Gary S. Fergus

Top rated Intellectual Property attorney in San Francisco, California

Fergus, a law office
Gary S. Fergus
Fergus, a law office

Practice Areas: Intellectual Property, Entertainment & Sports, Estate & Trust Litigation; view more

Licensed in California since: 1980

Education: University of Wisconsin Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2020 - 2023

Fergus, a law office

535 Mission St
14th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105 Visit website


Attorney Gary S. Fergus is the founder and owner of Fergus, A Law Office, in San Francisco, California. A nationally ranked trial attorney with more than 41 years of total legal experience, Mr. Fergus provides unmatched representation and support to a diverse range of clients throughout San Francisco, Silicon Valley and the rest of the state who have legal needs involving intellectual property and other civil disputes such as fiduciary rights, entertainment agreements and unauthorized use of celebrity likenesses, nondisclosure agreements, mass torts, bankruptcy, and more.

A veteran of hundreds of trials and administrative proceedings in jurisdictions throughout the United States, Mr. Fergus has achieved significant success helping his clients protect their rights and interests and achieve the favorable outcomes they expect and deserve for their important and pressing legal challenges. A recognized leader in intellectual property law, he represented clients from a variety of industries with matters involving copyright infringement, licensing issues and other related areas.

At all turns, Mr. Fergus delivers highly personalized counsel to those he serves, and he has gained a reputation for being able to devise creative solutions for tough legal problems. He has a true and abiding passion for the law, and he has an uncommon ability to present complex cases to juries in a manner that they can easily grasp.

Honored for his outstanding professionalism and service, Mr. Fergus has earned an AV Preeminent peer review rating* from Martindale-Hubbell along with a listing in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. He also holds a Lawyers of Distinction rating, and he has received consistent top rankings and endorsements from his peers as well as numerous positive testimonials and referrals from his satisfied clients.

A 1976 honors graduate of Stanford University, Mr. Fergus obtained his Juris Doctor cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1979, where he was a champion of the school's Moot Court competition. He then attended New York University School of Law, where he earned his Master of Laws cum laude in 1981.

Mr. Fergus is licensed to practice in Wisconsin as well as California, and he is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Northern and Central Districts of California, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th, 7th, 9th and District of Columbia Circuit, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. He is also an active member of the American Bar Association and the American Intellectual Property Law Association, among his other professional affiliations.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice areas

Intellectual Property, Entertainment & Sports, Estate & Trust Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation: Plaintiff

Focus areas

Copyrights, Entertainment, Sports & Leisure Law, Intellectual Property Law, Trade Secret

  • 20% Intellectual Property
  • 20% Entertainment & Sports
  • 20% Estate & Trust Litigation
  • 20% Intellectual Property Litigation
  • 10% Business Litigation
  • 10% Civil Litigation: Plaintiff

First Admitted: 1980, California

Professional Webpage:

