Antitrust

Munger, Tolles & Olson has been counsel to major corporations in their most sensitive antitrust matters, as well as counsel to smaller entities that need guidance in structuring their activities to minimize the risk of challenge under federal and state competition laws. Our clients in antitrust matters include major entertainment companies, oil corporations, technology firms, and one of the nation’s most prominent pharmaceutical companies. Our lawyers handle class actions, business-to-business disputes, multi-jurisdictional proceedings, government investigations and Federal Trade Commission proceedings and counsel clients on all aspects of antitrust concerns in corporate transactions. We also frequently handle major matters at the intersection of antitrust and patent laws.

We have represented businesses in cases alleging price-fixing, monopolization in standard-setting, Robinson-Patman violations, resale price maintenance, bundled discounting, tying, refusals to deal, and other forms of alleged antitrust violations. Many of these cases resulted in favorable summary judgments, jury verdicts, and appellate court opinions establishing important principles of antitrust law.

We are proud to count among our antitrust lawyers Glenn D. Pomerantz, who was tapped in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Justice to serve as co-lead trial counsel in its antitrust case against the AT&T Inc./T-Mobile USA Inc. merger. The merger was abandoned later in the year.

Some recent examples of the firm’s antitrust work include representing:

  • Abbott Laboratories, as co-counsel, in obtaining a defense jury verdict on antitrust claims brought by GlaxoSmithKline, another of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, relating to Abbott’s repricing of the drug Norvir. The Oakland, Calif. jury rejected GlaxoSmithKline’s $571 million antitrust damage claim, which would have been subject to automatic trebling.
  • Fox Entertainment Group in obtaining dismissal of a class action against it and other cable programmers and distributors. The complaint challenged the “tiering” or bundling of channels in purported violation of the Sherman Act. We also obtained the 9th Circuit’s affirmance of the dismissal in a published opinion.
  • Universal Music Group (UMG), as lead counsel, in the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust review of several major transactions, including UMG’s acquisitions of BMG Music Publishing, the Latin music labels of Univision, and the recorded-music business of EMI.
  • LG Display in the defense of multidistrict class actions stemming from allegations of price-fixing among manufacturers of display panels. The actions were settled in 2012.
  • Microsoft in wide-ranging antitrust and intellectual property litigation concerning the Xbox 360 videogame console. Microsoft defended allegations of antitrust violations with novel counterclaims and defenses under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), as well as copyright, trade secret, and design patent laws. The case was successfully settled after discovery on the counterclaims.
  • Rambus in
    • a three-month Federal Trade Commission (FTC) trial of antitrust claims. The FTC’s chief administrative law judge ruled for Rambus and dismissed the FTC’s complaint.
    • a five-month San Francisco Superior Court trial on Rambus’s antitrust and tort claims against Micron Technology and Hynix Semiconductors (now SK Hynix). After two months of deliberations, the jury rendered a defense verdict and the matter is now on appeal
  • Brighton Collectibles, formerly known as Leegin, in obtaining a dismissal by the U.S. District Court, which was affirmed by the 5th Circuit, of plaintiff’s resale price maintenance claims on remand from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down per se treatment for those claims.
  • Shell Oil in precedent-setting victories in antitrust cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court and the 9th Circuit. The courts’ opinions in these cases clarified the federal antitrust laws’ applicability to joint ventures, established important 9th Circuit standards for market definition, market power, and tying claims, and set the standard for California courts’ consideration of summary judgment motions in antitrust cases.

Contact:
Bradley S. Phillips (213) 683-9262
Glenn D. Pomerantz (213) 683-9132
Stuart N. Senator (213) 683-9528
Gregory P. Stone (213) 683-9255
Jeffrey I. Weinberger (213) 683-9127