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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.

  • Legal 500 Europe ranked our EU practice for Belgian law and EU and Global Competition law. 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.  Oliver Heinisch is ranked in Legal 500 and Chambers Global, Europe and UK. Wim Vandenberghe is recommended by Legal 500 EMEA for EU Regulatory and Energy.
  • 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.

  • Don Klawiter, Jacques Derenne and Robert Klotz were selected for recognition in Global Competition Review's Who’s Who Legal: Competition 2017, the guide to the world’s Competition experts.

Horizontal Restraint Cases

  • 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.

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.

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.

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 — Litigation challenging an unprecedented Commission decision on aid through an ICSID arbitration award for damages
  • 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


“Breakfast with Europe” Webinar Replay

March 16, 2017

Sheppard Mullin's monthly "Breakfast with Europe" webinar was presented on March 16, 2017 by our Brussels EU Competition & Regulatory Group.  Moderated by San Francisco partner Michael Cohen, topics and speakers at this session included:

A policy Q&A, with Washington DC partner Michael Cohen moderating a discussion with London partner Oliver Heinisch and Brussels counsel Yaniss Aiche. Nationalism movements are impacting trade policy across the US, EU and UK, including potential impacts to competition enforcement. Topics will include the latest on Brexit, and the role of competition law in the US, UK and EU in this changing world.

“Breakfast with Europe” Webinar Replay

February 16, 2017

Sheppard Mullin's monthly "Breakfast with Europe" webinar was presented on February 16, 2017 by our Brussels EU Competition & Regulatory Group.  Moderated by San Francisco partner Michael Cohen, topics and speakers at this session included:

  1. Will the EU antitrust rules preserve or threaten the Olympic Games? Current investigations into exclusivity requirements for athletes – Robert Klotz
  2. Car battery recycling cartel: European Commission goes after rare purchasing cartel –Michael Hofmann
  3. Priorities for Europe : EU leaders set objectives for 2017 – Wim Vandenberghe

“Breakfast with Europe” Webinar Replay

January 19, 2017

Sheppard Mullin's monthly "Breakfast with Europe" webinar was presented on January 19, 2017 by our Brussels EU Competition & Regulatory Group.  Moderated by San Francisco partner Michael Cohen, topics and speakers at this session included:

1. Recent Aggressive Merger Control Enforcement in the EU

          • Misleading information – Isabelle Rahman
          • Gun-Jumping – Caroline Ruiz Palmer

2. Protectionism Measures by Some Member States – Robert Klotz

3. Cartels – UK Competition and Markets Authority’s Disqualification Order Against a Company Director – Oliver Heinisch

4. Competition Year Ahead – EU Cases and Issues to Watch in 
2017 – Jacques Derenne

“Breakfast with Europe” Webinar Replay

December 1, 2016

Sheppard Mullin's monthly "Breakfast with Europe" webinar was presented on Dec. 1, 2016 by our Brussels EU Competition & Regulatory Group.  Moderated by San Francisco partner Michael Cohen, topics and speakers at this session included:

  • Merger Control Public Concentration – Isabelle Rahman
  • The Sharing Economy in Europe – Wim Vandenberghe
  • What’s Hot in Brussels – Marie Lagrue

Listen to a replay below:

“Breakfast with Europe” Webinar Replay

November 3, 2016

Sheppard Mullin's monthly "Breakfast with Europe" webinar was presented on Nov. 3, 2016 by our Brussels EU Competition & Regulatory Group.  Moderated by San Francisco partner Michael Cohen, topics and speakers at this session included:

  • Rebates: Where is the EU Case Law Going To? The Intel Case - Jacques Derenne
  • IP and Competition Law: Towards a New Balance? The Lundbeck Case – Dimitris Vallindas
  • Brexit, CETA, and More: Update on the “Messy” EU? – Yaniss Aiche

Listen to a replay below:

“Breakfast with Europe” Webinar Replay

October 6, 2016

Sheppard Mullin's inaugural monthly "Breakfast with Europe" webinar was presented on Oct. 6, 2016 by our Brussels EU Competition & Regulatory Group.  As European regulation and political developments are increasingly shaping multinational corporate and commercial strategies, California-based companies (particularly those with global reach or ambition), should know the thicket surrounding the latest policies and legal and regulatory developments from across the Atlantic. Moderated by San Francisco partner Michael Cohen, topics and speakers at this session included:

  • The European Commissions’ e-Commerce Sector Inquiry: Impact on Online Sales – Isabelle Rahman
  • The First Settlement in an Abuse of Dominance Case: Lessons Learned – Michael Hofmann
  • Tax Rulings and Illegal State Aid: Current State of Play – Dimitris Vallindas
  • What’s Hot in Brussels: Important News to Know – Yaniss Aiche

Listen to a replay below: