Quinn emanuel trial lawyers

Antitrust and Competition

Introduction Print

Quinn Emanuel is uniquely qualified to assist companies, either as claimants or defendants, in dealing with antitrust and competition disputes. With one of the leading antitrust practices in the United States, and with dedicated antitrust teams in Brussels, London and Germany, as well as offices in the Far East and Australia, Quinn Emanuel is at the forefront of antitrust and competition matters that are increasingly complex and often multi-jurisdictional.

  • We are one of the only top tier law firms that regularly represent companies both as plaintiffs and defendants.
  • We are one of the few law firms that have antitrust and competition lawyers that have actually tried cases.
  • We are a global firm that offers global solutions.

We regularly represent both plaintiffs and defendants in damages claims.

We regularly defend companies in civil antitrust and competition lawsuits. We also represent companies as plaintiffs, both in individual and class actions. Our work representing both plaintiffs and defendants has made us more effective advocates in either context. We can bring to bear our unique insight into the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ bar. We know the strategies they employ. We know their approaches to settlement. Because we have been co-counsel with many of these law firms as defendants and in light of our prominence in the plaintiffs bar, it is easier for our partners to speak candidly with the other side’s lawyers on behalf of our clients. This often allows our clients to avoid senseless disputes and reach business solutions on better terms than other parties to a claim. When acting for defendants, we have managed a number of times to convince class action plaintiffs to drop our clients from the suits, with our clients in each instance not required to make any monetary payment. When acting for plaintiffs, we achieve unparalleled recoveries. In 2015 alone, we recovered over $2.5 billion for plaintiff clients.

A global network.

Competition law issues are increasingly global in nature. Regulators around the world have become much more aggressive. It is becoming much more common for regulators from different countries to share information. Private enforcement actions are being encouraged by new laws such as EU Directive on Private Enforcement. More countries are permitting class actions. Global antitrust issues require a global strategy.

We have 18 offices in 9 countries including key locations such as New York, Washington DC, London, Brussels, Germany, Tokyo and Sydney — all focused solely on dispute resolution, including antitrust and competition disputes. This allows us to formulate and execute comprehensive global dispute resolution strategies, taking account of the differences of national laws. Offering clients a single team for these multi-jurisdictional disputes makes it easier for in-house counsel to supervise, and results in efficiencies because it is a single law firm making the decisions and communicating with the client. These efficiencies translate into more effective representation and lower legal costs.

Litigators who are also antitrust specialists.

Quinn Emanuel’s antitrust dispute resolution practice is not comprised of general litigators who know a bit about competition law or antitrust transactional lawyers who have done a bit of litigation. All our antitrust lawyers are litigators with a deep understanding of competition law. All are also accomplished courtroom advocates.

Our team leaders.

Law360 has named our competition law practice one of the top five in the US.  It also recognized the chair of our antitrust practice, Stephen Neuwirth, as one of just eight US antitrust “MVPs” in 2012, and in 2014 he was recognized as a “Titan of the Plaintiffs’ Bar.”  Chambers USA has ranked Stephen in Band 1 nationally for plaintiffs antitrust law.  Our London based competition litigation partner, Boris Bronfentrinker, was recognized by Global Competition Review as one of the top 40 under 40 competition lawyers globally in 2015, and The Lawyer identified Boris as one of the “Hot 100” lawyers in the UK in 2016. Boris is also recognized by Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners as a leading individual in the area of competition litigation.  Additionally, Kate Vernon is recognized by Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 in the area of competition law and featured in the The Lawyer “Hot 100” in the UK in 2006. Quinn Emanuel’s biggest practice area is IP. In Germany, Juve, the leading legal directory, recognized competition partner Nadine Herrmann for her expertise in the intersection of IP and competition law.  While, Law360 selected New York partner Steig Olson as a 2014 rising star in competition law.  And Washington DC partner Ethan Glass joined the firm from a management position at the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, where he spent almost a decade investigating, litigating, and trying some of the most significant antitrust cases in recent memory.

We win at the negotiation table, too.

We have a laser-like focus on what is best for our clients. Often, our clients’ interests are best served by a negotiated resolution of a dispute. Our lawyers are as effective in negotiations and mediations as they are in court. Quinn Emanuel’s reputation for successfully taking cases to trial is well known, and this meaningful litigation threat itself translates into better settlements.

We have pioneered antitrust and competition claims against companies that declare bankruptcy.

Working with our market leading bankruptcy disputes practice, Quinn Emanuel has also been at the forefront of pursuing plaintiffs rights against competition law infringers that subsequently declare bankruptcy.  By bringing together teams comprising our antitrust and bankruptcy lawyers, we recently obtained a pioneering certification of a class of antitrust claimants in U.S. bankruptcy court, and through negotiation with the bankruptcy trustee arranged for the class to receive a portion of the proceeds awarded to creditors in the bankruptcy proceedings. We also have expertise in working with administrators in recovering losses suffered by the company in administration as a result of anti-competitive conduct in the market. 

Looking at the bigger picture – we understand the importance of investigations and the consequences that follow in terms of civil claims.

Competition investigations and the resultant decisions and plea agreements often spawn multiple civil damages actions, in particular in Europe and the US. The damages exposure in these civil claims can often be far greater than the financial penalties imposed by the competition authorities. Accordingly, companies making an immunity or leniency application and/or facing a competition authority investigation need advisers who can not only effectively advise on the global risks and benefits of making an immunity or leniency application, and defend the investigation, but also prepare the company for any subsequent litigation and how to manage the process strategically from start to finish. Quinn Emanuel is perfectly positioned to be that adviser who can defend companies in investigations while at the same time dealing with the potential implications that findings and evidence contained in authority decisions and plea agreements can have on the subsequent civil claims. 

A different relationship with the authorities.

We have represented clients in both civil and criminal antitrust investigations initiated by the Department of Justice, the FTC, the CFTC in the US and DG Comp in the EU, Competition and Markets Authority in the UK and its equivalent in other countries. We have over 20 former US federal prosecutors, many with extensive experience in antitrust-related matters. One of our partners currently serves as National Co-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Antitrust Committee. Lawyers in our European offices have been involved in some of the most significant investigations by the European Commission and national competition authorities. We have experience in a wide range of industries and regulated sectors, including financial services, pharmaceuticals, automotive, telecommunications, energy (electricity and gas), tourism, sports, retail, and transportation to name a few.

We believe our firm’s disputes-only model gives our clients an advantage as compared to companies that are represented by other firms in contested investigations. Many full service firms consider their relationships with the competition authorities an asset – particularly when those firms are regularly representing companies in transactions such as mergers and acquisitions. These firms are understandably not keen on compromising their relationships. But it is often critical to take tough stands with the authorities in competition investigations. We are fully committed to aggressively protecting our clients’ positions in negotiations with the authorities, who know we will go to trial or appeal if a reasonable outcome cannot be reached.

Pursuing competition claims with the authorities.

We also regularly represent clients who are the victims of anticompetitive conduct before the competition authorities (especially the European Commission). We know how to persuade them to investigate such conduct. We know how to communicate with the US Department of Justice, the European Commission and EU national competition authority lawyers when appropriate.

We have been pioneers in dealing with issues at the intersection of intellectual property and competition.

Intellectual property disputes is the firm’s largest practice area. We have represented clients in some of the most significant IP cases in history, including recently what the press has called “the Smart Phone Wars.” As a direct result, Quinn Emanuel has been at the cutting edge of disputes involving standard setting, monopolization of newly developed technologies and related patent abuse, ITC proceedings, and transnational antitrust enforcement. We analyze, prosecute, and defend claims relating to FRAND commitments and SSO policies and advise on litigation strategies (including the availability of injunctions or FRAND defenses in intellectual property infringement cases).

Our lawyers have also worked with intellectual property rights owners in protecting their rights in the face of competition and free movement claims in the EU and in front of national competition authorities and courts.  We also have significant expertise in the application of competition law to the pharmaceutical sector and in the numerous EU and UK “pay for delay” patent settlement competition law infringement cases.

Back to Top

Recent Representations Print

Quinn Emanuel has achieved extraordinary successes when representing corporate defendants in complex, high-stakes, antitrust and competition disputes:

  • We represented FIFA in an antitrust class action whereby plaintiffs alleged that FIFA and its co-defendants engaged in a conspiracy to force individuals who wished to attend the 2014 World Cup to purchase more-expensive hospitality packages instead of face-value tickets in order to drive up profits. At stake was not only hundreds of millions of dollars, but also FIFA’s reputation as the leader of the World Cup, the world’s most elite soccer event. In less than a year, not only did we get this action kicked out of Federal Court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, but the Court issued a scathing opinion finding that “plaintiffs engaged in a number of questionable actions,” and stating that “a competent attorney” would not have brought this action.
  • We represented client J.G. Wentworth in a case involving the acquisition of its largest competitor, Peach Holdings, LLC, in 2011.  The plaintiff, a competitor in the structured settlement market, alleged that the acquisition resulted in an illegal monopoly and that J.G. Wentworth’s subsequent use of Google AdWords to advertise both J.G. Wentworth and Peachtree to consumers was anticompetitive because it excluded other competitors from appearing in the most coveted positions on search engine results pages, diverted sales from other competitors, reduced the vigor of the competitive process, and caused consumer confusion as to the joint ownership of the two brands.  The plaintiff also alleged claims of false advertising under the Lanham Act and unfair competition under California law.  The Honorable Beverly Reid O’Connell, Central District of California, twice gave the plaintiff leave to amend before dismissing all claims with prejudice on the pleadings.
  • We represented Despegar.com in a false advertising lawsuit brought by American Airlines.  Just before initiating suit, American withdrew its tickets from all of Despegar’s websites throughout the world.  In addition to mounting a vigorous defense against American’s claims, we brought an antitrust counterclaim on behalf of Despegar’s U.S.-based subsidiary relating to American’s anticompetitive air fare distribution scheme.  On the eve of depositions we obtained a favorable settlement agreement which paved the way for Despegar to resume selling American tickets.
  • We represented TransWeb in the defense of patent infringement claims asserted by 3M and the pursuit of antitrust claims against 3M.  After a two-and-half-week trial, we obtained a unanimous jury verdict that 3M’s asserted patent claims were invalid, not infringed, and (in an advisory capacity) unenforceable due to inequitable conduct.  The jury also found that 3M violated the antitrust laws by attempting to enforce fraudulently obtained patents against TransWeb and awarded lost profits and attorneys’ fees as antitrust damages, resulting in an approximately $26 million judgment.  The district court subsequently adopted the jury’s advisory verdict that 3M had committed inequitable conduct rendering the asserted patents unenforceable.  On appeal by 3M, the Federal Circuit issued a unanimous and precedential decision affirming the judgments entered below, including specifically the finding of inequitable conduct before the Patent and Trademark Office and the award of trebled attorneys’ fees as antitrust damages pursuant to the Walker Process fraud claim.
  • We represented DIRECTV in obtaining summary judgment on antitrust claims under the Cartwright Act brought by Basic Your Best Buy, a terminated retailer.  Summary judgment was affirmed on appeal.  The Plaintiff alleged that DIRECTV entered into a horizontal conspiracy with its other retailers through coercion not to bid on Basic’s sales leads so that DIRECTV could acquire them at a below market price.  We successfully argued that DIRECTV’s restrictions on its retailers were vertical restraints on intrabrand competition subject to the rule of reason and that Basic could not establish essential elements to prove its claim, including an anticompetitive purpose or effect, a relevant market, or antitrust injury.  The Court of Appeal affirmed
  • We represented DIRECTV in a case brought by Exclaim Marketing involving unfair and deceptive trade practices and cross-claims for trademark infringement.  After a seven-day jury trial and post-trial briefing, we not only obtained a complete defensive victory for DIRECTV, but also won substantial damages and a sweeping nationwide permanent injunction against Exclaim.
  • We won perhaps the most significant antitrust jury trial of recent years, defeating Rambus’ multibillion dollar claims against our client Micron, even after Micron had pleaded guilty to antitrust violations.
  • We obtained a dismissal for Mattel of a Sherman Act suit brought by a competitor seeking $3 billion in alleged damages.
  • We successfully represented Honeywell International in defense of federal antitrust claims that it conspired with certain distributors to foreclose competition in the market for distribution of Honeywell fire safety systems for office buildings. We obtained a dismissal of all claims on the first motion to dismiss, having earlier won a stay of all discovery pending a ruling on the motion to dismiss.
  • We successfully represented IBM in defense of price-fixing class action claims related to the market for Static Random Access Memory, and persuaded the class action plaintiffs to drop IBM as a defendant with prejudice.
  • We successfully persuaded plaintiffs to voluntarily dismiss the claims against Rabobank, in the federal multidistrict Municipal Derivatives antitrust litigation – and secured this relief without any monetary payment and before any substantial discovery.
  • We successfully persuaded plaintiffs to drop our client as a defendant in any antitrust class action alleging price-fixing among the manufacturers of gypsum.
  • In the In re Flash Memory Antitrust Litigation (N.D. Cal.), we represented Samsung in two price-fixing class actions, brought by direct and indirect purchasers of NAND flash memory. Although classes had been certified in similar cases in the same district, we successfully defeated class certification motions in both actions, causing the direct purchaser representative to agree to a voluntary dismissal of all claims.
  • We successfully represented Shell Oil Products in defense of antitrust claims by gas station owners alleging discrimination in wholesale prices of gasoline. Following a four-week jury trial, we obtained judgment in Shell’s favor.
  • We successfully represented DIRECTV in defense of two consumer class actions, with the court granting motions to dismiss all claims.
  • We obtained a complete defense verdict in a four-week antitrust jury trial in the Southern District of New York, where over $250 million in damages was sought.
  • We currently represent Georgia-Pacific in defense of pending federal antitrust class action claims against the major containerboard manufacturers.
  • We currently represent Madison Square Garden and The New York Rangers in defense of federal class action antitrust claims that the National Hockey League, regional sports networks, along with Comcast and DIRECTV, conspired to inflate prices for television and internet broadcast of NHL hockey games.
  • We currently advice and represent a truck company in respect of potential claims that may arise from the European Commission’s investigation into alleged anti-competitive conduct in the truck market.

