Karen S. Frank


Karen Frank is head of the intellectual property business practice and the trademark clearance and prosecution practice. Her 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.

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 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.

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

Management of international trademark portfolios for a wide range of businesses

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

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.

Speaker, “Hot Topics in Fair Use,” PLI Advanced Intellectual Property Institute (October 2019)

Author, “Meeting the Challenges of Public Art Programs in Private Development,” California Real Property Journal, Vol. 37, Issue 2 (2019)

Speaker, “Trademark Related Goods Theory,” Practising Law Institute (October 2018)

Speaker, “Developments in Protecting Trade Dress,” Practising Law Institute (October 2017)

Speaker, “Technotainment: Advertising Challenges in an Interconnected World,” Practising Law Institute (October 2017)

Speaker, “Update on Trademark Initial Interest Confusion,” Practising Law Institute (October 2016)

Speaker, “New Top Level Domains: Protection and Enforcement Issues,” Practising Law Institute (October 2015)

Speaker, “Fashion Rules! (And Laws),” Golden Gate University Intellectual Property Law Institute (February 2015)

Speaker, “Trademark Law Update,” Intellectual Property Law Institute (2014, 2013, & 2012)

Speaker, “Social Media, Fair Use & The Fashion Industry,” Hastings College of the Law Fashion, Art & Design Law Society, Fashion Law Symposium (February 2014)

Speaker, “Illegal Instagram: Fair Use and Photography,” Hastings College of the Law (January 2014)

Speaker, “Copyright Basics, Practice Pointers and Hot Spots in Social Media and Advertising,” State Bar of California Tele-Seminar (July 2012)

Speaker, “Creating and Managing Brand Content on the Web,” ALI-ABA Museum Administrators Conference (March 2012)

Speaker, “Trademark Hot Topics 2011,” PLI Intellectual Property Institute (October 2011)

Speaker, “Trademark Pre-Litigation Checklist: Getting Your Ducks in a Row,” PLI Intellectual Property Institute (October 2010)

Speaker, “IP Rights in Fashion,” San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Institute (May 2010)