Antitrust is an ever-increasing concern to every business. Criminal and civil penalties for antitrust violations have been substantially expanded. Mergers and acquisitions face heightened scrutiny with several hundred challenges to mergers by the federal antitrust agencies in recent years. State attorneys general have become more active in the antitrust area. International authorities such as the European Union have also greatly expanded their antitrust reach. Antitrust class actions and multi-district litigation have increased substantially over the past several years.
Our antitrust attorneys successfully represent clients in a full range of antitrust matters, including litigating complex civil and criminal cases, whether government or private, counseling and risk reduction through establishment of compliance programs and antitrust audits, ushering mergers and acquisitions through the various competition authorities around the world, and other diverse matters. The Antitrust team earned recognition in Global Competition Review's 2012 "GCR 100" rankings—a comprehensive, independent assessment of the world's top antitrust and competition practices. The Antitrust group is recommended as one of the best practices in the U.S. Government Antitrust marketplace.
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We work with clients to minimize antitrust risk and to maximize business opportunity in a wide range of areas, including:
- Mergers & Acquisitions
We regularly represent companies in obtaining antitrust clearance of mergers and acquisitions reported under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act as well as investigations, consent decree negotiations and litigation that may follow the announcement of an acquisition. We provide proactive counseling to evaluate potential antitrust challenges to proposed acquisitions and to structure transactions so as to minimize antitrust risk. We have handled matters before the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, the Federal Trade Commission, state attorneys general and the European Commission on behalf of parties or third parties to transactions.
Our antitrust lawyers also advise clients on how to avoid antitrust problems relating to gun-jumping, information exchanges and pre-merger integration and planning, particularly in connection with large, complicated deals.
- Antitrust Counseling
We counsel clients in all facets of business strategies, including effective distribution programs (such as product and advertising restrictions, dealer acquisitions and terminations, and territorial and customer restraints); pricing issues (such as Robinson-Patman Act concerns); collaborative activities (such as trade associations, joint ventures, consortia and joint bidding processes); and antitrust compliance programs and audits.
- Civil Litigation
We represent national and international companies as both plaintiffs and defendants in actions brought under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act (restraint of trade and monopolization), Section 7 of the Clayton Act (mergers and acquisitions), the Robinson-Patman Act (price discrimination), state antitrust laws and matters before the Federal Trade Commission. We are experienced in major class action and other multi-party and multi-district civil litigation involving price-fixing and other antitrust claims in federal courts throughout the United States.
- Antitrust and Intellectual Property
We work closely with our intellectual property and business transaction attorneys to avoid antitrust problems in intellectual property management before they occur. Our antitrust team regularly provides advice on how to avoid antitrust problems in IP licensing transactions. When problems do occur, we assist in litigating antitrust counterclaims and other economic-based claims, such as patent misuse and patent damages claims, in patent infringement actions.
- Criminal Representation
Our antitrust, white-collar crime and in-house investigative teams are a unique resource that can make the difference between success and failure in aggressive criminal antitrust actions such as grand juries and, unfortunately, indictments and internal investigations of all types. We regularly represent companies, individual targets of investigations and witnesses in a variety of antitrust criminal matters such as grand jury proceedings, amnesty and immunity negotiations, plea agreements and trials. We conduct and coordinate investigations of criminal matters within the United States and throughout the world.
- Agency Representation
We represent clients on all types of antitrust and consumer protection matters before antitrust enforcement agencies, including state agencies and federal agencies, such as the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, and on antitrust issues arising in regulatory agency proceedings.
- Regulated Industries
We frequently represent clients on antitrust matters in regulated industries, such as financial services, telecommunications, transportation, health care, energy and other regulated industries where companies regularly wrestle with quite difficult competitive problems. Our antitrust lawyers are adept at handling complex antitrust issues that depend in large part on the intersection of industry-specific regulations applicable to our clients' businesses and the antitrust laws.
- International Antitrust
We regularly work as a team with counsel in multiple jurisdictions in connection with M&A, counseling and litigation matters to provide our clients with the advice and representation needed in each relevant country. As a result, we have developed a relationship with some of the best competition lawyers around the world to help satisfy our client's global antitrust needs.
- Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices
The Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection enforces and promulgates regulations under federal consumer protection laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits unfair and deceptive acts and practices in or affecting interstate commerce as well as unfair competition. We represent national and regional businesses in FTC proceedings involving these statutes and regulations, including investigations, negotiation of consent orders and adjudicative proceedings. Our attorneys are also experienced in the related field of private unfair competition litigation under the federal Lanham Act and state unfair competition laws.
- Trade Associations
We counsel trade associations on a wide variety of legal issues, including advice on the implications of trade association activities under federal and state antitrust laws. We have experience crafting antitrust guidelines and education programs, and counseling association leadership and members to avoid antitrust risks associated with their activities. In addition, we defend associations and their members in antitrust investigations and litigation instituted by federal and state antitrust enforcement agencies and private parties.