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Karin Pagnanelli

Partner, through her Professional Corporation - los angeles


Legal Expertise

Karin Pagnanelli is the National Chair of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp’s Entertainment & IP Litigation Practice Group, Co-Chair of the Video Game Practice Group, and is a member of the firm's management. She specializes in copyright and trademark actions, and in particular, focuses on issues of first impression relevant to the entertainment industry. Karin is consistently recognized for her work by publications such as Chambers USA, World Intellectual Property Review, World Trademark Review, Managing IP, Legal 500, The Recorder, Los Angeles Business Journal, Daily Journal, Profiles in Diversity Journal, Super Lawyers, and BTI Consulting Group.

Representative Matters

  • Successful representation of Activision Blizzard in “title v. title” trademark infringement action.
  • Lead Counsel in successful litigation for Activision Blizzard in action alleging copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and right of publicity, including the recovery of attorney’s fees.
  • Lead counsel in successful representation of Ubisoft Entertainment in copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and right of publicity litigation in federal court.
  • As lead counsel for defense, obtained summary judgment for Activision Blizzard, Inc., Activision Publishing, Inc., and Major League Gaming Corp. in a high-profile dispute in the Southern District of New York involving challenges to the realistic depictions of the military vehicle, HUMVEE, in "Call of Duty." Dismissed all of Plaintiff’s claims for trademark and trade dress infringement, unfair competition, false designation of origin, false advertising, and dilution under the Lanham Act and New York law. 
  • Lead counsel in the successful representation of Blizzard Entertainment and Valve Corporation in a copyright infringement suit against uCool and Lilith involving many of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.’s high-profile video games such as "World of Warcraft," "Diablo III," and "StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty."
  • Successful representation of Sony Music in a trademark infringement lawsuit against the label and members of the British pop group One Direction brought by an American group with the same name.
  • Successful representation of Activision Blizzard and obtained summary judgment against Axl Rose’s tort and contract claims concerning Guitar Hero III.
  • Lead counsel in the successful representation of Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games in a trademark infringement lawsuit alleging the company’s game “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” infringes upon the marks of a Los Angeles business establishment.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of Activision in trademark lawsuit involving the popular video game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.” 
  • Obtained $7 million judgment on behalf of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. against the maker of a popular software “bot” that enabled users to cheat in the video game “World of Warcraft.”
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. on copyright and right of publicity claims arising from a set of recordings used to voice a “World of Warcraft” character.
  • Representation in groundbreaking file-sharing litigations on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America, including Napster, Aimster, Grokster, and Bittorrent. 
  • Represented six major record companies in a high-profile action against an internet website engaged in the large-scale distribution, sale and public performance of sound recordings, including thousands of remastered recordings by the Beatles.
  • Represent Ultra International Music Publishing, LLC in asserting claims of copyright infringement against Defendant in connection with, inter alia, Defendant's YouTube channel.
  • Representation in copyright lawsuit against Sony Corporation brought by software publisher arising from a Chinese government mandate concerning the software filter known as “Green Dam.”
  • Represent AOL in a trademark infringement action against 
  • Represent Hit Entertainment in a wide range of intellectual property disputes and licensing issues.
  • Represented NBC Universal as amicus curiae in action against YouTube.
  • Representation in multi-national effort that successfully shut down a website trafficking in ripping software that enabled cracking of anti-copying protection on DVDs.
  • Designed and implemented anti-piracy programs for video game publishers, music publishers, and record companies relating to the infringement of copyrighted works online.
  • Representation of 23 RIAA members in a copyright infringement action against a CD manufacturing plant, resulting in a jury trial award of approximately $136 million in damages, the largest copyright verdict in U.S. history. Award upheld by 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Represent major furniture designer and manufacturer in trademark litigation filed by Marlon Brando Estate and Clint Eastwood.
  • Represent Microsoft, HP, Dell and Acer in patent infringement lawsuit involving file synchronization technology.
  • Represent AT&T in a large patent infringement case involving control and monitoring software.
  • Represent One World Technologies in patent infringement trial involving laser guided saw.
  • Represent counter defendant-appellant Ormco Corp. on patent claims, obtaining a reversal of summary judgment for counterplaintiff-appellee and claims held obvious.
  • Represent defendant in claim involving patent on pneumatic foot controller. Obtained summary judgment in favor of defendant on non-infringement.
  • Represent the largest theatrical motion picture exhibition circuit in the country in a dispute over the film rental percentage to be paid to an independent distributor for one of the largest grossing motion pictures of 2004.
  • Represent international nutritional supplement company in trademark litigation. Jury awarded over $3 million in damages.
  • Represent the RIAA in internet copyright enforcement litigation.
  • Awarded summary judgment with respect to dispute over ownership of master recordings of the Allman Brothers Band.

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America© in:
    • Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television (2024)
  • “Leading Lawyer," Media & Entertainment: Litigation, California, Chambers USA (2023)
  • "Outstanding IP Practitioner," World Intellectual Property Review Leaders Directory (2023) 
  • "The World's Leading Trademark Professionals" - United States: California, World Trademark Review 1000 (2016, 2018-2022, 2024)
  • "Women Worth Watching," Profiles in Diversity Journal (2021)
  • "Top Trademark Star," Managing IP (2020-2021)
  • "Top Copyright Star," Managing IP (2020-2021)
  • "Recommended Attorney" in Intellectual Property - Copyright, Legal 500 (2017 & 2018)
  • "Women Leaders in Tech Law," The Recorder (2017)
  • "Most Influential Intellectual Property Attorneys," Los Angeles Business Journal (2017)
  • "Most Influential Women Lawyers," Los Angeles Business Journal (2017)
  • "BTI Client Service All-Star," BTI Consulting Group (2017)
  • "Who's Who in Intellectual Property Law," Los Angeles Business Journal (2012)
  • "Top 75 Intellectual Property Litigators in California," Daily Journal (2012)
  • "Top 75 Women Litigators in California," Daily Journal (2011)
  • "Top 5% of lawyers in Southern California," Southern California Super Lawyers (2004-2015, 2017-2024)
  • “Top 50 Under 45,” IP Law & Business (2008)

Other Career Experience

  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Charles F. Eick, United States Magistrate Judge, USDC, Central District of California
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Virginia A. Phillips, now United States District Judge, USDC, Central District of California




  • California
  • U.S. District Court
  •    Central District of California
  •    Eastern District of California
  •    Northern District of California
  •    Southern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
  •    First Circuit
  •    Seventh Circuit
  •    Ninth Circuit
  •    Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


Southwestern Law School, J.D.; magna cum laude

Board of Editors - Research Editor, Southwestern University Law Review; Recipient, Federal Bar Association Federal Practice Award; Dean's Merit Scholar; National Dean's List

California State University, Long Beach, B.A. With Distinction

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