John Gatti is a litigator with a practice focused in the entertainment, media and sports industries. John brings more than 30 years of litigation and trial experience in state, federal and bankruptcy courts as well as representing individuals and corporations in complex business and commercial lawsuits.
Widely recognized as a leader in the entertainment industry by publications such as The Hollywood Reporter, clients including studios, television networks, film financers, talent, gaming and sports entities, and independent entertainment production companies look to John as a trusted advisor. His experience includes providing counsel on actions for breach of contract; unfair competition; copyright and trademark infringement; profit participation claims; idea submission claims; and media torts, including defamation, invasion of privacy, right to publicity and use of celebrity name and likeness in all media, including the Internet.
Select examples of John’s prior firm experience include:
- Represented the former chairman of a film production studio and two-time Academy Award–winning producer, during four years of litigation culminating in a four-week jury trial. The verdict was 12–0 in favor of plaintiffs in an entertainment industry precedent-setting case involving the methods of allocation of television licensing fees to films packaged with other films. The jury verdict found that plaintiffs’ films had been underallocated by the studio in the total amount of $96 million. In addition, the jury found by 12–0 vote that studio’s’ licensing practices breached plaintiffs’ contract and violated the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing pursuant to California law. This jury verdict was the first of its kind and has had significant ramifications for the entertainment industry. In a partially published opinion, the California Court of Appeal upheld the jury verdict in a 3–0 decision. In addition, the Court of Appeal remanded the client’s claims of fraud, breach of contract for loss of credit and improper accounting for trial before the fact-finder. The California Supreme Court denied the studio’s petition for review.
- Defended a television network against net profit claims made by the heirs of a major Hollywood star.
- Represented a television network in a copyright dispute challenging the network’s ownership of the theme song to an iconic television show. The plaintiffs dismissed their claims with prejudice.
- Represented multiple film studios in an action filed by the guild representing musicians responsible for scoring films. This case alleged that the studios breached the guild’s 2010 collective bargaining agreement with the studios by producing two movies in the United States but allegedly scoring the movies outside the United States. The case was significant because it had the potential to impact how all studios interpret the guild’s collective bargaining agreement as it relates to production activities.
- Represented an American film production studio as a plaintiff in connection with litigation involving nonpayment by local television stations of over $20 million in licensing fees owed for the broadcast of two popular animated television shows. The case involved litigating the film production studio’s contracts giving it sole discretion to license its programming as it determines.
- Resolved a significant matter for an American film production studio in a federal court action filed by the guild representing musicians responsible for scoring films. The guild’s claims reached into the multimillions because of the extensive licensing activities at issue.
- Represented a leading Internet fashion publisher against trademark infringement claims involving its use of its trademark for “mydomaine.” This case was significant because it addressed complex trademark rights and the ability to exploit those rights in digital media. The case involved cutting-edge digital and Internet publishing and marketing rights.
- Represented plaintiff in a five-week jury trial for the producer on an idea submission claim, leading to a jury verdict of $5 million in favor of our client, including punitive damages.
- Defended a television network against copyright and trademark infringement claims. Summary judgment was granted in the network’s favor in a published opinion.
- Motion to dismiss granted an injunction denied in favor of the client, allowing the client to compete for the WBO Heavyweight Boxing Championship.
- Defended the studio and television network against idea submission claims. The case was dismissed in our client’s favor.
- Defended studio and television producers against idea submission claims in a four-month jury trial.
- Represented a diet drink distributor in a federal trademark and trade dress action.
- Representation of high-net-worth individuals and corporate clients in employment litigation, including trade secrets and right to compete.
- Representation of film and television companies in entertainment guild arbitrations.
- University of Southern California, Gould School of Law, J.D.
- University of Southern California, B.S.
- Named among top entertainment lawyers in Variety's "Legal Impact Report" (2023)
- Named in Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business, in Media & Entertainment: Litigation, (2020-2021 and 2023 editions)
- Named in The Legal 500 US in Copyright and Media & Entertainment: Litigation, published by Legalease Limited and John Pritchard (2023)
- Named a "Litigation Star" by Benchmark Litigation (2024)
- Named in The Hollywood Reporter’s National Top 100 Influential Attorneys in Entertainment (2007-2020)
- Named "Best Lawyer" in Litigation - Intellectual Property (2018-2024) and Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures & Television (2023 and 2024), The Best Lawyers in America, published by Woodward White, Inc.
- Named "Southern California Super Lawyer" in Business Litigation by Thomson Reuters (2009-2022)
- Advisory Board Member, University of Southern California Entertainment Institute
- Past Advisory Board Member, The Association of Media & Entertainment Counsel (AMEC)
- Board Member, Junior Achievement of Southern California
- Member Emeritus, Board of Directors, Inner City Law Center
- Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association