Rick Kurnit is internationally recognized in the advertising and marketing services and publishing industries, representing advertisers, advertising agencies, content and media entities.
Rick Kurnit is the only lawyer named to Adweek’s Top 50 Executives Who Make the Wheels Turn list. Selected by Best Lawyers as its first New York Media Lawyer of the Year and 2018 Copyright Lawyer of the Year, for over twelve years he has been recognized annually in its survey in six fields: Advertising, Copyright, Entertainment, Intellectual Property Litigation, Media, and Trademark and was again listed as a "Lawyer of the Year" for 2018 in Copyright. Rick is ranked by Chambers USA as a star in Advertising law, as a “Leading Lawyer” and “Hall of Famer” in Marketing and Advertising by The Legal 500, a “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers magazine in advertising, and a Leading IP Lawyer by Lawyer Monthly Magazine.
Rick is co-Chair of our Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations Group. Rick was a founding Vice Chair of the ABA Committee on Private Advertising Litigation. He has handled many of the leading cases defining the application of intellectual property law to advertising and marketing communications, including representing the defendants in the Vanna White, Woody Allen, and Jackie Onassis look-alike cases; Viking Press, Nelson DeMille, Terry McMillan, and other authors and publishers in libel cases based on works of fiction; Prodigy in the Stratton Oakmont case and other cases defining online liability; John Deere in defining use of trademarks in comparative advertising; the maker of a smaller copy of the necklace from Titanic in defining the scope of parallel marketing; and Gone With The Wind in defining parody and copyright infringement. Rick has also handled numerous Lanham Act and comparative advertising cases and NAD challenges.
In addition to all aspects of marketing communications, Rick advises companies and individuals on mergers, acquisitions, succession plans, employment agreements, partnership agreements, and phantom equity plans.
Rick teaches advertising and intellectual property law and lectures regularly for the 4A's, ANA, BAA, the Copyright Society, and the American Law Institute. He has repeatedly been a guest lecturer at Beijing University; Harvard, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, NYU, Fordham, New York and Cardozo Law Schools; and conferences in Asia, Europe, and North America. He is a member of the Boards of The Miami Ad School, The Art Directors Club, and The Advertising Compliance Service.
Rick’s published works include: Editor of Right of Publicity (2018) and Advertising + Marketing (2017); the Advertising Law and Intellectual Property chapters in Corporate Legal Departments (2017) (updated annually); “Defining Native Advertising” in Communications Lawyer (2014); “Exclusivity of Sponsors” in Journal of Sponsorship 379 (2010); “Challenging Competitor’s Advertising” in Counselor (2009); The Legal Side of the Creative Process, a chapter in Advertising and Marketing Law (2005); “Restricting Speech on the Internet,” a panel discussion, 8 Fordham Intel. Prop. Media L. J. 395 (1998); “Liability Online,” 1 Journal of Internet Law 15 (1998); “Pornography on the Internet,” a panel discussion, 14 Cardozo Arts and Ent. L. J. 343 (1996); “Right of Publicity in the Year 2020,” a symposium, 20 Columbia-VLA Journal of Law and Arts 1 (1995); and “Libel Claims Based on Fiction,” 51 Brooklyn L. Rev. 401(1985).
Rick served as law clerk to Federal Judge Thomas P. Griesa, and was associated for five years with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.