Michael A. Johnson

Mr. Johnson's practice focuses on civil litigation, entertainment law, intelletctual property, and corporate transactions. He has extensive experience in a wide variety of civil litigation matters at both the trial and appellate level in state and federal courts across the country. In addition, Mr. Johnson regularly handles copyright and trademark applications, intellectual property licensing, entertainment transactions, and general corporate transactions. Mr. Johnson counts among his corporate clients local businesses, record companies, and tech start-ups.

For each of the past six years, Mr. Johnson has been recognized as a Mid-South Super Lawyers Rising Star. In 2011, Mr. Johnson received the International Trademark Association’s prestigious Ladas Memorial Award for his article The Waning Consumer Protection Rationale of Trademark Law: Over-Protective Courts and the Path to Stifling Post-Sale Consumer Use, 101 TMR 1321 (2011).

Prior to law school, Mr. Johnson worked in various capacities in the entertainment industry, including at Creative Artists Agency and as a road manager for various acts.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Johnson worked as an attorney at Loeb & Loeb LLP in its entertainment group.
 

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS

Represented the estate of a deceased songwriter in litigation before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the interpretation of the vesting provisions of 17 U.S.C § 304(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Copyright Act. Roger Miller Music, Inc. v. Sony/ATV Publ’g, LLC, 672 F.3d 434 (6th Cir. 2012)

Secured Rule 12(b)(2) dismissal of French music distribution company in copyright infringement litigation. One Media IP, Ltd. v. S.A.A.R. SrL, No. 3:14-cv-0957, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7883 (M.D. Tenn. Jan. 23, 2015)

Successfully represented insurance company before the Tennessee Court of Appeals in a case of first impression regarding interpretation of a commercial general liability policy. Auto-Owners Ins. Co. v. Holland, No. M2014-01630-COA-R3-CV, 2016 Tenn. App. LEXIS 114 (Ct. App. Feb. 12, 2016)

Represented Nashville's District Attorney General in defamation suit, including before the Tennessee Court of Appeals and Tennessee Supreme Court. Funk v. Scripps Media, Inc., No. M2017-00256-COA-R3-CV, 2017 Tenn. App. LEXIS 779 (Ct. App. Nov. 30, 2017)

Secured Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of claims against Nashville's District Attorney General in section 1983 suit before the Middle District of Tennessee. Chase v. Funk, No. 3:16-cv-01579, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170795 (M.D. Tenn. Dec. 9, 2016)

Successfully represented insurance company before the Tennessee Court of Appeals in a case of first impression regarding interpretation of an employee dishonesty endorsement. Tenn. Clutch & Supply, Inc. v. Auto-Owners (Mut.) Ins. Co., No. M2016-02195-COA-R3-CV, 2017 Tenn. App. LEXIS 761 (Ct. App. Nov. 22, 2017)

Represented textbook rental company in copyright infringement action in the Southern District of New York.

Represented a Berkshire Hathaway company in trademark dipsute in the Eastern District of Tennessee. 

Secured Rule 12.02(6) dismissal of defamation claims against entertainment production in the Davidson County Circuit Court.

Negotiating publishing agreements on behalf of songwriters.

Representing numerous legacy songwriters and their estates in connection wtih copyright recapture, trademark licensing and enforcement, and related issues.

Negotiating asset purchase agreements on behalf of small businesses.
 

PUBLICATIONS
The Waning Consumer Protection Rationale of Trademark Law: Over-Protective Courts and the Path to Stifling Post-Sale Consumer Use, 101 TMR 1321
 

AFFILIATIONS
SOLID (Society of Leaders in Development)
Tennessee Bar Association
Nashville Bar Association
 

HONORS & DISTINCTIONS
Mid-South Super Lawyers Rising Star (2013-2018)
International Trademark Association, Ladas Memorial Award (2011)
Vanderbilt Law Review Editor's Award (for most outstanding contribution to Law Review)
Vanderbilt Scholastic Excellence Award (for highest grade in Corporations and Business Entities)
Vanderbilt Law Review, Articles Editor
 

COURT ADMISSIONS
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee
U.S. Bankruptcy Court (Middle and Eastern Districts of Tennessee)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Tennessee State and Appellate Courts
 

PRACTICE AREAS
Litigation
Intellectual Property
Entertainment Law
Corporate Transactions


EDUCATION
Vanderbilt University, J.D., 2011
Kentucky Christian University, B.S., magna cum laude, 2006

BAR ADMISSIONS
Tennessee

EMAIL
mjohnson@kaygriffin.com