Theresa House is seasoned litigator with a focus on media and intellectual property law. She has devoted her career to advising and protecting the First Amendment and intellectual property rights of her clients principally in the news, entertainment, automotive, and technology industries. Today, in addition to her core editorial, entertainment, and intellectual property work, she works closely with Arnold & Porter's advertising, white collar/investigations, and strategic crisis management practices, to advise and prepare her clients for the range of potential attacks on their ability to engage in free speech and expression.
Ms. House's experience advising major content platforms, technology and Internet companies, movie and television production houses, and radio and cable networks, includes the following principal areas:
- Production/Editorial Advice. Providing day-to-day production and legal advice for a leading cable television network, a major daily newspaper, a popular reality show production house, and a global online platform. Her work includes pre-publication legal review for potential exposure to libel and privacy concerns; confidential sourcing and source attribution requirements; copyright, trademark, and right of publicity issues; wiretapping and trespassing laws; advertising and social media content; talent and location agreements; and licensing and release documentation for news and entertainment programs.
- First Amendment/Free Speech. Routinely responding to legal letters asserting defamation, libel, and privacy claims and persuading would-be plaintiffs not to resort to litigation; successfully defending against such claims in court and before regulators, both in the US and abroad, resulting in precedential decisions protecting free speech, opinion, and commentary; and advising/litigating issues related to attempts by government officials to regulate, retaliate against, and censor speech. Also successfully defending against and giving advice regarding subpoenas and other legal process seeking confidential and non-confidential newsgathering information, including demands for reporter notes, outtakes, testimony, anonymous subscriber information, and electronic devices in both the news and docuseries/reality show context—notably defending against a subpoena seeking to unmask a group of anonymous individuals who reported #MeToo allegations; and winning a precedential New York Court of Appeals decision protecting an investigative journalist from being compelled to reveal confidential newsgathering sourcing in the murder trial of Batman-killer James Holmes.
- Trademark. Providing all aspects of trademark and design protection, advising on US and global trademark portfolio strategy, prosecution, and management, and representing clients in opposition and cancellation proceedings before the US Trademark Trial & Appeal Board. She advises the world's leading internet/technology and automotive companies on their array of trademarks, including conducting over 1,000 on-demand global trademark clearance searches and analyses, issuing and negotiating cease and desist demands that were successfully resolved without formal legal proceedings, prosecuting trademark applications and responding to Office Actions from the US Patent and Trademark Office, and litigating opposition proceedings.
- Copyright/Fair Use/Anti-Piracy. Advising media clients on their rights to make fair use of copyrighted works; defending against copyright lawsuits that falsely claim that her clients' creations infringe pre-existing works; and advising television and radio networks, regarding anti-piracy issues, including disputes relating to unauthorized streaming.
- Protecting a journalist from having to reveal confidential sources in a high-profile criminal case, making new law before the NY Court of Appeals.
- Successfully representing a major cable news network and its employees in defending the first known defamation claim based on alleged "fake news," in a victory that was affirmed on appeal.
- Counseling a media/information company in conducting a high-profile review of data privacy and security practices on a highly compressed timetable.
- Successfully defending against a subpoena seeking to unmask a group of anonymous individuals who reported #MeToo allegations.
- Convincing a local state government not to censor a concert at a high-volume venue based on public statements by a world-famous rock musician.
- Successfully persuaded the US Trademark Office to recognize trademark protection for open-source computer software.
- Trademark clearance and enforcement advice for global trademark portfolio of leading internet and technology company.
- Advising Fortune 500 companies on branding issues, including prosecution of trademark registrations and conducting over 1,000 on-demand global trademark clearance searches and analyses.
- Successfully persuading, without resorting to litigation, multiple news aggregator sites to cease republishing video, radio, and brand content belonging to our client.
- Successfully defending a group of global entertainment companies against a copyright claim based on allegations of copying in popular superhero movie franchises and related properties.
- Winning dismissal of copyright infringement claims against entertainment company based on a popular book series and defending the victory on appeal.
Intellectual Property: Trademarks—Litigation (2019)
- JD, Harvard Law School
- BA, Harvard University, magna cum laude
- New York
- US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- US District Court, Eastern District of New York
- US District Court, Southern District of New York
- Co-Chair, Privacy and Data Security Committee, American Bar Association Section of Litigation (2015-2017)
- Co-Chair, Trial Practice Committee, American Bar Association Section of Litigation (2012-2015)
- Vice Chair, Trial Practice Committee, American Bar Association Section of Litigation (2011-2012)
- Member, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Committee on Media and Communications Law
- Member, Media Law Resource Center Defense Counsel Section, International Media Law Committee and Pre-Publication Review Committee
- Member, New York State Bar Association