• B.A. (Physics), Harvard UniversIty
  • J.D., University of California Hastings College of the Law


  • State Bar of California:
    • Business Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • Litigation
  • Bar Association of San Francisco
    • Founding member, Entertainment and Sports Law Section
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association
  • Consumer Attorneys of California
  • ABA "Entertainment and Sports Lawyer" 
    • Visual Arts Editor 1998-2001


  • U.S. Court of Appeal, 11th Circuit: 2012
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California: 2009
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California: 1990
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California: 1985
  • State Bar of California: 1984


Opperman v. Path, Inc., (N.D. Cal. Jan. 22, 2014)

USA Technologies, Inc. v. Doe, 713 F. Supp. 2d 901 (N.D. Cal. 2010)

Vinyl Interactive, LLC v. Guarino, (N.D. Cal. July 17, 2006)

Toll v. Digirad Corp., (N.D. Cal. July 17, 2006)

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With a passion for justice, tempered by decades of experience handling high profile cases, Mr. Carlin is a versatile litigator and trial lawyer specializing in class actions, complex litigation and bet your company cases. Mr. Carlin has recovered over $450 million for his clients in such areas as consumer rights, intellectual property (copyright, trademark, trade secrets, right of publicity), technology, entertainment, employment, financial fraud, business disputes, and catastrophic injury. 

Among his many achievements, Mr. Carlin has handled the largest right of publicity settlement for non-celebrities in California history, the first high profile song infringement case to be extensively discussed on the internet, and one of the largest consumer class action settlements in history. Mr. Carlin was named a finalist for 2012 Consumer Attorney of the Year by the Consumer Attorneys of California for his work on the latter case. 

Mr. Carlin’s background as a technology entrepreneur, chess master and performing musician gives him a unique breadth of experience, perspective, judgment and common sense. A former registered US Patent Agent, Mr. Carlin worked in Silicon Valley for several years as an entrepreneur and CEO of a technology company. Mr. Carlin is a US National Chess Master and an accomplished cellist who has played with Berkeley Symphony, Verismo Opera and many other Bay Area groups. 

Mr. Carlin has served as vice chair of the San Francisco PUC Citizens Advisory Committee, and chair of the Civil Justice and National Security planks for the California Democratic Party Platform Committee. 

Mr. Carlin has been a partner at Phillips, Erlewine & Given since 2008. He is a 1983 graduate of Hastings College of the Law. He graduated from Harvard University in 1978 in Physics.  He has lectured at Hastings College of the Law, the University of California at Berkeley Law School, and the University of San Francisco School of Law. 


Given v. M&T Bank: Consumer class action against M&T Bank for unfair overdraft fee practices: $4 million settlement (subject to final court approval).

In Re Warner Music Group Corp. Digital Downloads Litigation: Class action on behalf of musical performing artists against Warner for underpayment of digital download royalties. $11.5 million settlement (subject to court approval).

Orallo et al. v. Bank of the West: Consumer class action against Bank of the West for unfair overdraft fee practices: $18 million settlement. 

Yourke et al. v. Bank of America: Consumer class action against Bank of America for unfair overdraft fee practices: $410 million settlement.

Restaurant workers v. Restaurant group (names confidential): Class action and PAGA action on behalf of minimum wage restaurant workers for wage and hour violations under the California Labor Code. $1.9 million settlement fund for 525 class members.

Pyramid Interactive v. Wayneco: Commercial lease dispute. Arbitration award of approximately $250,000 and defeat $300,000 counterclaim. 

Gonzales v. Countrywide Home Loans: Right of publicity case on behalf of actors whose images were used without permission to promote Countrywide Home loans. Achieved largest known recovery for non-celebrity plaintiffs in a right of publicity case in state history. 

Think Computer v. Facebook: Trademark cancellation proceeding on behalf of former Harvard classmate of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to cancel the Facebook trademark. 

Dunbar v. Gottwald: Represented songwriters for the pop group The Rubinoos in a lawsuit against pop superstar Avril Lavigne and her producer and co-writer Lukasz (“Dr. Luke”) Gottwald for copyright infringement, alleging that the Lavigne/Gottwald song “Girlfriend,” which was a No. 1 worldwide hit song for much of 2007, infringed on The Rubinoos’ 1979 hit song “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." Case settled for a confidential amount. 

GPP v. BaerwaldSong authorship dispute. Represented estate of co-author of six time platinum hit song "Come What May" from hit film Moulin Rouge against co-author who falsely claimed sole authorship.

Vinyl v. Education Dynamics: Leaving employee/trade secrets case on behalf of employer, obtaining Preliminary Injunction against defendants; case settled shortly thereafter.

Potrero Media Corporation v. Matthew Jones et al: Represented Potrero Media Corporation against leaving employee and the employee’s new employer for misappropriation of trade secrets. Obtained Preliminary and Permanent Injunctions and Judgment of over $1,100,000. The action was subsequently settled.