Intellectual Property, Sports & Entertainment Law Center

What is intellectual property law? For starters, it can be a new lawyer’s ticket into the most exciting areas of legal practice. From the entertainment and sports industries to health care and international trade to the entrepreneurial spirit underlying today’s small businesses – intellectual property law is at the heart of all of it.

Thomas Jefferson School of Law professors have a broad range of professional experience across the intellectual property spectrum and related areas of the sports and entertainment industries. To highlight just a few, they have represented famous entertainers and Hall of Fame athletes, litigated trademark cases involving Barbie dolls, and investigated collusion among compact disc technologies owners at the United States Department of Justice. This real-world experience gives our faculty the ability to translate the complex legal theory into understandable, practical knowledge.

Thomas Jefferson graduates have taken that knowledge and the many opportunities provided by the Intellectual Property, Entertainment & Sports Law Fellowship Program to gain practical experience while in law school, parlaying it into amazing jobs.  Today’s students benefit from real world practical classes like Introduction to IP Practice and individual classes on patent, copyright, and trademark as well professional, amateur, and international sports. The Thomas Jefferson faculty created these courses to ensure that our students can learn the practical skills not often taught in law school.

The Law School also operates United States Patent & Trademark certified clinics as part of the school’s Small Business Law Center. Students receive their own limited practice number and represent small businesses, artists and entrepreneurs before the Patent & Trademark Office under the supervision of licensed attorneys dedicated to helping their students learn all the tricks of the trade.

Students also earn law school credit while working at externships in the private and public sectors in San Diego and throughout California.

The law school also runs the annual National Sports Law Negotiation Competition, a fabulous networking opportunity at which schools from all over the country compete to negotiation of topical problems reflecting current issues in the sports and entertainment industries.

Graduates have gone from Thomas Jefferson to in-house positions at Fortune 500 companies, the United States Patent & Trademark Office, intellectual property associate positions in law firms, NCAA university sports program compliance programs, athlete representation agencies, and advanced degree programs nationwide.

The school's Center for Intellectual Property, Entertainment & Sports Law offers a certificate program for students specializing in these areas of law and coordinates events throughout the year that help bring students in contact with local professionals.

Various Thomas Jefferson student organizations, provides additional opportunities for contact and training for all branches of intellectual property, entertainment and sports law.

Our intellectual property, entertainment and sports law faculty members have an open-door policy and are willing to provide guidance to any student who wants to pursue a career in intellectual property, sports or entertainment law.

View the Preparing for a Career in Intellectual Property Brochure

Professor Steven Semeraro (Antitrust, Intellectual Property & Competition Law) joined the United States Department of Justice, Antitrust Division in 1994. While there, he led civil antitrust investigations of the optical disc technology industry, and he has subsequently has published numerous articles in the field of antitrust, including Regulating Information Platforms: The Convergence to Antitrust, 1 J. On Telecomm. & High Tech. L. 143 (2002), which explored the intersection of intellectual property and antitrust law. Professor Steve Semeraro is ranked as one of the top 15 antitrust professors as measured by downloads on the SSRN (Social Science Research Network.)

Professor Sandra Rierson (Trademark and Unfair Competition, Advanced Trademark Seminar) practiced intellectual property law with the Los Angeles firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, where she became a partner in 1998. Her recent publications include IP Remedies after Ebay: Assessing the Impact on Trademark Law in the Akron Intellectual Property Law Journal.

Professor Ben Templin (International Intellectual Property) is a renowned expert in contract law and law school pedagogy. Prior to going to law school, Professor Templin had a 15-year career in magazine publishing, working primarily as an editor for print and electronic media for computer magazines.

Adjunct Professor Randy Grossman (Professional, Amateur & International Sports Law; Trial Practice) is certified as a player agent by the Major League Baseball Players’ Association and represents former players as well, such as Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and 7-time All-Star Tim Raines. During the course of his career, he has worked with players ranging from Hank Aaron to Willie Mays.

During a career in sports that spans more than 25 years, Professor Grossman began as a sportscaster for an NBC television affiliate on the nightly news. From there, he went to work for former L.A. Dodger and San Diego Padre Steve Garvey, who had a sports marketing company, where Professor Grossman was exposed to the world of corporate marketing and endorsements for professional athletes. During this period, he worked with clients such as Magic Johnson, Tony Gwynn and Robin Ventura, pairing them with companies such as Canon, Xerox, and Rawlings.

Professor Grossman is the TJSL faculty advisor for the Sports Law Society, the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition, PAD Mock Trial Competitions in Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. and the National Baseball Arbitration Competition held at Tulane University Law School. He is a frequent lecturer on sports and the law.

