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Antitrust and Competition




At Sheppard Mullin, Antitrust and Competition law has been a premier practice for decades, as one of the firm's name partners co-founded the Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association. That tradition continues today with our highly ranked global antitrust and competition practice, as underscored by Chambers USA noting "they get my highest marks - they just had such a breadth of expertise”. Our global competition resources include lawyers in California, Washington D.C., New York, Brussels, London, Seoul, Shanghai and Beijing.

Our Antitrust and Competition Group has numerous matters at the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, State Attorneys Generals, the European Commission and EU member states.  In the U.S., our lawyers counsel clients and handle litigation involving the federal Sherman, Clayton and Robinson-Patman Acts, as well as state antitrust statutes including California’s Cartwright Act, Unfair Practices Act and Unfair Competition Act. Internationally, we advise on EU competition law, EU state aid, UK and various EU member states' antitrust and regulatory matters, and China’s Anti-Monopoly law.


Sheppard Mullin’s Antitrust and Competition practice includes:

  • Top tier international price fixing cartel expertise, criminal governmental defense, and MDL direct and indirect class cases
  • Cutting edge IP/patent antitrust experience relating to standard setting, patent pooling, product distribution and licensing  restraints, joint ventures and other competitor collaborations
  • Extensive direct and indirect purchaser class action litigation experience, government investigations and merger clearance
  • Merger and structuring issues, joint ventures and other competitor collaborations
  • Antitrust audits and antitrust compliance programs
  • Experience from former DOJ Antitrust Division attorneys, EC competition lawyers and former Presidents of the ABA Antitrust Section.


  • Chambers USA has named our Antitrust Practice as top tier in California. As well, Chambers USA has recognized Gary Halling, Don Klawiter and James McGinnis as top attorneys in Antitrust, and Legal 500 highly ranks our Antitrust practice in the U.S.

  • Chambers Europe has named Jacques Derenne a “Star Individual” in Belgium Competition/State Aid, and he is ranked by Legal 500, GCR and the Best Lawyers of Europe.  Isabelle Rahman is ranked by Chambers Europe and Chambers Global (EU competition) and she is recommended by European Legal Experts, Practical Law Company (PLC), IFLR 1000, Chambers Global and The Legal 500 EMEA.  Robert Klotz is ranked by Chambers Global (German and Belgian competition law and German M&A) as well as Legal 500.  Wim Vandenberghe is recommended by Legal 500 EMEA for EU Regulatory and Energy. Chambers UK has recognized Oliver Heinisch for UK competition law.
  • U.S. News & World Report / Best Lawyers in America ranks Sheppard Mullin among the “Best Law Firms” in the United States, including a national Tier 1 ranking of the firm’s Antitrust Practice.

  • Benchmark Litigation has annually recognized Gary Halling as a Litigation Star and Michael Scarborough as a Future Litigation Star, and recommends our California practice.

