Michelle V. Francis


Michelle is the Founder and a Principal of THE FRANCIS COMPANY and her clients view her as a true business partner.

Michelle has over 25 years of experience in intellectual property. Having worked with 50 plus companies in both the US and abroad, she has a wide-ranging perspective on business strategy and on the essential, revenue-enhancing opportunities that intellectual property can bring in a wide variety of business environments.

With this as its foundation, THE FRANCIS COMPANY offers a unique perspective on achieving business objectives and aggressive revenue goals through the strategic exploitation of intellectual property. This uncommon synthesis of business acumen and intellectual property expertise has enabled THE FRANCIS COMPANY to develop and lead corporate projects that have proven to drive growth and create competitive advantage.

Michelle has brought this unique approach to entrepreneurs, US start-ups and mid-sized companies, as well as established multi-nationals in various industries. She has proven that the intentional strategic development and exploitation of various forms of intellectual property, matched with the appropriately designed level of operational support and portfolio management, changes the course of a business’s success, demonstratively increasing brand recognition, value creation and profit.

Under Michelle’s leadership, THE FRANCIS COMPANY partners with businesses in a wide range of industries – media, fitness, publishing, consumer products, fashion, human resource development and technology – to unite intellectual property development, management and monetization with business strategy and planning to ensure optimized and cost-efficient use of such assets and the operations supporting them in a creative, proactive manner.

Just prior to founding THE FRANCIS COMPANY over 11 years ago, Michelle served as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel in charge of intellectual property for News Corporation, a Fortune 100 company and a world leader in multi-media. Michelle’s first 4 years with the News Corp family, beginning in 1997, were spent at Fox Entertainment Group in Los Angeles where she handled worldwide film and television intellectual property enforcement matters, including many industry-wide Internet issues, for all Fox businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Fox Broadcasting Company, the Fox Cable Channels and Fox Sports.

In 2001, Michelle moved to New York to join News Corp’s General Counsel’s Office. There she headed the company’s intellectual property practice for over seven years, charged with the global business strategy, management and protection of the intellectual property and Internet assets of News Corp and many of its operating and joint venture companies, including HarperCollins, the New York Post, News America Marketing and various satellite platforms, Sky in Italy, Tata Sky in India, and various Sky branded satellite platforms in Latin America. She has also advised on certain matters for STAR TV in Asia, myspace.com and DirecTV. Her work at News Corp also included intellectual property due diligence in M&A transactions.

Prior to her in-house Fox and News Corp experience, Michelle was a litigator in private practice in Los Angeles, focusing on general litigation, as well as entertainment and intellectual property law at Knapp Petersen & Clarke, and subsequently, at Kulik, Gottesman & Mouton.

Michelle has served on various intellectual property committees such as the Trademark and Unfair Competition Committee of the New York City Bar and the Enforcement Sub Committee of the International Trademark Association, and has been a frequent speaker on intellectual property.

Michelle is a recipient of the 2014 Woman of the Year Award from the National Association of Professional Women and of the 2006 YWCA Academy of Women Leaders Award. She is an Advisor to Womensphere, and is also on the Board of Directors of the LaGuardia Community College Foundation.

Born in San Francisco, Michelle grew up in southern California, Japan, Greece and Singapore. She received a BA in English from UCLA in 1986 and a JD from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1990. Michelle is an avid tennis player, student of yoga, and loves riding horses and swimming in the ocean. She has also studied genres of non-fiction expression and oral history at The New School and Columbia University, respectively.