Find Lawyers in La Jolla, California for Litigation - Antitrust
Practice Area Overview
Private antitrust litigation can involve a single plaintiff and a single defendant in a single jurisdiction but more often involves groups or classes of plaintiffs often pursuing claims in multiple jurisdictions. Anticompetitive conduct that is condemned by the antitrust laws is often alleged to have harmed large groups of consumers or competitors, and the availability of treble damages under the antitrust laws provides a strong incentive for pursuing class claims. As with government antitrust litigation, the subject matter of private antitrust litigation can vary widely, including claims for alleged price fixing, price discrimination, bid rigging, tying, refusals to deal, vertical trade restraints, monopolization, attempted monopolization, and unfair competition.
Because antitrust litigation is often characterized by parallel governmental actions and private litigation spanning multiple domestic and even foreign jurisdictions, managing the risks of monetary and reputational harms consistent with the client’s business needs and goals requires a great deal of sensitivity and judgment on the part of the antitrust litigator. A skilled antitrust litigator must understand his or her client’s overall business operations as well as objectives and be able to develop a comprehensive strategy for dealing with many claimed stakeholders.
The intersection of antitrust and intellectual property law is an increasing focus in antitrust litigation. In part because patents convey limited monopolies, it is not uncommon for defendants in patent and copyright litigation to assert that plaintiffs have engaged in anticompetitive conduct in violation of the antitrust laws. The ownership and licensing of large portfolios of intellectual property rights — especially patents that are essential to practicing industrywide standards — have been a particular focus of recent antitrust litigation. For example, the U.S. Department of Justice has recently examined the acquisition of large patent portfolios by Microsoft, Apple, and others. And there are numerous pending investigations and litigations concerning whether owners of standards-essential patents are entitled to obtain injunctions against alleged infringers.
Peter T. Barbur, PartnerCravath, Swaine & Moore
Corporate Law & Commercial Litigation Legal Guide 2023View Legal Guide
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