Our antitrust roots run deep. One of our name partners, Gordon Hampton, was a founder of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section in the 1950s and he helped forge a premier California antitrust practice that continues to thrive more than sixty years later. From there, we expanded our practice in parallel with the expansion of antitrust law itself—first into a national presence with the addition of our full-service antitrust team in Washington, D.C. and then into a global force with established competition practices in Brussels, London, Seoul, and Shanghai. The result is a practice that is international in every sense of the word, specifically designed to meet the realities of modern antitrust and competition enforcement, where a competition issue in one jurisdiction often cascades into other jurisdictions around the globe.
Today, our group is composed of more than 30 lawyers who do nothing but practice antitrust and competition law. The team includes former high-ranking officials and trial lawyers from the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition, and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, all working together, seamlessly handling matters on behalf of a diverse array of clients throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Regardless of where we call home, we share a common ethic: we are practical lawyers who believe we should do the things that actually make a difference in achieving our client’s goals. That ethic, combined with the breadth and depth of our experience, has enabled us to successfully resolve extremely complicated antitrust matters with teams that are lean and efficient.
Some highlights of our antitrust and competition practice include:
We regularly litigate some of the largest and most complex antitrust cases in the U.S., from federal multi-district class actions to civil litigation between competitors, suppliers, and purchasers. We also have deep experience with litigation arising under state antitrust and competition laws, including below-cost pricing, consumer protection, and unfair competition statutes. In the EU, our lawyers have an impressive track record of pleading competition cases before EU courts and the national courts of the Member States, challenging decisions taken by the European Commission and national competition authorities. They also regularly appear before national courts when EU law issues are at stake (in competition matters and beyond) and before the Court of Justice of the European Union in procedures referred by national courts.
Our lawyers navigate the merger review and approval process in countries around the globe, and our merger clearance team assists multinational clients in crafting strategies and coordinating merger proceedings across multiple jurisdictions. Our lawyers have successfully represented clients in numerous high-stakes mergers, including General Electric’s $10 billion acquisition of Alstom’s energy business in the EU and U.S.; the trial and appeal of Western Refining’s $1.4 billion acquisition of Giant Industries in the U.S.; and the H.J. Heinz Company’s acquisition of BeechNut’s baby food business, among many others. In recent years, healthcare-related transactions have become a core component of our U.S. merger practice, and we routinely represent hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, and strategic venture capital and private equity buyers and sellers in such transactions.
Cartel defense work has been a pillar of our practice for decades. We were at the forefront of the explosion in international cartel cases beginning in the 1990s and have remained a leading cartel practice ever since. Our group includes some of the most experienced and accomplished cartel defense lawyers in the world, working in every phase of cartel defense, from government investigations, to criminal prosecutions and enforcement actions against businesses and individuals, through the resolution of civil class actions and other private litigation. In the U.S., we have successfully represented key defendants in government investigations, criminal prosecutions, and private class actions involving LCD panels, Dealer Management Systems, DRAM and SRAM memory chips, canned tuna, auto parts, cathode ray tubes, and Lithium ion batteries, among other products. In the EU, we have successfully represented clients in cartel investigations involving air cargo services, gas-insulated switchgear, power transformers, and many other areas. Compliance is also at the forefront of our client offerings.
EU State Aid
We have an elite EU State aid practice, headed by lawyers with more than three decades of experience. We assist Member States, beneficiaries, and competitors with every type of State aid issue. We also tailor aid measures to ensure clearance from the European Commission and have authored innovative legal analyses that have led the European Commission to adjust its formal State aid enforcement policies. The Alstom restructuring case is one of our landmark cases before the European Commission. Our lawyers have also been involved in landmark State aid litigation, both before national and EU courts, that has helped shape the development of applicable EU law, including the Chronopost case on behalf of DHL and FedEx—the first action against a beneficiary of unlawful State aid—and the GB capacity mechanism case on behalf of Tempus Energy—the first annulment of an EU ’s approval of a capacity mechanism.
