Shabnam Malek is a partner at Brand & Branch LLP and founding President of the National Cannabis Bar Association. Shabnam’s background is in trademark law, and she cut her teeth on all things intellectual property as an associate at O’Melveny & Myers (OMM) in San Francisco. While at OMM, Shabnam developed a broad practice in ITC enforcement, district court litigation, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board disputes, and trademark prosecution strategy. She represented large, global companies as well as smaller technology startups and local food manufacturers. She also developed a robust pro bono practice representing imprisoned women before the California Board of Parole Hearings as well as representing houseless San Francisco residents through the Coalition on Homelessness. Since her days in “big law,” Shabnam has expanded her practice to include promotions and sweepstakes law, advertising law, and the representation of lawful cannabis and hemp companies throughout the United States.
During the launch of Brand & Branch, Shabnam and her law partner, Amanda R. Conley, founded the National Cannabis Bar Association, which recently expanded its reach to become the International Cannabis Bar Association (INCBA). Today, INCBA boasts a membership base of nearly 500 individual attorney members and a strong international presence. Shabnam and Amanda’s vision for the organization was realized in the organization’s flagship annual two-day legal educational event, the Cannabis Law Institute, at which they’ve spoken two years in a row. Shabnam and Amanda also co-founded the Bay Area chapter of Women Grow in 2014.
Shabnam’s practice now focuses on advice and counsel to companies seeking to expand their presence or intellectual property portfolio across industries as well as across state and international borders. Clients benefit from Shabnam’s expertise in the areas of regulatory compliance and intellectual property licensing, in addition to her well-developed understanding of the intersection of law, strategy, and business.
Shabnam regularly speaks and writes on the topics of trademarks, brand expansion, regulated industries such as cannabis and hemp, and the role of women in creating change. She also has chaired educational programs on cannabis law, for organizations such as NCBA and recently, the Practicing Law Institute’s Cannabis: Business Fundamentals 2019 program. Her professional affiliations include holding a seat on the Board of Directors of the International Cannabis Bar Association, membership with the International Trademark Association and California Lawyers’ Association, where she serves on committees, and memberships with the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Lawyers Guild, the Queen’s Bench, and the Bar Association of San Francisco. Shabnam was named a Northern California Rising Star three years in a row by Super Lawyers Magazine.