Robert F. Helfing '79

Adjunct Associate Professor of Law / (Former) Partner, Sedgwick LLP

Image - Professor Robert Helfing

B.A., English, University of California, Los Angeles, 1976
J.D., Southwestern Law School, 1979 

Member, California State Bar

Joined Southwestern: 2016

Career Highlights

Robert F. Helfing practiced copyright law for over 30 years at Sedgwick LLP and served as the chair of the Intellectual Property Practice Group of that firm.  During his career, he conducted trials and handled appeals in many cases.  He was lead counsel in high-profile matters involving the entertainment, sports, automotive, art and fashion industries, among others.  

His client list included internationally known artists, entertainment companies, and sports and automotive icons.  In addition to litigation and transactional services, Prof. Helfing's practice included the management of the copyright and trademark portfolios of major motion picture studios and record companies. 

Selected Achievements

As a practicing attorney, Prof. Helfing authored amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the standard of copyright infringement.  Among other cases, he wrote and argued the appeals in Metcalf v. Bochco, 294 F.3d 1069, 1074 (9thCir. 2002) and Funky Films, Inc. v. Time Warner Entertainment Co., 462 F.3d 1072, 1077 (9th Cir. 2006), which are frequently cited for their holdings on the infringement test.  He was lead counsel for the defense in Kids’ Universe v. In2Labs, 95 Cal.App.4th 870 (2002), selected as one of the top defense verdicts of the year. 

Other notable appellate cases handled by him include Halicki Films, LLC v. Sanderson Sales and Marketing, 547 F.3d 1213 (9th Cir. 2008), E.S.S. Entertainment v. Rock Star Videos, Inc., 547 F.3d 1095 (9th Cir. 2008), and J. B. Aguerre, Inc. v. American Guarantee. & Liability Ins. Co., 59 Cal.App.4th 6 (1997).  

Among other writings, he published an article on the copyright infringement standard, Substantial Similarity in Literary Infringement Cases: A Chart for Turbid Waters, 21 UCLA Ent. L. Rev. 1 (2014).  He is a frequent public speaker on intellectual property issues.