Standard-Essential Patents (SEPs)/FRAND
We have a renowned practice in the area of increasing overlap between antitrust and intellectual property laws, and our lawyers are on the cutting-edge of antitrust issues arising from the use and licensing of standard-essential patents (SEPs). We recently achieved a complete dismissal of all claims in an antitrust case challenging the legal viability of one of the world’s largest defensive patent aggregators and we are currently representing Samsung Electronics in global patent and standards-related governmental and private antitrust actions involving Qualcomm, Apple, and Ericsson.
Our EU lawyers guide clients navigating EU legislation in a number of sectors, including energy, transportation (rail, aviation, road, maritime), telecommunications and satellite, food and beverage, postal services and logistics, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, electronic devices, medical devices, construction, tax, financial services, retail, and consumer products, among others. Our team also develops advocacy opinions on proposed EU legislation in many sectors before the European Parliament or other EU institutions, including the European Commission and the Council of Ministers.
Horizontal Restraint Cases
- In Re: Dealer Management Systems Antitrust Litigation, MDL 2817 (N.D. Ill.): Defending Reynolds and Reynolds Company in connection with federal antitrust multi-district litigation.
- 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 Lithium Ion Batteries Antitrust Litig., MDL No. 2420: served as national counsel defending industry-leading multinational electronics companies in criminal and civil price-fixing actions regarding lithium ion rechargeable battery products.
- In re Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Antitrust Litigation, MDL. No 1917: served as 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 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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)
Government Cases and Investigations
- Standards Essential Patents 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.
- 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.
Healthcare Antitrust Matters
- Bon Secours Mercy Health – Advised Bon Secours Health System, Inc. ("BSHSI"), a Catholic health system sponsored by Bon Secours Ministries with multiple hospitals and facilities across six states, and its subsidiary, Bon Secours Charity Health System, Inc., a three-hospital health system north of New York City, with respect to the sale of its controlling interest in BSCHS to, and the creation of an ongoing joint venture arrangement with, Westchester Medical Center.
- Duke University Health System and WakeMed Health and Hospitals – Represented Duke University Health System and WakeMed in creating joint operating agreements for the collaboration of both Cancer Care Plus+ and Heart Care Plus+.
- Humboldt Medical Specialists, Inc. and individual doctors – Representing Humboldt Medical Specialists and the individual doctors in an antitrust complaint filed by Wahidullah Medical Corporation in federal court in the Northern District of California. Wahidullah Medical Corp..
- Molina Healthcare – Represented Molina Healthcare in antitrust litigation by the U.S. Department of Justice challenging Aetna’s proposed acquisition of Humana after Molina agreed to acquire more than $400 million of Medicare Advantage assets from both Aetna and Humana to fix any potential anticompetitive impact that would have resulted from the transaction, which ultimately was not consummated.
- SSM Health – Advised SSM Health, a Catholic, not-for-profit integrated health system serving the comprehensive health needs of communities across the Midwest, in multiple mergers and acquisitions of hospitals and insurance companies in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.
- WellStar Health – Represented Atlanta hospital system WellStar Health in connection with the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation of its $575 million acquisition of five metro Atlanta hospitals from Texas-based Tenet Healthcare, obtaining merger clearance. The merger stands among the largest hospital transactions for 2016 in the United States by number of facilities.
EU Competition & Regulatory
- ALSTOM — Assisted ALSTOM in the largest ever GE’s acquisition (acquisition of ALSTOM Energy business) including Phase II EU clearance across 25+ jurisdictions
- ALSTOM Transport — Assisted ALSTOM on its acquisition of GE’s signaling business
- Airbus — JV with OneWebb micro satellites
- Brussels Airlines — Litigation in Brussels South Charleroi Airport case, supporting the Commission’s position in the action lodged by the airport
- Micula — Obtained landmark litigation victory after challenging an unprecedented European Commission decision on State aid through an ICSID arbitration award for damages. In June 2019, the General Court of the EU annulled the Commission’s State aid decision, allowing client Viorel Micula to pursue the hundreds euro million damages by Romania that were awarded to them by an ICSID arbitral tribunal.
