- University of Chicago Law School (J.D., 1980)
- Wesleyan University (B.A., 1977)
Steve Marenberg is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Irell & Manella LLP, where he is a member of the litigation practice group. His practice encompasses a wide range of commercial litigation matters, with particular concentrations in the areas of entertainment, high-technology and intellectual property litigation, and antitrust and business tort disputes. Mr. Marenberg's clients include some of the nation's leading motion picture studios, television networks, independent production companies, music companies, interactive game companies and entertainers, as well as prominent high-tech firms. He is a member of the firm's Executive Committee and head of its entertainment-litigation practice.
Awards and Recognition
Mr. Marenberg is recognized as one of the country's foremost litigators. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the area of commercial litigation and in the current Legal 500 US guide. In its Chambers USA Leading Lawyers for Business Guide, Chambers & Partners lists Mr. Marenberg as a leading media and entertainment litigator, describing him as "smart, thoughtful and tough" and "reassuring and strategically excellent." For many years, Mr. Marenberg has been selected for inclusion in Southern California "Super Lawyers" by Los Angeles Magazine, and listed among the "Top 100 Power Lawyers" by The Hollywood Reporter. The Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals have named Mr. Marenberg one of California's "Top 10 Entertainment IP" lawyers and one of California's "75 Leading IP Litigators."
Experience and Engagements
Mr. Marenberg has extensive trial experience in federal and state courts, arbitrations and administrative proceedings. In the last 24 months, Mr. Marenberg has successfully tried matters for the country's largest music company, a leading Hollywood studio and a prominent video game publisher, among others. His other high profile engagements include:
- representing the leading electronic game company in an interrelated series of lawsuits relating to the best-selling "Call of Duty" series of videogames;
- defending Warner Bros. Pictures in a lawsuit with Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, and in related proceedings, concerning the rights to the motion picture Watchmen;
- representing a leading internet infrastructure service corporation in a series of multi-party business tort actions arising out of a well-publicized credit card data security breach;
- representing Universal Music Group in several copyright infringement lawsuits concerning the legality of displaying music videos on "user generated content" websites such as myspace.com, grouper.com and veoh.com; and
- representing the acclaimed writer and director Peter Jackson in a dispute with New Line Pictures concerning Mr. Jackson's profit participation for the blockbuster Lord of the Rings trilogy of motion pictures.
Professional and Community Activities
- Mr. Marenberg currently serves as Chairperson and member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of The Alliance for Children's Rights, Los Angeles’ largest legal services organization focusing on providing legal services to Los Angeles County’s underprivileged children. He is a member of the board of the Friends of the Saban Free Clinic (formerly the Los Angeles Free Clinic). Mr. Marenberg currently serves on the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Law School. He is a former member of the Board of Governors of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers.
- Mr. Marenberg has lectured at many professional seminars, including the ABA Litigation Section Annual Meeting, the ABA Forum on Sports and Entertainment Law Annual Meeting, the PLI Antitrust Law Institute, the USC Entertainment Law Institute and the USC Computer Law Institute.
- Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Marenberg served as a law clerk to Judge James B. Moran of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He is admitted to practice in the states of California and Illinois.
Other Representative Matters
- Representing Universal Music Group before the California Supreme Court in HLC Properties, Ltd. v. MCA Records, Inc., 35 Cal. 4th 54 (2005), a landmark case defining the scope of the attorney-client privilege in California.
- Defending Mark Burnett, Donald Trump and NBC Universal in Bethea v. Burnett, 2005 WL 1720631 (C.D. Cal. 2005), a copyright infringement case involving the NBC television series, "The Apprentice."
- Defending THQ Inc. in a series of RICO and commercial bribery suits involving rights to the highly successful WWE video game series, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. v. Jakks Pacific, Inc., et al., 530 F. Supp. 2d 486 (S.D.N.Y. 2007) and 425 F. Supp. 2d 484 (S.D.N.Y. 2006).
- Representing Pixar and others in the successful defense of copyright and trademark claims relating to the animated motion pictures Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo and The Incredibles.
- Representing Italy's largest motion picture distributor in dispute regarding film financing and distribution that resulted in favorable multi-million dollar judgment after trial.
- Defending the well-known recording artist, Stevie Wonder, against claims of copyright infringement in Coles v. Wonder, 283 F. 3d 798 (6th Cir. 2002), involving one of the artist's Grammy Award winning songs.
- Serving as counsel for one of Hollywood's largest motion picture studios in the defense of an industry-wide class action alleging that the studios had conspired to impose unconscionable "net profits" restrictions in motion picture talent contracts and in the defense of individual actions raising similar claims.
- Providing counsel to the Recording Industry Association of America ("RIAA") in connection with legislative hearings relating to legislation governing record company royalty accounting practices and amendments to California's "7-year rule" relating to personal services contracts.
- Counseling a leading interactive game company in connection with the FTC's investigation of the marketing of violent entertainment to children and in related litigation.
- Defending one of the largest international music companies in connection with several governmental investigations and private antitrust class actions alleging that the "major" distributors of recorded music unlawfully fixed the price of compact discs.
Other noteworthy past cases in which Mr. Marenberg has been involved include Southern California Gas Co. v. Texaco Exploration & Production, Inc., et al., where he served as lead counsel for three of the nation's largest oil and gas producers in a complex business tort dispute alleging that natural gas supplied by several producers caused widespread destruction to a utility's distribution system; Buena Vista International, Inc. v. CLT-UFA, S.A., a lawsuit in which he prosecuted claims involving broadcast rights in international television markets; Motown Record Company v. MCA Inc., et al., a complex multi-party litigation among Motown, MCA Inc., PolyGram Records, and various of their affiliates that culminated in the sale of Motown to PolyGram for a purchase price in excess of $300 million, where Mr. Marenberg was lead counsel for Motown; Schlessinger v. Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman, 40 Cal. App. 4th 1096 (1995), in which Mr. Marenberg successfully defended one of Los Angeles' prominent entertainment law firms in a landmark case establishing that summary judgment procedures can be used in arbitration proceedings; United States v. Time Warner, Inc., in which Mr. Marenberg counseled an international music company in the successful defense of a government investigation concerning the licensing of music video rights in the United States and Europe; First Interstate Bancorp v. Computer Associates International, Inc., where Mr. Marenberg represented First Interstate in a dispute with a leading mainframe software vendor; Colorado Interstate Gas Company v. Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, 885 F.2d 683 (10th Cir. 1989), in which Mr. Marenberg and others represented NGPL before the Tenth Circuit in securing a reversal of all but a small fraction of a $700 million damage verdict; and United States v. Storage Technology Corporation, in which Mr. Marenberg succeeded in defending a $40 million tax claim asserted by the IRS and in obtaining a judgment for Storage Tek, awarding a $30 million tax credit on Storage Tek's counterclaim.
Bar & Court Admissions
- 1981, Illinois; California