Matt Kline is a nationally recognized lawyer with a broad litigation practice who also advises on public policy matters. Matt’s cases are as varied as the clients he represents. Both plaintiffs and defendants rely on Matt’s counsel for trials, arbitrations, and appeals in cases focusing on intellectual property, contract, and international disputes.
His client roster spans industries as diverse as entertainment, technology, private equity, energy, and water. Matt heads the firm’s Water Industry Practice, which helps clients navigate the many transactional, regulatory, and litigation issues implicated by this ever-more-important resource.
He serves as a lecturer, co-teaching a “Business of Water” class at Stanford University. With 18-plus years as a litigator, Matt has extensive experience in cases involving intense public scrutiny, and his work for clients like Warner Bros. and former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling has been featured regularly in the national press.
He has been recognized by Benchmark Litigation, The Legal 500, and Managing Intellectual Property for his litigation work and been named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” or “Super Lawyer” for the past 13 consecutive years.
Matt is also actively involved in public service, including work as counsel on the National War Powers Commission and board service for KCRW, the Center for Early Education, and Cancer for College.
He is Chairman of the Warren Christopher Scholarship committee and devotes hundreds of hours each year to running the 23-year-old scholarship program that serves public high school students from Los Angeles.
He is also an original member of the Contemporary Friends group at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Matt has worked extensively on pro bono matters during his tenure at O’Melveny. His pro bono work has been recognized by the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and National Lawyers Guild.
- Matt’s work on intellectual property disputes includes:
- Representing Warner Bros. and DC Comics in long-running copyright and trademark litigation concerning Superman. As reported in the national press, he helped secure a string of “blockbuster” wins in these cases, including In re Pac. Pictures Corp., 679 F.3d 1121 (9th Cir. 2012); DC Comics v. Pacific Pictures Corp., 2013 WL 120807 (9th Cir. 2013); Larson v. Warner Bros. Entm’t, Inc., 2013 WL 1113259 (9th Cir. 2013); DC Comics v. Pacific Pictures Corp., 545 F. App’x 678 (9th Cir. 2013); and Larson v. Warner Bros. Entm’t Inc., 640 Fed. Appx 630 (9th Circ. 2016).
- Representing Warner Bros. in a variety of other matters, including copyright and idea-theft disputes related to properties like Gravity and Trouble With the Curve; profit participation matters, including matters concerning the movie Goodfellas; and a variety of matters concerning the Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, and Harry Potter franchises. Matt also represents the company in television-related cases and in important First Amendment cases, including a lawsuit brought by former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling—whose lawsuit the court struck under California’s anti-SLAPP statute.
- Matt’s entertainment litigation work also includes defending one of the major television networks in a copyright class action challenging the use of music cues in thousands of television programs, and representing videogame developers in various disputes, including helping secure a nine-figure settlement for plaintiffs in a case involving contract, patent, trade-secret, copyright, and trademark.
- Matt has successfully represented various clients—including skin care, apparel, and media companies—in trademark, false advertising, and unfair competition cases. This includes defending a major clothing maker against a libel trademark action that not only resulted in victory for our client, but in its being awarded its fees and costs.
- Matt’s work on international disputes includes:
- Defending Unocal for several years in a series of lawsuits and investigations arising out of investments in Myanmar (Burma). Matt’s work included briefing before the U.S. and California Supreme Courts, foreign investigations in several countries, and a bench trial in California, in which Unocal defeated plaintiffs’ alter-ego claims.
- Representing many other companies (including Yahoo! and energy and natural resources companies) in Alien Tort Statute and related cases—both in litigation, and before various branches of government. E.g., Saldana v. Occidental Petroleum Corp., 774 F.3d 544 (9th Cir. 2014); Zheng v. Yahoo! Inc., 2009 WL 4430297 (N.D. Cal. 2009). These cases involved claims and work in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, and claims asserted under various sources of international and U.S. law, including privacy laws.
- Handling international arbitrations (including in the International Chamber of Commerce), as well as investigations in Afghanistan, Asia, and the Middle East related to criminal and intellectual property matters. Matt has also advised clients on real-estate disputes in a variety of foreign jurisdictions, including Europe and Africa.
- Matt’s work on water issues includes:
- Advising companies on a variety of water rights issues, including new sources of rights, water transfers, limits on groundwater rights, and proof of concept of new water businesses.
- Advising on water rights disputes, including defending a major energy company in a series of water rights and water quality cases, including a successful First Amendment defense in a RICO action Committee to Protect Our Agricultural Water v. Occidental Oil & Gas Corp., 235 F.Supp.3d 1132 (E.D. Cal. 2017).
- University of California at Berkeley, J.D., 1999: Order of the Coif; Editor-in-Chief, California Law Review; Moot Court Advocacy Award; Teaching Assistant for Contracts and Constitutional Law
- University of California at Santa Barbara, B.A., 1996: College Honors; University Service Award; May Company Award; Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Catalyst: The UCSB Undergraduate Creative Works Publication
- Chairman, Warren Christopher Scholarship Committee
- Chairman of the Board, KCRW Foundation, Inc.
- Board Member, Cancer for College
- Pacific Council on International Policy
- Staff Member, National War Powers Commission
- Honorable Edward R. Becker, Chief Judge, US Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
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