He also practices law in the areas of contract litigation and criminal defense, where he has tried many high-profile cases ranging from bank theft to murder. Professor Grossman is licensed to practice before all courts in the State of California, the United States District Court for the Southern District and the United States Supreme Court.

Professor Grossman has traveled to Africa and China on Major League Baseball goodwill tours. He has attended Major League Baseball games at 29 of the 30 current stadiums. He counts meeting the President of the United States in the Oval Office as one of his most memorable professional achievements.

Adjunct Professor Peter Law (Patent Law, Copyright Law) is a Partner at the leading intellectual property firm Knobbe Martens. Peter has a degree in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University, and worked as a nuclear engineer for Lockheed Martin and the Naval Nuclear Power Program, where he specialized in operation and testing of submarine and aircraft carrier nuclear propulsion systems.  After six years with Lockheed Martin, Professor Law began law school, and graduated in 2011 with highest honors.  Peter joined Knobbe Martens as an associate in 2011 and became a partner in 2018.

Professor Law has experience in a variety of technical areas, including pharmaceuticals, mechanical and chemical engineering, computer systems, logistics, and physics.  Peter has experience in many aspects of patent and trademark law including litigation, prosecution, licensing, strategic client counseling, and inter partes reviews.

Adjunct Professor Chuck Blazer (Introduction to IP Practice; Property; IP Clinic) is an experienced IP litigator who has represented global leaders in innovation in some of the most technologically complex high-stakes patent cases in recent times, such as in the contentious "smartphone wars" between Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Blackberry. Having represented both plaintiffs and defendants in patent, trademark, trade secret, IP malpractice, and many other cases in Federal court, in state court, and before the U.S. International Trade Commission, and having served "behind the bench" as a Federal judicial clerk, Professor Blazer brings a wide breadth of firsthand experience from the courtroom to the classroom.

A prolific writer and enthusiastic futurist, Professor Blazer also authored some of the earliest and most-cited legal scholarship on the topic of virtual property, years before the advent of cryptocurrency as we know it today.

Professor Blazer is the founder of Blazer Legal, a San Diego law firm representing California businesses in IP matters, particularly in cases in the Southern District of California and in appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He is a former partner at Insigne PC, served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable District Judge Joseph J. Farnan, Jr., at the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, and served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Circuit Judge Arthur J. Gajarsa at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Before practicing law, Mr. Blazer was a radar and missile systems engineer at Raytheon Technologies.

Adjunct Professor Mark D. Kesten (Entertainment Law) is an entertainment attorney based in southern California. His practice focuses on the representation of talent in both transactional and litigation matters. Mark routinely handles the review, drafting and negotiation of entertainment related deals including: recording and music publishing contracts, artist management, producer and mixer agreements, social media influencer agreements, touring agreements, as well as endorsement deals.  Mark has handled deals for international record labels, international artist management companies, full-service talent agencies, event production companies, as well as gold and platinum selling recording artists, producers, mixers, and songwriters, and professional athletes.   

Prior to entering private practice, Mark worked in the legal affairs department at the ICM Partners talent agency. Mark also enjoyed a successful pre-law career as an artist manager and commercial radio promoter.

Adjunct Professor Donny Samporna is a supervising attorney at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s Patent and Trademark Clinic. There, he guides the Clinic’s student associates in providing quality legal services to the local community on a pro bono basis. 

He is also a registered patent attorney at Haley Guiliano, focusing on patent litigation and prosecution. He brings vast real-world engineering and business expertise to plan, secure, and enforce commercially viable and strategic intellectual property rights. His experience covers many technologies, including mechanical, electrical, and computer-implemented methods and systems. He also routinely advises clients in the acquisition and management of trademark assets.

Before joining Haley Guiliano, Professor Samporna worked at law firms in the San Diego area, focusing on patent and trademark prosecution and litigation. Before pursuing his legal career, he was a lead design engineer focusing on electro-mechanical and rotational machinery and a property developer.

In addition to his positions at Haley Guiliano and the TJSL Patent & Trademark Clinic, Professor Samporna enjoys the outdoors, cooking, shooting sports, and attending 49ers games. He also plays bass in the band, Innocent Bystanders.

Adjunct Professor Teodosio Angel Hernandez is a supervising attorney at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s Patent and Trademark Clinic.

Adjunct Professor Lisa Cervantes (Trademark & CopyrightClinic) founder and owner of IP Legal Studio, a private entertainment law practice in business for 18 years specializing in music, television, and film. Registered and certified in practice before the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) and WIPO (Madrid System), Professor Cervantes works with entities of all sizes to protect, license, assert and defend rights in intellectual property, including trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets.