Carole E. Handler

Ms. Handler is nationally known for her innovative approach to complex antitrust and copyright litigation. She has successfully tried landmark antitrust, copyright and entertainment cases before juries in state and federal courts and has prevailed on appeals in the Ninth, Second and Third Circuits. She has tried conspiracy and monopolization cases and represents clients in cases involving the application of antitrust principles to intellectual property rights, a field which she also teaches. Ms. Handler’s antitrust practice involves industries such as energy, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, motion picture licensing, and the weight loss industry. In the sports antitrust area, she represented the National Basketball Association in a significant case involving the “single enterprise” doctrine.

Ms. Handler, occasionally referred to as “the lawyer who saved Spider-Man,” successfully led Marvel Entertainment Company in its nine-year battle to recover the motion picture rights to its iconic signature property, Spider-Man, and in other copyright cases. She also received national recognition for recovering the life story of noted Holocaust rescuer, Irene Gut Opdyke, after a nine-week pro bono trial.

Ms. Handler teaches antitrust at the University of Southern California Law School. Her course focuses on antitrust and intellectual property.  She also teaches a copyright course on characters and superheroes in old and new media.

Ms. Handler has organized and led numerous symposia on antitrust issues for academic institutions and private organizations, and has organized and participated in over one hundred seminars for the ABA, Aspen bar associations, law firms, the PLI, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and the Bar of the City of New York. She serves in the leadership of the antitrust and intellectual Property sections of the American Bar Association.

Ms. Handler has been consistently rated AV, the highest performance rating, in Martindale-Hubbell’s peer review rating system. She has been named one of the “Top Women Litigators in California” by Daily Journal Extra every year since 1999. In 2001, Ms. Handler was named one of California’s “Lawyers of the Year.” In addition, she is continually selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers, and in 2006 was honored by AMIT as a Woman of Accomplishment. She is active in pro bono work as well and serves on the Board of Bet Tzedek Legal Services.

Some of her significant representations include the following:

  • Represented Marvel Enterprises in its long-running battle to reclaim the motion picture rights to its signature character “Spider-Man” and in other litigation;
  • Represented various studios in complex antitrust litigation;
  • Represented a satellite services provider against a major satellite telecaster in an antitrust action;
  • Represented a major weight loss company in advertising and marketing matters before the FTC;
  • Handled FTC and Department of Justice investigations of antitrust practices of several Fortune 500 companies;
  • Represented film studios in Justice Department investigations;
  • Established the motion picture industry’s exclusive rights to control the distribution and performance of their copyrighted works in new media as consistent with the antitrust and copyright laws;
  • Represented a motion picture studio in having a state statute declared unconstitutional as in conflict with copyright law;
  • Successfully represented plaintiffs in antitrust litigation stemming from California’s energy crisis (Continental Forge v. Sempra Energy);
  • Succeeded in having the largest trademark verdict in history as of that point ($148 million in 1998) set aside, and in the new trial, successfully represented the client to win summary judgment and uphold the decision in the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Trovan, Ltd v. Pfizer, Inc.;
  • Successfully represented the Fox Family Channel (since then sold to Disney) in a trade dress/copyright claim against CBS and others claiming that defendants had copied the "trade dress" of a prospective Fox program.  She obtained a temporary restraining order against the defendant (Fox Family, Inc., v. CBS, Inc. et al.);
  • Represented a music publishing company in numerous copyright matters;
  • Represented a satellite retailer in a trademark lawsuit concerning the use of 800 numbers;
  • Represented an eyewear designer and manufacturer in a trade dress matter in which the precise identifying contours of the unique eyewear were copied and distributed under the defendant's label;
  • Represented independent programmers against a major satellite company in a potential antitrust action; and
  • Defended several class actions against social media companies on privacy grounds.