- Samsung — Represented Samsung Mobile Display and Corning on the EU notification of their Korean JV in OLED production
- SK hynix — Advised SK hynix in front of the General Court challenging the Commission’s commitment decision against Rambus
- Tempus Energy — Litigation challenging the first Commission decision approving a Member State electricity capacity mechanism in the UK
- Tube Lines — Advised Tubes Lines on the refinancing of the London Underground PPP and received aid
- Chambers Asia Pacific, 12.17.2019
- JUVE, 11.07.2019
- U.S. News & World Report/Best Lawyers, 11.01.2019
- Legal Media Group Euromoney, 10.10.2019
- Best Lawyers, 08.15.2019
- Legal 500 US 2019 Recognizes Sheppard Mullin Partners and Practice Groups Among the Best in the CountryLegal 500 US, 06.21.2019
- Chambers USA, 04.29.2019
- Legal 500 Belgium, 04.10.2019
- Chambers and Partners, 03.2019
- Chambers Asia Pacific, 01.24.2019
- Legal Media Group Euromoney, 11.20.2018
- U.S. News & World Report/Best Lawyers, 11.01.2018
- JUVE, 10.29.2018
- Legal 500 US 2018 Recognizes Sheppard Mullin Partners and Practice Groups Among the Best in the CountryLegal 500 US, 05.30.2018
- Chambers USA, 05.04.2018
- Legal 500 Belgium, 04.25.2018
- Super Lawyers, 04.23.2018
Podcasts & Webinars
- Nota Bene Episode 68: The Current Antitrust Enforcement Climate in the United States with Capitol Forum Senior Editor Nate Soderstrom
- Nota Bene Episode 65: European Check In: Environmental Protection, Privacy Regulations, Digital Market Definition, and Brexit with Oliver Heinisch
- Nota Bene Episode 63: Enforcement of Climate Change Regulations in the European Union with Dr. Michael Hofmann
- Nota Bene Episode 36: My Two Cents: Executive and Legislative Branch Check-In, FDA’s Regulations, EU Competition Law Reform, and Using Blockchain Technology
- Nota Bene Episode 34: What the European Union Competition Law Reform Proposals May Mean to the Multinational Order
- Nota Bene Episode 29: The Essential Elements of Effective Corporate Compliance Programs with Jim McGinnis
- Nota Bene Episode 12: My Two Cents: India’s Emergence, Corporate Reform, Import Injuries, Securities Regulations, and Platform Markets with host Michael P. A. Cohen
- Nota Bene Episode 11: The Proliferation of Platforms and Their Role in Our Economy with Nady Nikonova
- Note Bene Episode 2: Big in Europe? What Multinationals Need to Know about Competing on the Continent with Isabelle Rahman
- Law360, 01.27.2020
- GCR's Insight Private Litigation Guide, 01.2020
- Tax Notes International, 10.07.2019
- Los Angeles & San Francisco Daily Journal, 04.15.2019
- Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Vitamin C and the Future of U.S. Antitrust Enforcement Against Chinese CompaniesThe Legal 500 - Cartels Country Comparative Guide, 04.03.2019
- Big Law Business, 03.19.2019
- Global Competition Review, 09.13.2018
- Global Competition Review, 04.05.2018
- Sheppard Mullin EU Competition Alert, 01.24.2018
- Practical Law, 03.23.2017
- Egypt Charges Ex-Football President with Criminal Abuse of DominanceGlobal Competition Review, 03.17.2017
- Sheppard Mullin EU Competition Alert, 01.18.2017
