Ken Kwartler has specialized in intellectual property and related law for over 20 years, representing clients that range from Fortune 500 companies and major global brands to emerging businesses and individual entrepreneurs, artists, authors and developers. (For info on his current practice, see here.)

Professional Background

Before opening his own practice, Ken served most recently as Assistant General Counsel to Nike, Inc. from 1999 to 2006. For seven years, he directed the global trademark practice of one of the world’s leading brands. Ken was responsible for protecting Nike’s multi-billion dollar international trademark portfolio (which includes the famous Nike, Swoosh design, Jumpman (Michael Jordan) design and Just Do It trademarks). Ken managed international disputes and litigation, negotiated acquisitions and licenses, made clearance decisions on thousands of proposed trademarks, logos, slogans and product designs, educated Nike’s global workforce about marketing and legal issues, advised Nike executives and subsidiaries (Cole Haan, Converse, Bauer Hockey), and worked with professional and collegiate sports leagues, federations and athletes.

Before joining Nike, Ken served as Trademark & Commercial Counsel to Silicon Graphics, Inc. from 1991-98. Silicon Graphics’ innovative computer graphics technology made it one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent and successful companies during the mid-1990’s. (See Business Week ’94 cover story.) For seven years, Ken handled trademark, trade dress, copyright, advertising, licensing, right of publicity and product placement issues for Silicon Graphics and its subsidiaries (Cray Research, Alias/Wavefront, MIPS Technologies), and negotiated technology transactions. Silicon Graphics (from which Netscape later sprang) was also an innovator in (then-emerging) web technologies, and Ken was one of the first attorneys extensively to address Internet-related trademark issues

Prior to joining these Fortune 500 companies, Ken served clients in private practice for seven years with two leading San Francisco law firms. He litigated disputes involving best-selling books, hit movies, albums and songs, software and trade secrets (see selected rulings here), and helped clear, acquire and register trademarks for technology companies, professional sports teams, wineries and other businesses.

Ken has built a national reputation as a lecturer and commentator, particularly on cutting-edge branding and marketing issues. He has appeared on CNBC, and spoken at leading conferences such as the USC Intellectual Property Law Institute, the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University, the Association of Corporate Counsel, the National Bar Association, and the International Trademark Association Annual and Leadership meetings and Advanced Practitioners Program (partial list here). Articles about Ken’s work have appeared in The American Lawyer, The National Law JournalCorporate Legal TimesThe Recorder and other publications.


Ken is a graduate of Boston University School of Law, where he served as Editor of the Boston University Law Review. He earned a Bachelor of Arts cum laude from the State University of New York at Albany, and is a graduate of Manhattan’s Stuyvesant High School.

Bar & Court Admissions

Ken is a member of the State Bars of California and Oregon.  He is admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Northern District of California and the District of Oregon, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


Prior to entering law, Ken was a journalist and musician. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his family, where he has enjoyed coaching youth soccer and basketball, and still plays an occasional gig. He is also a contributing writer to The Sondheim Review.