Karen S. Frank


Karen Frank’s practice covers virtually every aspect of intellectual property, including copyright, trademark, domain names, unfair competition, right of publicity, branding and advertising, privacy and the Internet. She represents clients in a diverse range of industries, including finance, advertising, technology, food, wine, luxury goods, fashion, music, entertainment, and education, and is a trusted advisor to several of the Bay Area’s most well-known museums.

Her practice focuses on licensing and services agreements, print and electronic publishing agreements, intellectual property counseling, clearance and enforcement, content acquisition and performance issues, advertising clearance, and rights and privacy issues relating to websites and the Internet.

Notable Representations

  • Representation of a major science and natural history museum in rights clearance issues in exhibits, planetariums productions and content licensing agreements
  • Negotiation of publishing agreements for authors and illustrators
  • Development of content database and digital rights management and distribution program for leading scientific institution
  • Development of content licensing program for digital scientific magazine
  • Representation of a major music performing rights organization in its Northern California enforcement activities
  • Negotiation of services agreements for advertising and communications agencies
  • Negotiation of a range of content licensing agreements, for print, music, and video content
  • Representation of a range of food and beverage companies for distribution agreements, co-pack agreements, advertising and trademark licensing
  • Review and clearance of content and advertising claims for advertising agencies and their clients
  • Review and advice on IP, privacy and other compliance issues for social media advertising campaigns
  • Review and advice regarding contests and sweepstakes
  • IP and business advice and counseling for fashion companies, including enforcement of proprietary designs and images
  • Representation of social entrepreneurial ventures in general business activities, advertising activities and commercial co-venturing projects
  • Management of international trademark portfolios and enforcement of trademark rights

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • "Update on Trademark Initial Interest Confusion," Practising Law Institute (October 2016)
  • "New Top Level Domains: Protection and Enforcement Issues," Practising Law Institute (October 2015)
  • "Fashion Rules! (And Laws),” Golden Gate University Intellectual Property Law Institute (February 2015)
  • "Trademark Law Update,” Intellectual Property Law Institute (October 2014)
  • "Social Media, Fair Use & The Fashion Industry,” Hastings College of the Law Fashion, Art & Design Law Society, Fashion Law Symposium (February 2014)
  • "Illegal Instagram: Fair Use and Photography," Hastings College of the Law (January 2014)
  • "Trademark Law Update," Intellectual Property Law Institute (October 2013)
  • "Trademark Law Update," Intellectual Property Law Institute (September 2012)
  • "Copyright Basics, Practice Pointers and Hot Spots in Social Media and Advertising," State Bar of California Tele-Seminar (July 2012)
  • "Creating and Managing Brand Content on the Web," ALI-ABA Museum Administrators Conference (March 2012)
  • "Trademark Hot Topics 2011," PLI Intellectual Property Institute (October 2011)
  • "Trademark Pre-Litigation Checklist: Getting Your Ducks in a Row," PLI Intellectual Property Institute (October 2010)
  • “IP Rights in Fashion," San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Institute (May 2010)

Honors & Awards

Karen was named the Best Lawyers® 2018 Copyright Law "Lawyer of the Year" in San Francisco, and is listed annually by Best Lawyers in America® in the Copyright Law and Intellectual Property Litigation categories. She was named a Top 250 Women in IP by Managing Intellectual Property Magazine, and is recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer and a Martindale Hubbell AV-Rated Attorney.  Karen was selected by her peers for inclusion in the 2007 and 2009 Who's Who Legal: California, Trademarks chapter and is listed in Who's Who in American Law, 2009 and 2010 and Who's Who in America, 2007 – 2012.

Professional Activities

Karen is past president of the Copyright Society of the USA; former chair of the Copyright Society of Northern California; a member of the American Law Institute, and a member of the International Trademark Association.

Karen is an annual member of the faculty for the Practicing Law Institute (PLI) Advanced Intellectual Property Institute and is a frequent speaker on intellectual property issues.


Karen serves on the Board of Directors of the Oakland Museum of California, and has served on the boards of the Lake Tahoe Summerfest, Legal Community Against Violence, the Emeryville Chamber of Commerce, and Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation. She volunteers with Bay Area YearUp and Foster a Dream.


Karen received her undergraduate degree from Connecticut College and her law degree from the University of California, Hastings School of Law where she was Executive Articles Editor for COMM/ENT Journal of Communications and Entertainment Law.

Case Studies

California Academy of Sciences

Coblentz is lead counsel for the California Academy of Sciences, handling its real estate, development, finance, intellectual property and litigation matters. The Academy, in Golden Gate Park, is a more than 300,000 square foot museum, aquarium, planetarium, associated retail space and amenities...

Plum Inc.

Coblentz represents this fast growing Bay Area company in its brand acquisition and enforcement activities. Plum Inc. is home to some of the leading organic baby and kids food brands and was recently ranked by Inc. Magazine in the top 100 of the nation’s 500 fastest growing companies.


Revolution Foods

Coblentz provides brand acquisition, licensing, and enforcement services to Revolution Foods, a food company providing healthy and organic school lunches to schools in Northern and Southern California, Colorado, Washington DC, New York and New Jersey. Revolution Foods also provides healthy...

Two Degrees

Coblentz provides branding, licensing, and distribution support to Two Degrees, a mission-driven snack bar company, focusing on childhood hunger. For each healthy-gluten free snack bar Two Degrees sells, it contributes a meal to a hungry child somewhere in the world.