Representative Matters

Horizontal Restraint Cases

  • In re Lithium Ion Batteries Antitrust Litig., MDL No. 2420: national counsel defending industry-leading multinational electronics companies in criminal and civil price-fixing actions regarding lithium ion rechargeable battery products.
  • Motorola Mobility vs. Samsung SDI: secured dismissal of multi-billion dollar TFT-LCD price-fixing claims based on overseas purchases.
  • In re Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) Antitrust Litigation: represented industry leading defendant in federal and state civil actions alleging price fixing in the memory chip market, as well as in related grand jury proceedings.
  • In re Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Antitrust Litigation, MDL. No 1917: national counsel defending coordinated antitrust price-fixing class actions, opt-out actions, and state attorney general claims, as well as related grand jury proceedings.
  • In re TFT-LCD (Flat Panel) Antitrust Litigation, MDL. No 1827: served as national counsel and defense liaison counsel for coordinated antitrust price-fixing class actions, as well as in related grand jury proceedings.
  • In re Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust Litigation:  represented MasterCard International Incorporated in multidistrict litigation under federal antitrust laws and Truth In Lending Act. Reached comprehensive settlement, affirmed by the Second Circuit.
  • Schwartz v. Visa Int'l Inc., et al.: for MasterCard International Incorporated, obtained dismissal of representative action brought under Cal. Bus & Prof. Code § 17200 challenging currency conversion practices of MasterCard and Visa following lengthy state court trial and appeal.
  • In re Methionine Antitrust Litigation: represented the defendant in class actions alleging price fixing under federal and state antitrust laws.
  • In re Wholesale Electricity Antitrust Cases:  represented the defendant in a class action alleging price fixing and other anti-competitive conduct.
  • In re SRAM Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1819:  defended industry-leading international electronics company in civil price-fixing class actions regarding static random access memory chip products, and related grand jury proceedings.
  • Advanced Micro Devices: represented client in class action litigation relating to disclosures concerning microprocessor development.
  • Varian Semiconductor v. Applied Materials: represented Applied Materials in antitrust action alleging that client's pricing practices violated federal antitrust law.
  • In re Used CD Antitrust Litigation: represented record label in action alleging that labels conspired to eliminate sales of used CDs in violation of federal antitrust law.
  • In re Cosmetics Antitrust Litigation: represented national retailers and cosmetics manufacturer in coordinated state court litigation alleging price fixing of women's cosmetics.
  • McAllister v. Inland Health Plan: class action by doctors alleging price fixing by an HMO.
  • Bristol Hotels v. NCII, et al.: represented the defendants in actions alleging conspiracy among national commercial insurers to fix prices by passing on residual market loads on workers' compensation policies.
  • Warner Home Video: defended company in a nationwide class action and related federal and state cases brought by independent video rental retailers claiming a group boycott and price fixing in connection with contracts entered into between movie studios and a national home video rental chain.
  • Digital Cinema Committee of Motion Picture Association of America: represented client in connection with antitrust issues relating to digital cinema transmission, security and exhibition issues.
  • The Gator Corporation: defended client in multidistrict nationwide direct and class action attacks on its targeted internet advertising business model under the Copyright Act, the Lanham Act and state unfair competition law.

Monopolization/Merger Cases

  • Rambus, Inc. v. Samsung Electronics, Inc.:  represented Samsung in multi-billion dollar horizontal boycott litigation regarding Rambus claims involving suppression of next generation of DRAM computer chip.
  • Healthcare Acquisitions: defending acquisitions involving healthcare entities, including ongoing antitrust litigation between competing hospitals and representing multiple hospitals and doctor groups in clinical integration and affiliation transactions in California and New York. 
  • The Hearst Corporation: successfully defended client in high profile San Francisco federal court trial in private antitrust action challenging acquisition of the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • Reilly v. MediaNews Group et al.: represented MediaNews Group and California Newspapers Partnership defending billion dollar acquisition of San Francisco Bay Area newspapers and corporate investment in private litigation with related DOJ proceedings.
  • Amgen, Inc.: represented Amgen in antitrust litigation involving a competitor arising out of a prior patent infringement settlement.
  • Advanced Micro Devices: assisted company in formulating and prosecuting a monopolization claim against a major competitor and defended multidistrict claim litigation with same competitor.
  • Carrier Airconditioning: provided antitrust counseling to overcome distributorship restrictions in the western United States.
  • DHL v. Estate of Larry Hillblom: represented DHL in federal court action to enforce terms of Shareholder Agreement permitting the Company to purchase outstanding shares from the Saipan estate of a deceased shareholder.
  • Paycom v. MasterCard International Incorporated: represented MasterCard in action alleging that MasterCard's chargeback practices violated Federal antitrust laws. Brought successful motion to dismiss the complaint in its entirety; affirmed by Second Circuit.
  • In re Taxol Antitrust Litigation: represented the defendant in a monopolization case involving generic competition for anti-cancer drugs and the operation of the Hatch Waxman Act.
  • Primadonna Resorts: represented directors in class and derivative litigation arising out of the sale of the Primadonna Resorts to MGM Grand Incorporated.
  • Pan Asia Venture Capital v. The Hearst Corporation:  below cost newspaper advertising case, prevailed following trial and appeal.
  • McDonnell Douglas v. Northrop: monopolization action involving teaming agreements between defense contractors.
  • Nestle Food v. Bristol Myers: monopolization case involving infant formula advertising.