Quinn Emanuel is also a powerhouse on the claimant side, including serving as court-appointed lead plaintiffs' counsel in some of the most significant US antitrust disputes: 

  • A federal judge has ruled that plaintiffs’ claims can go forward in the Quinn Emanuel-led Gold antitrust class action, in which we allege that a group of banks conspired to suppress a worldwide benchmark price for gold known as the “London Gold Fix.”  In an October 4, 2016 decision, Judge Valerie Caproni of the S.D.N.Y. largely upheld our complaint, which was built primarily around economic evidence showing prices moving in anomalous ways around the time of the Fix.  Notably, the Court rejected the attempts by the banks to have the factual allegations about price movements discarded under a Daubert-like level of scrutiny, and to posit innocent counter-explanations for the anomalies.  The Court also rejected many other common defenses the banks have asserted in financial market manipulation cases, including that each plaintiff need detail its harm to a heightened extent, and that the size of liability was too big compared to the banks’ culpability. 
  • A federal judge has ruled that plaintiffs’ claims can go forward in the Quinn Emanuel-led ISDAfix antitrust case.  Our basic allegation is that the major Wall Street banks who set the ISDAfix benchmark rate—which is used to determine the settlement value of certain financial derivatives—conspired to rig ISDAfix in order to extract higher profits on financial instruments that are linked to ISDAfix.  In a March 28, 2016 decision, Judge Jesse Furman of the S.D.N.Y. largely upheld our complaint, sustaining the antitrust, breach of contract and unjust enrichment claims.  This victory is notable because we identified anomalies in the market and put together a complaint where the conspiracy was pled almost entirely on our self-developed economic evidence.  The decision thus vindicates our data-driven approach to developing these large antitrust and market manipulation cases—something only Quinn Emanuel has been doing, allowing us to stake a unique claim to the right to “lead counsel” in class-action antitrust cases involving the financial markets.
  • We represented Salix Capital U.S. Inc., and were appointed lead counsel for a class of investors in CDS, including pension funds, university endowment funds, hedge funds, insurance companies, corporate treasuries, fiduciary and depository institutions, small banks, and money managers. The defendants were twelve major Wall Street banks, including Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan, as well as Markit, a financial services firm, and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (“ISDA”). The case involved allegations that the banks, Markit, and ISDA, engaged in a multi-year conspiracy to limit transparency and boycott exchange trading in the market for CDS. We achieved a historic settlement of over $1.86 billion plus injunctive relief, one of the largest private antitrust settlements in history. The settlement is particularly noteworthy because two separate governmental investigations—by the Department of Justice and the European Commission—failed to result in any penalties for any of the defendants.
  • As court-appointed co-lead counsel for direct purchaser plaintiffs in In re Flexible Polyurethane Foam Antitrust Litigation (N.D. Ohio), we won certification of a national class of direct purchasers, defeated the defendants’ effort to have the certification decision reversed on appeal, and defeated those same defendants’ motions for summary judgment.  As a result of this representation, we achieved over $430 million in settlements for the class from nine different defendants. We have also successfully pursued claims on behalf of bedding companies in the English courts against the polyurethane foam cartelists, successfully resolving the claims without needing to serve proceedings.
  • We achieved a settlement for $130 million plus even more valuable non-monetary relief (in the form for prospective changes to the defendants’ practices) in Universal Delaware v. Comdata Corporation (E.D. Pa.), concerning alleged monopolization and anticompetitive collusion in the markets for the truck fleet credit cards used at highway truck stops. We served as court-appointed co-lead counsel for a proposed class of over 4,000 independent truck stops. Defendants included Comdata (the leading issuer of trucker fleet payment cards) and three national truck stop chains.
  • We are playing a major role representing plaintiffs in the pending In re Egg Products Antitrust Litigation (E.D. Pa.). We helped to secure a $25 million settlement (already finally approved by the court) from defendant Moark Corporation/Land O’ Lakes, and another settlement of $28 million (subject to court approval) with defendant Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. The firm filed one of the original complaints concerning agreed output restrictions in the egg market. We presented the principal argument in opposition to the defendants' motions to dismiss, which the court denied (with limited exception) in October 2011. We also led the defense of the defendants’ Daubert challenges to plaintiffs’ economic expert, which the Court denied in early 2015.
  • We are court-appointed co-lead plaintiffs’ counsel in Four In One Company, Inc., et al. v. S.K. Foods, L.P., et al. (E.D. Cal.), an alleged class action concerning price fixing in the market for processed tomato products. The firm achieved a ground-breaking settlement in bankruptcy court that ensures a settlement class, certified by the bankruptcy court, will now be able to maximize its recovery from debtor SK Foods. The firm has also settled (subject to court approval) with the two other defendants for a total of $6.4 million.
  • We continue to serve as court-appointed co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in the In re Rail Freight Fuel Surcharge Antitrust Litigation. Although we secured a landmark grant of class certification in 2012, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 2013 vacated that decision and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings in light of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Comcast v. Behrend (decided more than nine months after the district court’s class certification ruling and following the full submission of all appeal briefing in the Fuel Surcharge case). The remand proceedings are now pending.We were appointed lead class counsel in a multi-billion dollar antitrust lawsuit against five major bullion banks regarding manipulation and price fixing of a gold benchmark rate.
  • We were appointed lead class counsel in a multi-billion dollar antitrust lawsuit against five major bullion banks regarding manipulation and price fixing of a gold benchmark rate. 
  • We advise and represent a major international automobile company in respect of its global claims arising from the auto parts cartels, The cartels in the auto parts sector are the most wide ranging ever to be investigated in a single sector, with authorities in the US, EU, Brazil, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia and South Africa investigating suppliers of car parts.
  • We advise and represent CDC Cartel Damages Claims SA in antitrust follow-on litigation against HeidelbergCement AG arising out of the cement cartel, one of the biggest follow-on actions pending in Germany. As the assignee of the original purchaser of cement from the cartelists, our client seeks an award of damages of about €100 million.

