Stephen Smith




Stephen Smith focuses on representing entertainment and new media companies in the motion picture, television, digital app and interactive gaming industries.  He provides those companies with legal counseling related to all aspects of their businesses in litigation and transactional matters alike.  His clients have included Ubisoft Entertainment, S.A., Gameloft, S.A., Crave Entertainment, K2 Networks, Spark Unlimited, Savage Entertainment, Elite Modeling, Collision Studios, Ticketmaster, StudiVZ, Genuine Games, Papaya Studios, JANUS et Cie, Logan Media and Sugar Foods.

Daily Variety selected Steve as one of Hollywood’s “Dealmakers” in its “Impact Report ’08.”  The Los Angeles Daily Journal honored Mr. Smith as one of the top 20 lawyers in Los Angeles under 40 years of age in its 2009 “20 Under 40” report. Steve has been selected by Los Angeles Magazine as a Southern California “Super Lawyer” and has received the highest peer-review rating of “AV” by Martindale Hubbell.  

Steve has a particular expertise in legal issues arising in the interactive gaming industry and is regularly quoted and featured in magazine and newspaper articles, online publications and radio broadcasts dealing with those issues.  Steve also has particular expertise in probate litigation, arbitrations, including international arbitrations, and employment-related matters.

Steve also sits on the board of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles and provides pro bono services to the Alliance for Children’s Rights, Public Counsel and the ACLU.

Interactive Gaming Experience

  • Represented Ubisoft Entertainment, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, in a license dispute against MGA Entertainment, the owner of the girl doll property known as “Bratz,” which resulted in a $13 million judgment in favor of Ubisoft
  • Successfully negotiated and closed one of the most significant video game deals in the industry on behalf of Ubisoft Entertainment in an acquisition of rights to use bestselling author Tom Clancy's name and likeness in connection with interactive games, related books and motion pictures
  • Defended massively multiplayer online role playing video game publisher, K2 Networks, in copyright infringement, breach of contract and computer fraud and abuse act case filed by Mgame Corporation simultaneously in California state court, California federal court and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre 
  • Defended Ubisoft Entertainment against a copyright infringement case brought by John Beiswenger alleging that Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed video game infringed Beiswenger’s novel Link, resulting in Beiswenger dismissing his case at the pleading stage
  • Represented Crave Entertainment in a video game development dispute against Visiware Entertainment, a video game developer, which resulted in an award in favor of Crave for 100 percent of the damages sought by Crave along with all of its attorneys’ fees and costs
  • Represented Ubisoft Entertainment in its acquisition of the name and likeness rights of Michael Jackson for use in the video game Michael Jackson: The Experience.
  • Represented Spark Unlimited, the developer of video games Call of Duty Finest Hour, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty and Legendary: The Box, in a breach of contract and fraud claim against Activision Publishing
  • Represented Savage Entertainment, a video game developer whose work includes Transformers, Blacksite, Medal of Honor: Vanguard and U.S. Army: DARPA Real World, in a breach of contract dispute with video game publisher Take Two Interactive
  • Defended video game publisher and developer, Nobilis, in breach of contract case filed by Southpeak Interactive, resulting in a dismissal of the case at the pleading stage
  • Represented Gameloft, a mobile phone interactive gaming publisher, in copyright and trademark infringement action brought against it by Activision Publishing

Probate Litigation

Since joining the firm in 1993, Mr. Smith has represented petitioners and respondents in probate matters. Most recently, Mr. Smith represented Rochelle Sterling in the very high profile probate proceeding against her husband Donald Sterling, in which Mrs. Sterling sought court approval to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. Also within the last year, Mr. Smith represented a widow responding to a claim of undue influence brought by the decedent's ex-wife and two charities, who were seeking to set aside the decedent's will and trust, which left his estate to the widow. Currently, Mr. Smith is representing a respondent in a petition filed by his daughter seeking to set aside a transaction by which the respondent purchased property from the trust of which the daughter is a beneficiary on the ground that the property was purchased for less than fair market value and therefore constituted a break of fiduciary duty by her father who was allegedly acting as de facto trustee.

Media Commentary