Michele M. Totonis
Michele M. Totonis,
Director Legal Affairs
Michele M. Totonis is the Director of Legal Affairs / Legal Business Partner for Intellectual Property (IP); Product & Marketing Development; Licensing & Entertainment; and Corporate Communications for the LEGO Group of companies. Michele leads the company’s engagement on IP development, strategy, litigation, protection and enforcement and helps to formulate and execute the company’s marketing and entertainment related strategic initiatives. Michele negotiates the legal and business aspects of the company’s mission-critical, high-visibility IP licensing and entertainment deals, and is responsible for the legal relationship management for all major partners and licensors such as Disney (including Marvel and Lucasfilm), Warner Bros., DC, Universal, SONY, Netflix, and various premium car brands. Michele also handles other complex transactions for product and asset development for live action and animated television and theatrical motion picture development, including content creation, broadcast, distribution, licensing, merchandising, music rights, digital gaming and publishing. Michele drafted and implemented the global IP Strategy for the company; oversees IP related litigation; handles the legal review of general marketing, marketing to children, digital and brand marketing content reviews; and is responsible for the oversight and management of the global IP portfolio, as well as the policing efforts for the IP assets in all realms, such as online commercial and social networking sites. Michele developed and delivers training sessions for internal personnel regarding IP matters such as proper trademark and copyright use and patentability of new subject matter; as well as programs relating to children’s advertising rules and guidelines (CARU), COPPA legislation, GDPR, global packaging requirements, product testing requirements (CPSIA regulations), and marketing strategies and compliance.
Michele has been a participating member of the CARU Supporters Council since 2008, is an active member of the International Trademark Association, the American Bar Association, the Connecticut Bar Association and is a frequent speaker at legal and business conferences and seminars on various subjects including intellectual property law, digital gaming, marketing to children, entertainment law, licensing, merchandising and brand protection. Michele began her career with the boutique intellectual property firm of Hosmer & Reiter in 1993, where she gained valuable experience in trademark, patent and copyright prosecution and licensing agreements for a variety of entertainment, merchandising and commercial clients via the firm’s relationship with LIMA (Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association) where Mr. Hosmer served as General Counsel. Michele then moved on to the Ahlstrom Corporation and from 2002-2008, served as its Chief IP Counsel where she managed Ahlstrom’s global IP portfolio. Michele joined the LEGO Group in 2008.
Michele earned her B.A. Summa Cum Laude from Columbia University, her B.S. Summa Cum Laude from Western Connecticut State University, and her J.D. Magna Cum Laude from the Quinnipiac University School of Law. She is admitted to the Bar in Connecticut.
Prior to her legal career, Michele performed as a dancer in a variety of Broadway and off-broadway productions. In her spare time, Michele and her husband enjoy spending time with their two sons attending various sporting activities the kids engage in, listening to their sons play in a musical concert, playing golf together as a family, spending time at amusement parks enjoying the thrill rides, especially the rollercoasters, listening to music, or gardening. As you might imagine, Michele has a vast array of LEGO® models on display throughout her home and office, many sets to play with and build, as well as hours of LEGO® animated programs to enjoy!