- Entrepreneur, 12.06.2016
- The Rapidly Changing Landscape of Private Global Antitrust Litigation: Increasingly Serious Implications for U.S. PractitionersCompetition (Calif. State Bar Antitrust Section publication), Fall 2016
- Law360, 10.27.2016
- Bloomberg Businessweek, 10.19.2016
- WhiteWave/Danone: Delay in EC filing not expected to postpone dealPaRR, 10.18.2016
- Those Three Little Words: OFAC’s Subtle Language Shift Could Create Sweeping Change on Iran InvestmentNational Law Review, 10.11.2016
- Business Post, 09.30.2016
- Whitewave/Danone: EC review could hinge on approach to dairy vs. plant-based substitutesPaRR, 09.23.2016
- Competition Law Insight, 06.07.2016
- DG Comp Imposes Extensive AB InBev/SABMiller DivestmentsGlobal Competition Review, 05.25.2016
- Chambers Europe 2016, 05.24.2016
- Law360, 07.17.2015
- Law360, 06.16.2015
- Bloomberg BNA, 12.05.2014
- Daily Journal, 10.22.2014
- Law360, 06.03.2014
- Law360, 05.08.2014
- Law360, 04.11.2014
- Law360, 12.09.2013
- Daily Journal, 10.23.2013
- Media Watch 100 Online (Japan), 09.13.2013
- Law360, 09.03.2013
- Law360, 03.14.2013
- Law360, 09.27.2012
- The Recorder, 11.10.2011
- Law360, 09.07.2011
- New York Law Journal, 07.18.2011
- Former Student Athletes’ Right of Publicity and Antitrust Claims Will Proceed Against the NCAA and Electronic ArtsSports Litigation Alert, 06.03.2011
- The Recorder, 04.18.2011
- Federal Courts and Enforcers Diagnose Physician Practice Associations with Risk of Conspiracy LiabilityCPI Antitrust Journal, 10.2010
- New York Times, 05.25.2010
- Law360, 04.01.2010
- Law360, 02.04.2010
- The Antitrust Source, 10.01.2009
- Law360, 09.21.2009
- New York Law Journal, 07.20.2009
- Los Angeles Daily Journal, 06.12.2009
- Competition, Vol 17, No. 2, Fall 2008
- Competition, Vol 17, No. 2, Fall 2008
- Los Angeles Daily Journal, 08.21.2008
- The Transportation Antitrust Update, 12.06.2007
- Eleventh Circuit Holds "Reverse" Payments To Settle Infringement Litigation Under Hatch Waxman Not Per Se Illegal09.15.2003
- Court Completely Crushes Kraft's Calportland Conspiracy Case; Cement and Concrete Collusion Claims not Credible03.12.2018
Areas Of Experience
- Antitrust Counseling and Compliance
- California Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law
- Cartel Investigations and Litigation
- Consumer Protection
- EU Competition and Regulatory
- Government Merger and Civil Conduct Investigations
- Healthcare / Antitrust
- Intellectual Property / Antitrust
- International Counseling
- Private Civil Antitrust Litigation
- Dylan I. Ballard
- Ciara Barbu-O'Connor
- Daniel L. Brown
- Leo Caseria
- Hae Eun Choi
- Michael P.A. Cohen
- Jacques Derenne
- Thomas Dillickrath
- Helen C. Eckert
- David R. Garcia
- Gary L. Halling
- Oliver Heinisch
- Dr. Michael Hofmann
- Seong Kim
- Robert Klotz
- Marie Lagrue
- John M. Landry
- Malika Levarlet
- Molly C. Lorenzi
- Robert L. Magielnicki
- Bill Margeson
- James L. McGinnis
- Yookyung Moon
- Amar S. Naik
- Bevin M.B. Newman
- Nadezhda Nikonova
- Michael W. Scarborough
- Joy O. Siu
- Mona Solouki
- Thomas L. Tyson
- Dimitris Vallindas
- Katie Wood
- Michael X.Y. Zhang
Ranked Tier 1 for Antitrust Law