FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

Thomas G. Kjellberg

Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman. P.C.

New York, NY, USA


Tom practices in the areas of copyright, right of publicity and trademark law.  Tom has represented companies large and small in copyright licensing, litigation and enforcement matters.  Tom speaks and writes frequently on copyright and related issues, and is the chief author of the annual review of copyright decisions published each year in the Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA and delivered at the Copyright Society’s annual meeting.  Tom is a past Trustee of the Society. 

Significant cases include Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc., 137 S. Ct. 1002 (2017) (setting the standard for copyrightability of creative artwork incorporated into the design of a useful article); Penguin Group (USA) Inc. v. American Buddha, 609 F.3d 30 (2d Cir. 2010), 16 N.Y.3d 295 (2011) (on certified question), 640 F. 3d 497 (2d Cir. 2011) (concerning New York long-arm jurisdiction in copyright infringement cases involving copyrighted literary works on the Internet); Figure Eight Holdings, LLC v. Dr. Jay’s, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107140 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 21, 2011) (obtaining grant of summary judgment of non-infringement of visual artwork for defendants), 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134089 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 18, 2011) (obtaining award of attorneys’ fees for prevailing defendants); Bill Graham Archives v. Dorling Kindersley Ltd., 448 F.3d 605 (2d Cir. 2006) (affirming summary judgment for defendant publisher that “thumbnail” reproductions of seven concert posters in Grateful Dead biography are transformative fair use); Penguin Group (USA) Inc. v. Thomas Steinbeck and Blake Smyle, 537 F.3d 193 (2d Cir. 2008), cert. denied, 129 S. Ct. 2383 (2009) (obtaining appellate reversal that invalidated the attempt by John Steinbeck’s son and granddaughter to terminate Penguin’s publishing agreement under Section 304(d) of the Copyright Act, and upheld Penguin’s right to continue publishing The Grapes of Wrath and other Steinbeck works for their full copyright terms); Hudson v. Universal Studios, Inc., 369 Fed. Appx. 291 (2d Cir. 2010), cert. denied, 131 S. Ct. 1027 (2011) (affirming grant of summary judgment for defendant creators that Eddie Murphy/Martin Lawrence film Life did not infringe copyright in plaintiff’s play).  Tom has participated in the drafting of amicus curiae briefs on behalf of organizations including the RIAA, the MPAA and Sony Computer Entertainment America.

Tom earned his J.D. in 1998 from Fordham Law School, where he was awarded First Place in the Nathan Burkan Memorial Writing Competition sponsored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.  He is admitted to the bars of the State of New York, the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the Second, Sixth and Ninth Circuits, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Thomas G. Kjellberg is associated with the following items:
Live Seminar  Live Seminar Fundamentals of Copyright Law in the Data Era 2018, Thursday, June 28, 2018, New York, NY
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