Mary Ellen Roy

Mary Ellen Roy practices in the areas of First Amendment law, entertainment and business litigation.


Mary Ellen Roy practices in the areas of First Amendment law, entertainment and business litigation.

She represents media and advertising companies in pre-publication and pre-broadcast review, defamation defense, privacy law, courtroom access, public records and open meetings, reporter’s privilege, negligent misrepresentation, and other First Amendment issues. She also handles intellectual property law matters, including copyright and trademark counseling, litigation, registration, prosecution and proceedings before the U.S. Copyright Office, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). She has experience with various Internet and technology law issues, including domain name disputes in international arbitrations before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), privacy and terms of use policies for websites, and anonymous speech postings.

Ms. Roy’s practice includes representing electric, gas, and water utilities in antitrust and consumer class actions, municipal franchise disputes, expropriation litigation, and regulatory proceedings before the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In addition, she represents corporate clients in a wide variety of litigation matters, including bank mergers and acquisitions, franchisor/franchisee disputes, shareholder and securities suits, entertainment law issues, unfair trade practices claims, protection of trade secrets, lender liability, real estate partnerships, arbitration and general business torts.


Media and First Amendment Law

  • Represented coalition of 10 news media organizations to open court proceedings in Mychal Bell/Jena Six juvenile case.
  • Successfully represented national television cable news channel to obtain Katrina death autopsy reports.
  • Successfully defended television news reporter threatened with contempt for reporting news of possible plea bargain and refusing to disclose confidential source in first capital murder case in post-Katrina New Orleans.
  • Obtained dismissal of national civil liberties organization in defamation suit brought by public school teacher of student who was disciplined after telling another student that his mother was gay.
  • Obtained reversal of adverse prior restraint court decision ordering newspaper not to publish news relating to legal malpractice case.
  • First Amendment counsel to organization comprised of Chief Executive Officers of the largest corporations in New Orleans regarding lobbying, speaking out, and publishing newspaper ads regarding controversial issues in post-Katrina New Orleans.
  • Obtained dismissal of Miami radio station in defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress action brought in Florida by appliance store sales manager on ground that plaintiff was a limited purpose public figure and had not alleged sufficient facts to demonstrate actual malice.
  • Obtained dismissal of book publisher, editor, author, and photographer in misappropriation of likeness and false light invasion of privacy lawsuit brought by Mardi Gras parade reveler pictured on cover of “irreverent” travel book.
  • Obtained dismissal of television station in defamation/invasion of privacy action brought by former public official forced to retire from state job after television broadcast showing him shoving photographer and cursing news crew. Won judgment of attorneys’ fees.
  • Successfully defended two New Orleans television stations and political pollster in three separate lawsuits in state and federal courts brought by mayoral candidates suing for injunctive relief and damages to require stations to include them in candidate debates. Won judgment awarding $25,000 in attorneys’ fees under state anti-SLAPP statute.
  • Successfully defended television station in lawsuit brought by minor alleging respondeat superior liability, negligent hiring and supervision in connection with news reporter accused of sexually molesting minor using company vehicle during working hours.

Intellectual Property Law 

  • Represented sports marketing firm in trademark infringement actions against national beer manufacturer and professional football team.
  • Represented kennel club in trademark cancellation proceeding against rival kennel club.
  • Defeated motion for preliminary injunction to enjoin broadcast of television reality show involving allegations of trademark infringement.
  • Defeated motion for preliminary injunction to enjoin publication of online business publication involving alleged theft of trade secrets.
  • Advised renowned Mardi Gras krewe on trademark and copyright issues relating to parade floats.
  • Represented documentary film producers in action for Lanham Act and contract violations. Achieved early settlement.
  • Won early dismissal representing television producer in idea theft case relating to kitchen television show.
  • Won dismissal of Lanham Act false endorsement claim brought by musician against national fitness company.
  • Defended national magazine publisher in copyright infringement suit brought in Tampa, Florida.
  • Advised national soft drink manufacturer in Atlanta regarding right to publicity issues concerning museum opening.
  • Defended national computer manufacturer in trademark dilution claim brought by public facility with same name as defendant’s high-end computer server.
  • Defended national brewery in copyright infringement action brought by local musician arising out of national advertising campaign.
  • Defended national legal textbook publisher in appropriation of likeness action brought by local attorney/judge.
  • Defended national domain name registrar in cybersquatting litigation in federal court in New Orleans.
  • General counsel to advertising/video production firm with national clientele.
  • Represented real estate developer in WIPO international arbitration in domain name dispute.
  • Prosecuted before Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) and Trademark Trial & Appeal Board (TTAB) several contested trademark registrations for art museum.
  • Obtained dismissal of national record label in invasion of privacy action brought by fan who was filmed, allegedly without her consent, for music video.


Speaking Engagements

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Louisiana Bar Foundation (Fellow)
  • ABA Communications Law Forum, Women in Communication Law (former Co-Chair)
  • ABA Communications Law Forum (Governing Board, 2005-2008)
  • ABA Section of Litigation, Regional Meetings Subcommittee, Intellectual Property Litigation Committee (Chair, 2002-2005)
  • Louisiana State Bar Association, Intellectual Property Law Section (Chair, 2003-04)
  • Media Law Resource Center - Defense Counsel Section
  • Louisiana Board of Regents, Statewide Coordinating Commission for Higher Education (At-Large Member and Executive Committee, 2006-2011)
  • Louisiana Blue Ribbon Commission for Educational Excellence (Co-Chair, 2007-2011)
  • New Orleans Pro Bono Project (former Officer and Director)
  • Louisiana Coalition for Open Government (Board Member)
  • Biennial National Media Law Conference, MLRC/NAA/NAB (Co-Chair, 2006 and 2008)
  • Sedona Conference Working Group on Protective Orders, Confidentiality and Public Access (Former Steering Committee Member)
  • Harvard Club of Louisiana (Former President)


  • Managing Intellectual Property - IP Stars
  • New Orleans MagazineTop Lawyers: Communications Law, First Amendment Law, Intellectual Property
  • AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • The Best Lawyers in America© - Litigation - First Amendment, Litigation - Intellectual Property (New Orleans Lawyer of the Year: Litigation - Intellectual Property, 2016)
  • Louisiana Super Lawyers (Top 25 Women Louisiana Super Lawyers, 2015)
  • Louisiana Super Lawyers