  • In re Thorpe Insulation, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California, Case No. LA07-19271BB (settled after trial for $750 million) 
  • In re J.T. Thorpe, Case No. LA02-14216BB (Bkrptcy. C.D. Cal. 2006)(settled after trial for $250 million)
  • In re Western Asbestos, 313 B.R. 456 (Bkrptcy N.D. Cal. 2004)(settled after trial for $1.2 billion)
  • In re Literary Works in Electronic Database Copyright Litigation MDL No. 1379  United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.  One of co-lead class counsel in international copyright infringement class action against leading database publishers including the New York Times, Thomson Reuters, and Lexis etc.  for infringment of free lance authors works.  Action was filed in 2000, was appealed to the 2nd Circuit, certiorari was granted by the United States Supreme Court, the case was remanded to the 2nd Circuit and after 19 years the $18 million dollar settlement was finally paid to class members and the case closed.  , 2019
  • Mandelbrot v. J.T. Thorpe Settlement Trust; Thorpe Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust, Charles B. Renfrew, the Futures Representative Case No. 15-56430 United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on remand Case No. 2:14-cv-03883-VAP United States District Court for the Central District of California.  I represented the court appointed Futures Representative in the trial seeking to bar Michael J. Mandelbrot from filing any new claims with the two trusts as well as requiring him to transfer all existing claims as a result of a pattern and practice of submitting unreliable claims.  Mandelbrot claimed fraud and breach of fiduciary duty by all fiduciaries.  Case was settled during trial with a settlement agreement put on the record in open court immediately before Michael Mandelbrot was scheduled to testify.  I negotiated the settlement on behalf of the Trusts and my client.  Settlement was appealed to the Ninth Circuit, remanded, additional evidence submitted and the original settlement confirmed by the District Court and appealed to the Ninth Circuit a second time.  The second appeal was dismissed by stipulation.  The settlement  required Michael Mandelbrot to transfer hundreds of claims to other counsel and prohibits him from filing any new claims against four trusts with assets in excess of $1,000,000,000.  The four trusts are the Western Asbestos Settlement Trust, the Thorpe Insulation Settlement Trust, the J.T. Thorpe Settlement Trust and the Plant Asbestos Settlement Trust. , 2017
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Designing a Mass Tort Case Management System National Law Journal, July, 1986
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit
  • State Bar of Wisconsin, Member 
  • State Bar of California, Member
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • Wisconsin
  • California
Educational Background:
  • Graduated from Stanford University with A.B. with Honors in Economics., 1976
  • New York University, LLM, cum laude, With Honors, 1981
  • Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Law School, Moot Court Champion, University of Wisconsin School of Law, 1979
  • AV Peer Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Represented artist who created The Berkeley Big People two very large and controversial political sculptures commission by the City of Berkeley under a different administration that are visible from Interstate 80.     Current administration threatened to destroy the sculptures.  Represented the artist in transfer of title of the sculptures back to the artist and delivery of the sculptures by the City of Berkeley to the artist.   , 2020
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Federal Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, 2006 to 2008
Representative Clients:
  • Selected to represent Western Asbestos Settlement Trust in test case challenging limits on eligibility for payment by trust that potentially threatens corpus of Trust with over $500,000,000 in assets.    Darden v. Western Asbestos Settlement Trust, United States Bankruptcy Court Northern District of California Adv. No. 20-03026. , 2020
  • Represent the Trustees of the four asbestos Trusts created by the above described representation of the Honorable Charles B. Renfrew (Ret.), Western Asbestos Settlement Trust, J.T. Thorpe Asbestos Settlement Trust, the Thorpe Insulation Company Asbestos Settlement Trust and the Plant Insulation Asbestos Settlement Trust. The current Trustees are John Luikart and Dr. Sandra Hernandez. The retired trustee is Stephen M. Snyder., 2018
  • John Donahue sculptor who created two 30 foot tall sculptures that were commissioned in 2003 by the City of Berkeley.  The Berkeley Big People sit astride Interstate I-80 at the entrance to the City of Berkeley.  Long controversial, the City of Berkeley in 2019 voted to remove the Berkeley Big People. Represent Mr. Donahue in connection with his rights under the Visual Artists Rights Act 17. U.S.C. §106 et seq. and the California Art Preservation Act, California Civil Code §987 et. Seq., 2019
  • 2004-2017 Appointed by United States Bankruptcy Court Norther District of California and Central District of California to represent the Honorable Charles B. Renfrew (Ret.) as the Futures Representative for an estimated 50,000 future victims of asbestos related disease in four Chapter 11 proceedings which resulted in the creation of four separate Trusts with combined initial assets of over 3 billion dollars. In re Western Asbestos et al. 2004 WL 1944792 (N.D. Cal. 2004); In re J.T. Thorpe, Inc. United States District Court Central District of California Case No. CV-05-2412 SJO; In re Thorpe Insulation, 677 F.3d 869 (9th Cir. 2012); In re Plant Insulation Company 469 B.R. 843 (Bkr. ND. California 2012). Represented Judge Renfrew as the court appointed Futures Representative to the Trusts created from inception until December 2017.
Industry Groups:
  • Authors
  • Creative Artists
  • Entertainment
  • Music

Office location for Gary S. Fergus

535 Mission St
14th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

Phone: 415-537-9030


4 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2020 - 2023

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