Areas of Practice
Bruce Keller leads the intellectual property litigation practice at the firm. He specializes in handling complex cases, often of first impression, that require more care, thought, creativity and diligence than the typical dispute. He is considered the “go-to” lawyer for intellectual property and entertainment litigation involving copyright, trademark, false advertising, First Amendment, rights of publicity and related matters. Mr. Keller is also active in the firm’s Privacy and Data Security practice.
During his career, Mr. Keller has litigated a number of widely publicized cases on behalf of ABC, CBS and NBC against Aereo (involving copyrights to their over-the-air broadcasts); Sony Pictures (involving the mega-hit motion picture Spider-Man and the made-for-television movie “Who is Clark Rockefeller?"); Amazon (involving its Kindle device); Howard Stern and CBS Radio (over the on-air handling of cremated remains); the National Football League (involving multiple trademark and copyright matters including the copyright in the design of the Super Bowl® trophy); clothing retailer The Gap (involving the famous Gap trademark); Time and The New York Times Company (involving their right to distribute electronic versions of their publications); and The Washington Post Company, USA Today and CNN (involving the copyrights to their websites). Mr. Keller also developed and implemented the intellectual property protection and anti-counterfeiting program used by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., the organization that raised the money for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island by licensing its logos and trademarks.
Some of the reported opinions from cases he has litigated include Am. Broad. Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc. 134 S. Ct. 2498 (June 25, 2014); Gap, Inc. v. G.A.P Adventures, Inc., 100 U.S.P.Q. 2d 1417 (S.D.N.Y. 2011); Titlecraft, Inc. v. NFL, 97 U.S.P.Q. 2d 1315 (D. Minn. 2010); Harney v. Sony Pictures Television, Inc., 704 F.3d 173 (1st Cir. 2013); Egilman v. Keller & Heckman, 401 F. Supp. 2d 105 (D.D.C. 2005); USA Football, Inc. v. Robinson, 74 U.S.P.Q. 2d 1646 (S.D. Tex. 2004); Sherwood 48 Associates v. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc., 213 F. Supp. 2d 376 (S.D.N.Y. 2002), aff’d 2003 U.S. App. LEXIS 20106 (2d Cir. 2003); Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. v. Johnson & Johnson & Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals, Co., 129 F. Supp. 2d 351, aff’d, 290 F. 3d 578 (3d Cir. 2002); Pharmacia Corp. v. Alcon Laboratories, Inc., 201 F. Supp. 2d 335 (D.N.J. 2000); Checkpoint Systems v. Check Point Software, 269 F.3d 270 (3d Cir. 2001); NFL v. Coors, 205 F. 3d 1324 (2d Cir. 1999); and Infinity Broadcasting v. Kirkwood, 150 F.3d 104 (2d Cir. 1998).
In addition to maintaining a full-time litigation practice, Mr. Keller is the co-author of two treatises. The first, with Jeffrey Cunard, is Copyright Law: A Practitioner’s Guide, published by Practising Law Institute. The second, The Law of Advertising, Marketing and Promotions (Law Journal Press 2011), was written with David Bernstein.
Mr. Keller, along with Mr. Cunard, also has taught at Harvard Law School and was a Fellow at its Berkman Center for Internet and Society. In May 2008, both received the Berkman Award, the Center’s highest honor, for their pro bono service as lawyers, educators and co-directors of the Center’s clinical program.
Mr. Keller’s other publications include: “Survey Evidence in False Advertising Cases” in Trademark and Deceptive Advertising Surveys (ABA 2012); “The Game’s the Same: Why Gambling in Cyberspace Violates Federal Law,” 108 Yale Law Journal 1569 (1999); “Condemned to Repeat the Past: The Reemergence of Misappropriation and Other Common Law Theories of Intellectual Property Protection,” 11 Harvard Journal of Law and Technology 401 (1998); “It Keeps Going and Going and Going: The Expansion of False Advertising Litigation Under the Lanham Act,” 59 Law and Contemporary Problems 131 (Spring 1996); “Maximizing Trademark Protection and Trademark Value,” Directors & Boards Magazine (Summer 1993); and “A Survey of Survey Evidence,” Litigation (Fall 1992).
He also was an Advisor to the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law: Unfair Competition, and is a member of the Advisory Boards of BNA’s Patent, Copyright and Trademark Journal, the Advertising Compliance Service and The Entertainment Law Reporter, among others. He has been Counsel to the International Trademark Association (“INTA”), including in connection with the INTA’s amicus brief in the landmark Taco Cabana trade dress case.
Mr. Keller is recognized as a “terrific trial lawyer” by Chambers Global (2014) and a "courtroom ace" by World Trademark Review (2014), which previously described him as a “star litigator...terrific and talented.” Benchmark Litigation (2011 and 2010) quotes one client as saying, “if I had one lawyer I could call on something, I would call Bruce,” and The Legal 500 US (2010) calls him “an outstanding lawyer with sharp litigation instincts.” Chambers USA (2012) quotes clients as stating “his reputation is well-earned; he is a great lawyer.” Chambers USA (2014) lists Mr. Keller as one of the nation’s leading lawyers in multiple categories: Sports Law, Intellectual Property: Trade Mark & Copyright, as well as Media & Entertainment: Copyright & Contract Disputes. Chambers USA (2010) noted clients laud him as offering "sound advice supported by a deep understanding of the law and a keen appreciation for his clients’ business priorities.” They praise his “completely justified tremendous reputation… [that] resonates across the entire country.” Chambers USA (2009) noted he is “quick to understand business concerns, has all the right answers, and offers common sense solutions…[he is] head and shoulders above” others.
In prior years, clients have appreciated his “thoughtful and well-reasoned advice” Chambers USA (2009), calling him an “outstanding” intellectual property litigator, The Legal 500 US (2007); a “highly sought-after IP litigator, with a resume boasting a string of high-profile advertising, trade mark, copyright and unfair competition matters,” PLC Yearbook (2009); a “devastating adversary,” Chambers USA (2008); and “an exceptional litigator” who is at the “top of the field” and “better than anyone else” Chambers USA (2007).
Mr. Keller joined Debevoise in 1982 and became a partner in 1988. He received a B.S. from Cornell University in 1976 and his J.D. from Boston University in 1979.
Boston University School of Law, 1979, J.D.
Cornell University, 1976, B.S.