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Robert C. Cumbow

My ability to recognize and clearly explain the challenges to establish, distinguish, protect, and enforce unique intellectual property assets has positioned me as a trusted advisor and enthusiastic advocate of businesses and entrepreneurs. Quotation mark
Robert C. Cumbow
Robert C. Cumbow

About Bob

Bob Cumbow counsels domestic and international businesses and entrepreneurs on intellectual property registration, agreements, licensing, due diligence, and protection for advertising, publishing, and internet issues. His practice includes matters relating to trademark search, clearance, prosecution, and policing; copyright and publicity right clearance; licenses, assignments, contracts, releases, and publishing agreements; alcoholic beverage branding, labeling and advertising; communications and media law; intellectual property dispute resolution; domain name disputes; advertising compliance; and promotional contests and sweepstakes.

His clients have included wineries, breweries, and distilleries; beverage and specialty food companies; telecommunication and wireless companies; news and entertainment media; computer hardware and software companies; video and board game developers; cannabis and cannabis-related businesses; advertising agencies; a major league baseball team; an international evangelist; artists, arts organizations, independent film makers, playwrights, authors, and musicians; and major international retailers, manufacturers, and distributors of books, appliances, clothing, pharmaceuticals, and food products.

Bob has been a revered adjunct law professor for more than 20 years, teaching the foundations of IP law and sharing the passion for popular culture, language, and history that informs his practice, fuels his appreciation for client’s brands and creations, and enhances his ability to help clients protect their businesses.

Representative Experience

  • Intellectual Property Advocacy Plus
    • Special Assistant Attorney General providing trademark and copyright support to four Washington state institutions of higher learning.

    • Coordinated team efforts in building and maintaining worldwide trademark portfolios for a major computer-network control provider and three global computer-game development companies.

    • Organized copyright management, licensing, and sponsorship programs for black history website.

    • Achieve federal registration of certification mark for regional certifier of Skagit Valley agricultural goods and services

    • Conducted trademark and IP due diligence for major craft brewery acquisition.

    • Overcame United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) objections to achieve registration for brewery brands on short turnaround.

    • Represented commercial fisherman featured in television series, "The Deadliest Catch," in protecting and licensing trademarks and personal-image branding.

    • Assisted cannabis-related clients in obtaining intellectual property protection consistent with the differing standards of state and federal law.

    • Protected a maker of t-shirts and other apparel from infringing activity by two competitors.

    • Achieved trademark registration for beverage bottle and label design, overcoming USPTO objections.

    • Negotiated coexistence agreements between wine and beer labels using similar trademarks.

    • Reviewed dispute and overcame competitor demand, enabling client brewery to continue use of challenged trademark.

    • Expert witness in three cases involving disputes over trademark law, practice, and policy.

    • Court-appointed expert witness in two international software-licensing disputes.

    • Mediation practice focusing on trademark and copyright dispute resolution.

    • Headspace Corp. and Clear Cannabis, Inc. v. Podworks Corp. (Mediation, King County Superior Court, Washington, 2020)

Client Collaborations



  • J.D., Seattle University School of Law (formerly University of Puget Sound School of Law), summa cum laude, 1991
  • M.A., Seattle University, English, 1969
  • B.A., Seattle University, English, 1967

Bar Admissions

Washington, 1992

Additional Information

(SITE) IP & Tech Law Trends Editor


Professional Plus
  • Seattle University Law School, Adjunct Professor of Law, 1998-present
  • University of Washington School of Law, Adjunct Professor of Law, 2012-2022
  • Washington Lawyers for the Arts, Volunteer
    • Past Board Member
    • Past President
  • Washington State Bar Association
    • Intellectual Property Section, Member
  • International Trademark Association, Member
  • Copyright Society of the USA, Member
Civic Plus
  • Lecturer on films
    • Seattle International Film Festival, 2016-present
    • Women’s University Club, Seattle, 2015-present
    • Northwest Film Forum, Seattle, 2010-2016
  • Seattle University Film Studies Program, 2010-2016


  • Recognized as a “Trade mark star” by Managing Intellectual Property IP STARS, 2021-present
  • Recipient of the Master of BrandScience Award, presented by BrandStrategy, Inc., 2021
  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® (Seattle, WA)
    • Advertising Law, 2024-present
    • Copyright Law, 2024-present
    • Information Technology Law, 2001-present; “Lawyer of the Year,” 2013, 2015, 2018
    • Trademark Law, 2012-present; “Lawyer of the Year,” 2014, 2024
    • Selected for inclusion as a Washington Super Lawyer, 2003-present
      • Top 100 Washington Super Lawyers, 2014-2019, 2021
    • Recognized as a “Leader in Their Field” by Chambers USA for Intellectual Property—Washington
    • Selected for inclusion in WTR 1000 and named to the Gold level of recognition by the World Trademark Review
    • Rated AV® Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell®
    • Inaugural winner of Seattle University School of Law’s Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award, 2008
    • Graham & Dunn’s “Open Door Award” recipient for accessibility and assistance to the firm’s junior lawyers, 2002, 2006, 2010

    Insights from Bob

    Bob is a prolific writer on various topics. Following is a listing of publications since 2018. A complete list is available upon request.

    Bob is a frequent speaker on various topics. Following is a listing of presentations since 2018. A complete list is available upon request.

    • Commentator, “Digital Resurrection”, at “7th Annual Innovation and Technology Conference: Generative AI”, Seattle University School of Law (May 2024)
    • “Trademark and Right of Publicity Year in Review,” Oregon State Bar, IP Section CLE (May 2024)
    • “Trademark and Right of Publicity Year in Review,” Pincus CLE (Jan. 2024)
    • “Jack Daniel's and the Rogers Test,” Panel Discussion, Intellectual Property Law Society, Seattle University School of Law, (Oct. 2023)
    •  Guest Lecturer on Right of Publicity Law, Seattle University School of Law, (Oct. 2023)
    • “The Most Common I.P. Mistakes Start-Ups Make,” Seattle University School of Law (June 2023)
    • “Trademark and Right of Publicity Year in Review,” Pincus CLE (Jan. 2023)
    • “What They Do for a Living: The Right of Publicity in Video Games and Movies,” King County Bar Association IP Section CLE (June 2020)
    • “Art Law in the Time of COVID-19,” Washington State Bar Association, webinar CLE, co-presenter (Oct. 2020)
    • “Q&A Session With #PopCulture Lawyers,” Rose City Comic Con, panelist (Sept. 2019)
    • “Copyright Basics for Artists,” University of Washington Annual Course (2007-present)
    • “Moral Rights of Artists and VARA,” Washington State Bar Association, Art Law CLE (Aug. 2019)
    • “IP Mistakes Start-Ups Make,” Seattle University School of Law (June 2019)
    • “Fundamentals of Copyright Law & Publishing Contracts,” University of Washington School of Law (May 2019)
    • “Advertising Law: Contests & Sweepstakes,” Washington State Bar Association, Maybe They’re Born with It: Maybe it’s Marketing Seminar (Apr. 2019)
    • “Trademark Year in Review,” Washington State Bar Association, Intellectual Property Section, Annual Intellectual Property Institute (Apr. 2018)

    Outside the Office

    Bob enjoys tasting and discussing malt whiskey, and watching, writing, and talking about movies.

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