The firm is pleased to announce that Michael Kump was recently named to the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal’s annual “Top Intellectual Property Lawyers” list. The award honors selected nominees based on the impact of their work in intellectual property. Mike was recognized for his representation of high-profile clients such as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Kardashian sisters, Sandra Bullock, and Shaquille O’Neal. His full profile in the special issue can be found below.
Michael J. Kump
Clients don’t come with profiles much higher than Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. When paparazzi invaded the privacy of the couple’s Hollywood Hills backyard, they called on Kump to defend their space.
Kump is no stranger to celebrity representation. He’s been retained by the Kardashian sisters, Sandra Bullock and Shaquille O’Neal. But given the history of Harry and Meghan and the backstory of Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, and her targeting by the media, this was a special case.
Indeed, the couple had left the UK in part to escape intense media scrutiny.
In July 2020, an L.A. photographer on a distant hillside with a long lens had snapped 26 images of the royals’ 14-month-old son Archie in a toy car being pushed by Meghan’s mother.
Drones may also have been involved. One problem was that the identity of the photographer was unknown.
“They needed a litigator,” Kump said. He acted fast, issuing a media statement and suing “John Does” in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
“Every individual and family member in California is guaranteed by law the right to privacy in their home,” he said. “No drones, helicopters or telephoto lenses can take away that right.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are filing this lawsuit to protect their young son’s right to privacy in their home without intrusion by photographers, and to uncover and stop those who seek to profit from these illegal actions.”
Kump’s suit said that a British tabloid had published the precise location of the couple’s home in Canada, triggering “harassment and intimidation” and leading Harry and Meghan to move to Los Angeles.
They were there only six weeks when the same outlet, the Daily Mail, again disclosed their new address. Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex v. Does 1 et al., 20SMCV00975 (L.A. Super. Ct., filed July 23, 2020).
“The John Doe suit gave us the subpoena power of the court,” Kump said. “We served the three largest paparazzi agencies in L.A. on the assumption that one of them had to be involved.”
The X17 Agency admitted they were, and Kump worked out a settlement announced in October that included an apology from the agency to the family, surrender of the photos, destruction of all copies and an agreement not to do it again. Also, X17 paid a portion of Kump’s fee.
Kump has represented Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian in three related state and federal lawsuits and a JAMS arbitration against the hedge fund Hillair Capital Management LLC and its Haven Beauty Inc. subsidiary over the operation of a cosmetics company to which the sister licensed their names and images.
The arbitration ended with a $12 million recovery for the Kardashians; the matter is on appeal.
“I’m not their only lawyer, but I do a lot of entertainment and IP work for the Kardashians,” Kump said. “And no, I’ve never been invited to their parties.”
— John Roemer, Los Angeles and San Fransisco Daily Journal