Boycott/Tying/Vertical Restraint/Unfair Competition Claims

  • Cascades v. RPX: defending Samsung Electronics against boycott and monopsonization claims relating to smartphone patent licensing and membership in defensive patent aggregator RPX Corporation.
  • California Law Institute v. Visa USA, Inc. et al.: for MasterCard, obtained dismissal of putative representative action brought under CA UCL (§ 17200) alleging that MasterCard's chargeback policies were unfair and/or unlawful under UCL.
  • Schickel v. Sterling Jewelers, Inc.: represented Sterling Jewelers in consumer class action litigation alleging deceptive practices allegedly violating CA Unfair Competition Law. Claims voluntarily dismissed by plaintiffs.
  • Halprin v. Block Financial Services, Inc.: represented H&R Block and subsidiary in class action litigation asserting price-fixing claims regarding Block's TaxCut software products. Obtained dismissal at trial court level leading to a settlement favorable to Block.
  • Rambus, Inc. v. Samsung Electronics, Inc.:  represented Samsung in multi-billion dollar horizontal boycott litigation regarding Rambus claims involving suppression of next generation of DRAM computer chip.
  • Cartel State Law Claims: defending industry leading electronics companies in series of national indirect purchaser MDL class actions against numerous state law unfair competition claims regarding DRAM, LCD, CRT, SRAM and Lithium Ion batteries industries.
  • Schwartz v. Visa International Service Association, et al.: represented MasterCard International Incorporated in a series of actions challenging foreign currency conversion practices under California's Unfair Competition Law, including successful appeal of lower court's judgment and eventual dismissal.
  • Doss v. The Gap, et al.: defended a national department store company in federal and state court litigation brought by garment workers from the Island of Saipan, whose putative class contained 50,000 members and who sought to bring numerous charges based on alleged sweat shop conditions and improper labeling and advertising of garments.
  • DeBeers Antitrust Litigation: represented retail jeweler as amicus in a number of antitrust actions brought against DeBeers relating to its marketing of diamonds in the U.S. Assisted in obtaining nationwide class settlement that was affirmed by the Third Circuit. (Sullivan v. DB Investments, Inc. et al.).
  • In re Brand Name Prescription Drugs Antitrust Litigation: represented FoxMeyer Drug Co. (a pharmaceutical wholesaler) in an industry-wide multi-district antitrust litigation involving federal and state actions. Assisted in the coordination of the defense and was responsible for drafting motion for summary judgment, which resulted in a favorable summary judgment decision (later reversed by the Seventh Circuit) and ultimately in a directed verdict for the remaining defendants at trial (client was no longer actively involved in the action).
  • In re Credit/Debit Card Tying Cases representing MasterCard International in coordinated class actions and related appeals following settlement concerning alleged nationwide payment card tying practices and alleged network “exclusionary” rules.
  • PSW v. Visa U.S.A., Inc., et al.: represented MasterCard International Incorporated in action brought by internet billing services provider alleging that MasterCard's chargeback and related practices violated federal and state antitrust laws and also asserting a variety of state law claims. Action settled after successful motion to dismiss significantly narrowed the scope of plaintiffs' claims.
  • In re Western Asbestos Company: represented unsecured creditors' committee, successfully defending four objecting insurers' challenges to a reorganization plan with $985 million at stake; plan was confirmed after a 4‑week trial and primary objecting insurer agreed to pay an additional $1.15 billion after closing argument.
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer: represented studio in copyright and trademark litigation arising from dispute with Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., the son of one of MGM's founders.
  • SureSafe v. McGrath, et al.: represented the defendant in a boycott case under the Cartwright Act that resulted in a Court of Appeals decision giving rule of reason, rather than per se, instructions on the question of injury to competition.
  • Vacanti v. State Compensation Insurance Fund:  represented the defendant in an action alleging conspiracy to drive medical providers out of business by refusing to pay bills for the treatment of workers.
  • MasterCard International Incorporated: secured dismissal of putative class action regarding data security breach under California consumer privacy laws.
  • Crown Homes v. L.C. Homes: tying claims under the Cartwright Act, establishes arbitrability of antitrust claims under state law.
  • Vinson v. Farmers' Insurance: class action by insurance agents alleging tying under the Sherman and Clayton Acts.
  • Hindju v. ARCO: obtained a unanimous jury verdict for ARCO on claims alleging violations of the Cartwright Act.