We have also acted in some of the most significant matters at the cutting edge intersection of antitrust and intellectual property law, including the emerging issues related to standards setting and licensing abuses, geo-blocking, pay for delay patent settlement agreements, and licensing of IP rights including sports broadcasting rights:

  • We represented a global telecommunications company, the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile cellular handsets, in a case against Qualcomm before the European Commission, in which our client alleged that Qualcomm’s licensing practices were anticompetitive. This was related to various other matters we handled against Qualcomm, in what was probably the largest intellectual property dispute in the world. We achieved a global settlement for our client on the eve of trial.
  • In 2011, we secured final victory for our client IBM in International Business Machines Corp. v. Platform Solutions, Inc. (S.D.N.Y.), when opponent T3 Technologies voluntarily dismissed its pending appeal of IBM's summary judgment win. The case involved IBM’s intellectual property surrounding its core mainframe computer business, but a key focus of the litigation was the defendants' antitrust counterclaims, which accused IBM of monopolizing the mainframe computer technology market. Defendants demanded that IBM be forced to license its mainframe technology. In November 2007, T3 Technologies intervened in the case, accusing IBM of excluding T3 from the market by refusing to license IBM’s technology to T3’s suppliers. After IBM and Platform solutions settled their claims on favorable terms for IBM in 2008, T3 continued to pursue its antitrust counterclaims. In 2009, the court granted IBM’s summary judgment motion against T3. T3 appealed, and the firm presented oral argument to the Second Circuit in October 2010. T3 voluntarily dismissed its appeal in May 2011.
  • We represented Avery Dennison in an antitrust case against 3M, asserting claims regarding (i) 3M’s monopolization of markets for retroreflective sheeting used in highway signage, and (ii) 3M’s anticompetitive practices before a standards-setting committee and in connection with bidding on contracts to supply sheeting to government agencies. The case settled on confidential terms.
  • In EcoDisc Technology AG v. DVD Format/Logo Licensing Corporation et al., we won a significant ruling dismissing all claims against our client The DVD Forum. The court held that a trademark licensor’s cease and desist notices to licensees were protected activity under the Noerr-Pennington Doctrine. The case also held that the activities of a Tokyo-based international standards organization did not provide a sufficient basis for establishing personal jurisdiction to pursue antitrust and false advertising claims in the United States.
Back to Top

Partners

Partners