Margaret Wheeler-Frothingham is a managing associate in the New York office. Her practice covers all aspects of copyright and trademark litigation, as well as counseling, licensing and prosecution.
While Margaret represents clients across a broad range of industries, her practice has a particular emphasis on the music, media and fashion industries. Margaret litigates copyright infringement actions and royalty rate setting proceedings – including before the Copyright Royalty Board, where she obtained one of only two royalty rate reductions ever granted in that court. Margaret represents digital music services, as well as other content users in negotiations and disputes with record labels, music publishers, photographers and other rights holders.
Margaret’s trademark practice includes representing fashion, hospitality and alcoholic beverage companies in trademark and trade dress infringement litigations in federal court and proceedings before the TTAB.
In addition to litigation, Margaret counsels companies ranging from local hospitality venues to multinational fashion retailers on a wide variety of issues, including clearance, licensing, brand protection, digital media issues and DMCA compliance, and right of publicity. She has represented the global trademark portfolios of multinational corporations in connection with international and domestic trademark prosecution, enforcement and litigation. She also assists her clients with licensing and other IP transactions.
Margaret is actively involved in pro bono work. She has counseled individual musicians and artists, as well as nonprofit media companies, on a variety of legal and compliance issues.
Opinion, Levola Hengelo BV v Smilde Foods BV, Case C-310/17
In an unfortunate queso failed copyright claims, Levola Hengelo, a Dutch food processor of once Humboldt beginnings, has lost a court case in which it attempted to enforce copyright protection in the taste of its cheese product, Heks’nkaas.
Levola had become salty after a competitor, Smilde Foods, started raking in the cheddar by selling cheese spread with a similar taste. Levola brought claims against Smilde for infringing alleged copyright in the taste of Heks’nkaas. READ MORE
Steve Madden, Ltd., vs. Jasmin Larian, LLC, 1:18-cv-02043 (SDNY)
Early this spring, fashion company Steve Madden filed an action for declaratory judgment in a trademark dispute with up-and-coming designer, Jasmin Larian, responding to a series of cease and desist letters in which the latter accused Steve Madden of copying its handbags. Steve Madden sought declaratory judgment that Jasmin Larian’s bag was a generic handbag ubiquitous in the handbag market, and thus not entitled to protection under the Lanham Act. Steve Madden’s allegations hinged on the claims that the Jasmin Larian handbag at issue – the Cult Gaia Ark bag – “slavishly copies the traditional bamboo picnic bag design (‘Traditional Japanese Design’) from the 1940s.” READ MORE