Intellectual Property Attorneys. Businesswomen. Marketing Pros.

Perpetually protecting intellectual property since 1999

Why Evoke Law

Evoke Law’s client roster includes satisfied clients who appreciate responsive, cost-conscious and highly personalized service. Many of the firm’s clients followed Mary when she opened her new firm — and current clients and former colleagues regularly refer new clients. Clients appreciate Evoke’s focus on the business perspective. Once a client of intellectual property legal services, Mary relates directly to her client’s concerns when delivering expert legal advice.


Mary L. Shapiro

Email:  |  Phone: 415.398.3141

Mary L. Shapiro started her own law firm in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District in 2009 after ten years at the renowned intellectual property law firm Townsend and Townsend and Crew, LLP. At Evoke Law, Mary counsels a broad range of clients in owning, enforcing, protecting and profiting from their intellectual property. True to her founding mission of providing practical and affordable intellectual property legal counsel, as a former marketing executive, she simultaneously adds real business value (rather than merely creating legal expenses) for private and public companies alike.

In the first 20 years of her business career, Mary worked her way up in the publishing world from book retailing to publishing, and then rose to vice president of marketing and corporate communications for an international book distributor. At the time, as a purveyor, not yet a protector, of intellectual property, she was not yet aware of how perfectly her combined experience in marketing and publishing would serve her in a legal career.

In her former role as vice president of marketing for Baker & Taylor Books, a global publishing distributor, Mary was on the receiving end of intellectual property legal advice. She learned to challenge advice that didn’t square with her fixed marketing budget and the bigger business picture. She’s been the unfortunate recipient of a lawyer’s demand letter that ultimately led to rebranding and re-launching a product. After becoming an intellectual property attorney herself, Mary maintains a balanced perspective, giving great weight to immediate marketing objectives as well as the long view of her clients’ business vision.

At Townsend and Townsend and Crew, then the West’s largest dedicated intellectual property firm, Mary developed extensive experience in counseling, clearance, filing, prosecution, licensing, enforcement and dispute resolution. After a decade at that prestigious firm, she tapped into her business experience to launch Mary L. Shapiro Law, a small firm focused on trademark and copyright law, and how these areas of law intersect with technology. In 2016, Mary L. Shapiro Law rebranded to Evoke Law, PC with a dual focus on technology and cannabis.

As the legal cannabis industry began emerging, Mary was able to start at the ground floor and strategize about how to obtain federal trademark applications for cannabis goods and services. Threading the needle, she posited that applying to register a mark for information services about cannabis would be a protected service. As the years passed, and state legalization marched forward, state trademark registrations entered the picture and cannabis operators could obtain state registrations for cannabis and cannabis-infused goods. While it is obvious that a sate registration does not provide a wide scope of protection, having a federal registration for providing information about cannabis and state registrations for cannabis itself, is the maximum protection presently available.

Mary has also volunteered the firm’s services to various advocacy groups, such as Americans for Safe Access, Marijuana Policy Project, International Cannabis Bar Association, and Cannabis Marketing Association. She regularly presents Continuing Legal Education on advanced topics to lawyers. She most recently served as Vice President at the INCBA and now sits on their advisory board and is active in the organization’s continuing legal education committee.

As an experienced intellectual property attorney, Mary’s combination of legal, business and marketing perspectives reach far beyond merely registering and enforcing trademarks and copyrights.


Ten Things You Might Not Know About Filing Under the Madrid Protocol System, INTA Newsletter, March 15, 2010 Vol. 65 No. 6.

Summary, Local Zoning Regulations Can Prohibit Use of a Registered Trademark But Cannot Require an Alteration of a Trademark: Blockbuster Videos, Inc. v. City of Tempé, 29 Golden Gate Univ. L. Rev. 106 (1999).

An Analysis of the Fair Use Defense in Dr. Seuss Enterprises v. Penguin Books USA, 28 Golden Gate Univ. L. Rev. 1 (1998).

Your Intellectual Property: Protecting and Exploiting It, 1998 Guide to Literary Agents (Writer’s Digest Books, 1998).


Nicole A. Katsin

Email:  |  Phone: 415.398.3141

Nicole A. Katsin (nee Syzdek) is a partner at Evoke Law, PC who focuses her practice on intellectual property, technology, and cannabis matters, including trademark and copyright prosecution and enforcement, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceedings, licensing agreements, and Internet policies.

Prior to joining Evoke Law, Nicole clerked for the Honorable Socrates P. Manoukian at the Superior Court of Santa Clara County and served as a legal consultant at MarkLogic, Corp. Additionally, while at the University of San Francisco, Nicole held the positions of Editor-in-Chief of the Intellectual Property Law Bulletin and Articles Editor on the board of the USF Law Review.

Nicole enjoys writing about a diverse range of legal topics pertaining to intellectual property, cybertechnology, and cannabis. Her comment entitled “Five Stages of Patent Grief to Achieve 3D Printing Acceptance,” was published in Volume 49 of the USF Law Review and has been cited by multiple scholars from top academic institutions.

Nicole received her Bachelors of Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University in 2012, and Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 2015. Nicole’s professional affiliations include the California Bar Association, International Trademark Association, Bar Association of San Francisco, and the International Cannabis Bar Association.

When not working, Nicole enjoys San Francisco Giants baseball, ballet, tennis, pilates, and jigsaw puzzles.


Five Stages of Patent Grief to Achieve 3D Printing Acceptance, 49 U.S.F. L. Rev. 335 (2015).

Gaining Cyberspace “Sea Legs”: A Proposal for a Judicial Cyber Education Program in District Courts, 48 U.S.F. L. Rev. 559 (2014).

I have an ongoing relationship with intellectual property.”

As a former client of intellectual property legal services, I understand and appreciate the abstract value of exclusive rights in marks and copyrights relative to the practical proposition of your developing, registering, enforcing, and defending such property. My independent legal practice is grounded in my experience as a senior marketing executive for an international company and my professional work as a trademark and copyright attorney, serving clients in a wide range of industries.  Atop of my to do list is superior customer service: being proactive on your behalf as well as responsive to your needs, including sensitivity to real-world budgetary restrictions. I intend to make dealing with your IP issues effortless, minimizing your financial investment in registering and enforcing your rights, while still enabling you to optimize the value of your IP.  You can have confidence in the advanced technology we use to monitor registration and filing deadlines related to your property, for timely and effective maintenance of your valuable rights.”

-Mary L. Shapiro