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John Gilbertson Zarley Law Intellectual Propert Attorneys

John D. Gilbertson

Intellectual Property Attorney

If you asked for some words that best describe John, “creative” would have to be near the top of the list. With over a decade of experience in the media and entertainment industry, John delivers a unique approach to trademark, copyright and business law to tactically build the strongest protection possible for creators, innovators and business owners. His approach was forged from firsthand experience managing commercial recording studios as well as producing and engineering records for major labels.

Having lived and worked in Nashville and Los Angeles for a majority of his career, we’re glad he decided to boomerang his way back to his hometown of Des Moines. He earned a J.D. from Drake University, and now lends his expertise as an Associate for many areas in the firm including start-ups, media, and litigation.

Not only does he guide clients through the intricacies of intellectual property law with ease, but he’s also a bit of a wordsmith. He was recently recognized onstage during GRAMMY Week 2020 as runner-up in the Entertainment Law Initiative, a national legal writing competition sponsored by the Recording Academy. We admit that he does bump up the cool factor of our office by a few notches, but he’s best known for his dedication to finding the most effective solutions for our clients.

Some of John’s publications include:

  • Blunt Advice: A Crash Course in Cannabis Trademarks
    • Vol. 60, IDEA: The Law Review for the Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property, 2020
  • Play It Again, Sam: The Free-Market Case for Government Intervention in the Music Streaming Sector
    • Vol. 36, ABA Entertainment & Sports Lawyer, Spring 20206, ABA Entertainment & Sports Lawyer, Spring 2020
  • Grassley Brings Harmony to Work on Music Licensing
    • Des Moines Register, Mar. 3, 2020


Drake University Law School
J.D., with Honors

Drake Journal of Agricultural Law

Berklee College of Music
B.A., cum laude, Music Production & Engineering


Iowa State Bar

Technical Fields

Trade Secrets
Contracts & Vendor Agreements
Cybersecurity, Data Breach, & Privacy
Business Formation
Licensing & Regulation

Non-Legalese Facts

Proud papa to a sweet English bulldog named Betsie
Thinks the best time of the year is the Stanley Cup Playoffs
Owns more pairs of boots from Red Wing Shoes® than we think is healthy

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