship and Free Expression. Washington University School of Law | Adjunct Professor

Firm Insights

Admissions & Qualifications

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • U.S Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
    • Seventh Circuit
    • Eighth Circuit
    • Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts
    • Eastern District of Missouri
    • Northern District of Illinois
    • Central District of Illinois
    • Southern District of Illinois

Educational Background

  • J.D., Harvard University, cum laude (1979)
  • M.A., Northwestern University (1975)
  • B.A., Amherst College, magna cum laude (1974)

Leadership & Community Engagement

Current Leadership Positions

  • Gateway Journalism Review | Board of Advisers

Professional Organizations

  • American Bar Association
  • Missouri Bar
  • Illinois Bar Association
  • The Authors Guild
  • Mystery Writers of America
  • Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
  • The Copyright Society of the USA
Is Donald Trump’s You-Know-What Too Tiny to Trademark? Trumped Again in a “Small” 1st Amendment Triumph
How’s My Post? Dial 1-800-EYE-ROLL: Life in a Fuct Trademark Universe
Kahn to Present on the Legal Side of Writing and Publishing