Patterson Belknap represents clients in antitrust litigation and counseling matters, including those related to pricing, marketing, distribution, franchising, and mergers and acquisitions. The Firm has particular experience in antitrust litigation involving product distribution and pricing, safety codes and other standard-setting activities, and IP/antitrust issues such as alleged misuse of patents.
Our group authors AntitrustUpdateBlog.com, a source of insights, information and analysis on both criminal and civil antitrust and competition-related issues, including the legal developments, trends and changing regulation that impact businesses.
Our team includes William F. Cavanaugh, Jr., who returned to the Firm after serving as Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States for Civil Enforcement in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. During his time in Washington, Mr. Cavanaugh directly supervised the Division’s work on a number of high-profile matters, including the Google Book Search settlement agreement and the Ticketmaster and Live Nation merger. Prior to his term in Washington, he served as national and trial counsel in several large multiparty antitrust and fraud litigations in federal and state courts across the United States, representing major pharmaceutical, medical device, and financial services companies.
Our team includes the Firm’s former Co-Chair and Managing Partner Robert P. LoBue. Mr. LoBue has defended a number of significant antitrust litigations and government investigations, including cases in the banking, insurance, magazine publishing, financial data distribution, pharmaceutical and medical device industries.
We have defended large corporations and professional associations in a number of major antitrust cases, including two argued in the United States Supreme Court. In addition, Patterson Belknap has represented clients before the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission and various other federal and state administrative agencies. The Firm is also active in civil antitrust litigation in federal and state courts. In antitrust counseling, as in other areas, Patterson Belknap stresses efficient staffing and cost-effective legal representation. In 2021, Patterson Belknap was named to a list of law firms representing the top ten companies with the highest market capitalization facing antitrust litigation in the technology, pharmaceutical, and financial sectors, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis.
Some significant cases include:
- Successfully secured a significant victory for a Fortune 500 publishing company with the full dismissal of a multi-district antitrust litigation in the Southern District of New York. The multi-district litigation consolidated a number of putative class action lawsuits alleging that our client, along with other textbook publishers and retailers, violated various federal and state antitrust laws through its implementation of Inclusive Access, a program authorized by federal regulation whereby students may be automatically billed for and automatically receive digital course materials selected by their professor.
- Representing a contact lens manufacturer in the defense of an antitrust lawsuit brought by a discount retailer alleging anticompetitive pricing. Also defending our client in follow-on consumer class action suits that have arisen over the alleged price-fixing of contact lenses.
- Representing one of the nation’s largest commercial banks as a defendant in a long-running series of litigations alleging violations of the antitrust laws by Visa, Mastercard, and a number of banks in the issuance of credit and debit cards. Several of the cases, including national class actions of merchants, have been settled.
- Defending major pharmaceutical manufacturer in on-going antitrust litigation involving entry of biosimilar competition.
- Representing a chocolate manufacturer in an antitrust case alleging price discrimination.
- Representing a major financial institution in federal antitrust class action litigation challenging ATM access fees.
- Successfully secured summary judgment on behalf of the largest producer of quality chocolate in North America as lead trial counsel in a multidistrict antitrust litigation in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs are direct purchasers (wholesalers and chain stores) that alleged that our client conspired with other major chocolate manufacturers to fix the price of chocolate singles and “kings” in the U.S. between 2002 and 2007. The district court concluded that the record evidence led to the conclusion that “plaintiffs have adduced no evidence tending to exclude the possibility that defendants acted independently.” The Third Circuit affirmed the decision.
- Successfully secured the dismissal of a multi-million dollar federal antitrust lawsuit against our client, a major pharmaceutical manufacturer. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed all antitrust claims against our client on the grounds that the plaintiff did not have the antitrust injury that is necessary for antitrust standing under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act.
- Defended one of the major financial guaranty insurance companies in a series of antitrust claims brought by municipal bond issuers. In two separate groups of cases, the municipalities alleged wide-ranging conspiracies among insurers and others in both the sale of bond insurance and in the sale of municipal bond derivatives.
- Representing a major financial institution in an antitrust lawsuit brought by another financial services company. In this follow-on suit to a Department of Justice case, the plaintiff sought damages for injuries allegedly suffered as a result of certain credit card rules. The plaintiff also joined numerous banks, including our client, alleging that they conspired to exclude the plaintiff from the bank-issuing card market. The case subsequently settled.
- Advising a publisher in defense of a government investigation into licensing practices in the delivery of financial data.
- Defended a major pharmaceutical company in federal multidistrict class and individual actions, and state class actions, arising from allegedly anti-competitive pricing in the brand name prescription pharmaceutical market. The district court concluded that plaintiffs could prove neither competitive injury nor antitrust injury and granted summary judgment. The Second Circuit issued a precedential opinion affirming the lower court’s ruling. In ruling in favor of defendants, the Second Circuit found that the “ de minimus evidence of lost sales is insufficient to establish competitive injury.”
- Defended the nation's largest publisher of magazines in a nationwide class action alleging a conspiracy among publishers to restrain discounting of magazine subscriptions.
- Defended a major pharmaceutical company against claims by generic drug manufacturers and classes of consumers alleging illegal exclusion of generic competition through abuse of patent rights.
- Defended before the FTC a health care company's right to acquire a contraceptive business in the face of antitrust objections.
- Handled an antitrust appeal before United States Supreme Court in the Sharp Electronics case on vertical restraint issues relating to the marketing of electronic equipment.
- Represented a professional society in the United States Supreme Court and lower court against charges of antitrust violations, which stemmed from allegedly anti-competitive manipulation of its safety code program.
- Represented a consumer products company in challenging as a restraint of trade an agreement restricting its use of a famous trademark.
- Defended an antitrust suit against a health care concern that acquired a medical device, allegedly to drive the acquiree out of business.
- Represented a joint venture of two major media companies seeking to prohibit a competitor on antitrust grounds from acquiring a cable network.
- Advising corporate clients on the antitrust implications of grants of distribution rights, relations between manufacturers and their distributors, tie-ins and consumer, wholesale pricing.