Court Memberships

  • California
  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York


  • Named one of Super Lawyers’ Top Women Lawyers in Southern California,” 2013
  • Named Top Women Litigators in California by Daily Journal Extra since 1999
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AVRating
  • Named one of the Lawyers of the Yearby California Lawyer, 2001
  • Selected annually for The Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers
  • Selected by AMIT as a Woman of Accomplishment, 2006

Professional Affiliations

  • Appointed to the ABA’s Publications Advisory Board for the Section of Antitrust Law 
  • Selected as vice-chair of the ABA’s Visual Arts and Dramatic Works Committee for the Copyright Division of the Section of Intellectual Property Law
  • Appointed to the American Bar Association Publications Advisory Board for the Section of Antitrust Law
  • Chair of the Committee of the American Bar Association Antitrust Section
  • Board Member, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, 2000 – 2008
  • Board Member, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Intellectual Property Section
  • Board Member, Dispute Resolution Services, Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Board Member, Public Counsel, through 2010
  • Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Feminist Majority Foundation
  • Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles


  • Quoted in Comment: Fair use to be in the spotlight in likely district court rematch between Oracle and Google, MLex Market Insight, August 15, 2014
  • Author, Fictional Characters in New Media, July 2010
  • Author, “The Struggle over Net Neutrality,” e-Commerce Law & Strategy, February 2009 
  • Author, “Opposition to the Proposed Settlement in the Google Book Publishing Case—Is Such a Far-Reaching Arrangement a Judicial Function?” in ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law, Annual Review of Intellectual Property Law Developments, 2009 
  • Co-author, “The WGA Strike: Picketing for a Bigger Piece of the New Media Pie, American Bar Association,” Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, Winter 2008 
  • Author, “Federal Trade Commission Takes Jurisdiction of Intellectual Property Practices Without Charging Antitrust Violation,” January 2008 
  • Author, “The Latest FTC Pronouncements in Health Care Physician-Payer Contracting,” October 2007 
  • Author, “High Court Rulings Have Limited Antitrust Liability,” Securities Law360, August 2007 
  • Author, “Licensees and Intellectual Property Owners Affected by Supreme Court Abandoning Century-Old Per Se Rule Against Resale Price Maintenance,” July 2007 
  • Author, “The Application of Antitrust Rules to Standards in the Information Industries; Anomaly or Necessity?” No. 11 Computer Lawyer 1, 1997
  • Author, “Surfing Trademark Issues on the Internet,” White Paper, September 2006 
  • Author, “Lessons For Intellectual Property Owners,” IP Law360, August 2006
  • Author, “Net Neutrality: At Stake, the Future of Content on the Internet,” The Hollywood Reporter, Esq., August 2006 
  • Author, “Illinois Tool Works, Inc. v. Independent Ink, Inc.: Supreme Court Puts to Rest the Presumption of Patent Market Power in Antitrust Tying Claims,” March 2006 
  • Author, “Antitrust Implications of Settlement and Patent Disputes,” Practising Law Institute, Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, and Literary Property Course Handbook Series, 2001–2002, 2004 
  • Co-author, “Legislative Responses to the Copyright Technology Wars,” Glasser LegalWorks, Cyberspace Licensing in the Electronic Age - 11th Annual, 2000 
  • Co-author, “The Interplay of the Sham Exception and the Enforcement of Questionable Intellectual Property Rights,” Practising Law Institute, Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, and Literary Property Course Handbook Series, June 1998 
  • Co-author, “The Application of Antitrust Rules to Standards in the Information Industries - Anomaly or Necessity?” Computer Law, November 1997 
  • Co-author, “Exclusive Dealing, Full-Line Forcing and Tying Arrangements,” Practising Law Institute, Corporate Law and Practice Course Handbook Series, 1994-1997
  • Author, “Exclusion of Third Party Maintenance Companies--Antitrust Issues,” Practising Law Institute, Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, and Literary Property Course Handbook Series, June–July 1996 
  • Author, “Intellectual Property Litigation: The “Sham Exception” to the Noerr-Pennington Doctrine and Bad Faith Enforcement of Intellectual Property,” Practising Law Institute, Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, and Literary Property Course Handbook Series, 1994-1995
  • In progress, updated Handler/Handler antitrust treatise book, “Justice Rehnquist; Wily Use of Procedure to Shape Substance; Media Concentration in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries.”


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Joanne Tran




University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., 1975

University of Pennsylvania School of Fine Arts, M.A., City Planning

Harvard University, A.B., History and Literature, with honors