Overview

Margaret Wheeler-Frothingham is an associate in Mayer Brown’s New York office and a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property practice.

While Margaret represents clients across a broad range of industries, her practice has a particular emphasis on the music, media, technology and fashion and retail industries. Margaret represents both plaintiffs and defendants in infringement actions in federal court and represents licensees in 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 also represents digital music services, retailers, social media platforms, and other content users in negotiations and pre-litigation disputes with record labels, music publishers, photographers and other rights holders.  She is adept at guiding clients through settlement negotiations, and if necessary, to a final judgement.

Margaret’s trademark litigation practice includes representing brands in trademark and trade dress infringement actions and oppositions in Federal court and the TTAB, and negotiating coexistence agreements or other resolutions to trademark disputes. 

In addition to litigation, Margaret counsels clients on a wide variety of intellectual property issues, including clearance, licensing, brand and content protection, digital media issues and DMCA compliance, right of publicity, and pre-publication review.  Margaret also counsels clients on 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 and publishing companies, on a variety of legal and compliance issues and disputes.  Margaret has also represented a prominent police transparency nonprofit in a high-profile litigation surrounding the release of NYPD misconduct and disciplinary records following the 2020 repeal of New York’s police secrecy law §50-a.  In that case, Margaret worked to secure a ruling declining to enjoin the release of many such records pending the resolution of the case’s merits.

Experience

  • Representing Music Choice, the world's first digital music service, in music royalty related proceedings before Copyright Royalty Board and in Federal court.
  • Counseling various corporate clients on copyright and trademark issues, including best practices under the DMCA.
  • Negotiating successful resolutions to copyright infringement claims threatened or brought against clients in connection with allegedly unauthorized online uses of photographs and music.
  • Counseling numerous prominent companies in the retail, beauty, and finance industry on domestic and international trademark clearance, prosecution and portfolio management.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 specialty retailer in a design patent, trademark and copyright infringement case brought alleging cutting-edge intellectual property claims against an online retail and resale platform. In widely reported rulings, Margaret’s client prevailed against motions to dismiss various claims challenging the defendant’s business practices under theories of trademark and copyright infringement, and Margaret helped the client secure a favorable settlement.
  • Counseled a prominent “Big Tech” company on the copyright property implications of proposed features of its augmented reality and virtual reality products.
  • Represented Kraig R. Kast in the 9th Circuit appeal in Erickson v. Kast, in which the Court issued an opinion first impression on issues of vicarious liability and confirmed the standard for vicarious liability in the copyright infringement context, overturning the $450,000 judgment against Mr. Kast.
  • Represented one of China’s largest social media platforms in connection with defending a high stakes U.S. copyright infringement action, negotiating a favorable settlement for the client.
  • Represented a Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute National Design Award winning designer in connection with the unauthorized copying of the client's copyrighted sculptural accessory design by a major television network, and negotiating a favorable settlement for the client.
  • Defended Bill Graham Archives, operator of the Wolfgang’s and Concert Vault music services, in class action copyright infringement litigation arising from allegations that the company failed to secure mechanical and synchronization licenses for on-demand streaming of its collection of live concert audio and video recordings on its websites.
  • Represented wine and spirits company in a trade dress infringement action and related counterclaims for cancellation of plaintiff's registered trade dress.

Education

Fordham University School of Law, JD

Wheaton College, BA, cum laude

Admissions

  • New York