Price Discrimination Issues

  • In re Guida-Seibert Dairy: represented Guida-Seibert in antitrust investigation of alleged price-fixing in school milk industry. Represented company in debarment proceedings before U.S. Departments of Defense and Agriculture. Represented company in investigation by Connecticut Attorney General into alleged price discrimination among milk retailers.
  • Harris v. Duty Free Shoppers, Ltd.: defendedcommercial bribery claim under the Robinson-Patman Act and California Unfair Practices Act, dismissed following successful Ninth Circuit appeal.
  • Caribe BMW v. BMW AG, et al.: represented BMW AG in antitrust action alleging violation of Sherman and Robinson-Patman Acts brought by a Puerto Rico importer/distributor of BMW automobiles. Mr. Colbath assisted in developing a successful motion to dismiss involving an intricate analysis of the interplay between the Sherman and Robinson-Patman Acts, which was later reversed by the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. See Caribe BMW, Inc. v. Bayerische Motoren Werke A.G., 19 F. 3d 745 (1st Cir. 1994)
  • Barnes & Noble: represented client in Robinson Patman multidistrict litigation brought by the American Booksellers Association and various individually owned bookstores throughout the United States.
  • Continental Toy v. Mattel, Inc.: price discrimination claims in the children's toy industry.
  • California Tire Company v. Continental General Tire:  price discrimination claims in the tire industry.
  • Taylor Made v. Jeff Buffoni: represented the plaintiff in a price discrimination lawsuit.
  • Crain v. Continental Casualty Company: represented the defendant in an alleged conspiracy among insurers and brokers to charge discriminatory rates for surety bonds and policies.
  • Frontier Enterprises v. Amador Stage Lines, Inc.:  sham litigation case against rival bus companies.
  • Rauser Distributing Co. v. G. Heileman Brewing Co.:  below cost beer distribution case.
  • In Re Cosmetics Antitrust Litigation: represented leading national department store retailer, defended client against charges of price of women's cosmetics brought in coordinated California state court proceedings.

Government Cases and Investigations

  • Successfully defended Samsung Electronics in Department of Justice investigation concerning Samsung’s mobile technology standards essential patents.
  • Auto Parts Antitrust Grand Jury and Litigation:  defending a senior auto parts executive in a DOJ grand jury investigation and a major Japanese auto parts company to defend related class action civil litigation.
  • Defended numerous DOJ Antitrust international cartel price fixing cases, including coordinating defense of related international investigations in the EC, Japan, Korea, Canada, Brazil and elsewhere.
  • Numerous successful representations of companies and individuals in confidential DOJ and state attorney general investigations.
  • Home Foreclosure Antitrust Grand Jury:  defending companies and a principal in a DOJ antitrust grand jury investigation into alleged bid rigging of home foreclosure sales and related proceedings.
  • Samsung Electronics: defended nationwide DRAM, TFT-LCD, SRAM, Flash DOJ grand jury and foreign enforcement investigations and related direct and indirect class action price fixing actions nationwide.
  • Samsung SDI: defending companies in DOJ Antitrust Division grand jury criminal price fixing and foreign enforcement investigations involving cathode ray tubes and lithium ion batteries.
  • People of the State of California v. Chevron, et al.: as co-counsel, tried a federal court antitrust case against Exxon in 1992 on behalf of the City of Long Beach as trustee for the State of California, and successfully argued appeals.
  • Mission Resources v. Texaco Trading and Transportation (unpublished): tried federal court jury case to dedicate Texaco's California crude oil transportation system to common carrier use and public utility status.
  • Credit Suisse First Boston: represented client in connection with litigation and SEC enforcement activity arising out of First Boston's role as an underwriter of bonds for Orange County prior to the County's declaration of bankruptcy.
  • In re Wholesale Electricity Antitrust Litigation:  represented an electricity wholesale generator in investigations by the Attorney General, state Senate, FERC and grand jury.
  • Hearst Corporation: represented the company in Hart-Scott-Rodino filings and an investigation regarding a newspaper merger.
  • In Re Ramtek Securities Litigation: as trial counsel, defended the chief financial officer of Ramtek, a Silicon Valley computer monitor component manufacturer, against class action claims, criminal charges and SEC enforcement proceedings.
  • Taxol Investigation: represented the company in an FTC investigation regarding the marketing of anti-cancer drugs.
  • FTC v. Toys "Я" Us:  represented Mattel in this FTC investigation.
  • Taylor Made Golf Co.: investigation of pricing and distribution practices by the California Attorney General.
  • United States v. Foley: Co-counsel for the United States in the first felony price fixing case under the Sherman Act (real estate commissions); convictions affirmed on appeal.
  • United States v. CBS Inc.: merger case involving the market for paperback books.
  • In re Guida-Seibert Dairy: represented Guida-Seibert in antitrust investigation of alleged price-fixing in school milk industry. Represented company in debarment proceedings before U.S. Departments of Defense and Agriculture.
  • Sterling Jewelers: represented Sterling Jewelers in investigation by NH AG into mall lease termination of a competing jeweler.