Antitrust and Trade Regulation

Antitrust and Trade Regulation

Overview

Our Antitrust and Trade Regulation team offers a full range of professional services for all domestic antitrust needs. With decades of experience representing clients before federal agencies and in courts across the country, our lawyers know how to create and implement efficient and effective  strategies — whether in civil or criminal matters, in class or individual actions, or when representing plaintiffs or defendants — including trial when required.

Outside the courthouse, we handle all aspects of merger review and counsel on topics ranging from compliance programs to cutting-edge online pricing strategies. We influence the development of antitrust law and groom the field’s next generation of leaders through our bar leadership, publications, speeches and teaching.

Litigation

Our antitrust trial lawyers have led everything from civil cases that dominate national headlines to criminal matters that call for the utmost discretion. We have gone to trial in huge, make-or-break actions for public and private entities. We have served as lead antitrust counsel for the NCAA. We have maneuvered foreign and other non-local clients through state attorney general investigations and developed and implemented creative exit strategies. From cartel cases in the 1960s to bundled pricing claims today, Schiff Hardin’s antitrust litigators have consistently helped competitors compete to win. We manage our clients’ resources prudently and do only what is necessary to meet the clients’ goals.

Counseling

We have helped numerous clients manage their businesses as efficiently as possible while complying with the antitrust laws. Working with competitors can be fraught with antitrust risks, but our lawyers have helped companies in concentrated industries implement joint efforts in production, purchasing and research. We have counseled both trade associations and their members on how to enjoy the benefits of benchmarking while avoiding its risks. Our lawyers have worked on the hottest antitrust issues in intellectual property and marketing, including so-called “reverse payments,” exclusive relationships, aggressive pricing in aftermarkets and multi-channel distribution. In addition, we have been developing and delivering compliance programs for decades, from booklets and presentations to the latest media.

Merger Review

Not all antitrust lawyers do merger review — but we do. Our lawyers have filed hundreds of HSRs and managed second requests before both the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division. When the transaction raised no real issues, our lawyers quickly filed the HSR and obtained early termination of the waiting period. When the transaction’s issues were trickier, as was the case when combining two leading truck manufacturers, we efficiently marshalled the facts, documents and experts to convince the agencies of our client’s position.

We also understand both the big and subtle differences posed by merger reviews in jurisdictions like China, Brazil and the EU. We have coordinated the processes and, with assistance from our network of cooperating counsel overseas, guided clients through the multi-jurisdictional maze.

Recognized Leaders of the Antitrust Community

Schiff Hardin has a long and active tradition of leadership in the antitrust community, giving us the connections and influence to serve our clients even more effectively. Our team plays an important role in the ABA Antitrust Section, where global antitrust leaders meet to shape enforcement and trends; our lawyers serve as members of the section’s governing Council and as chairs of committees. We regularly publish alerts and blog postings to provide our clients with actionable information and publicly continue the dialogue with other antitrust leaders. Our lawyers write articles for the leading antitrust publications and have published several books and texts regularly used by clients and law students. Several of these lawyers regularly teach as adjuncts at leading law schools.

  • Experience

    NCAA
    Our lawyers have been the go-to antitrust lawyers for the National Collegiate Athletic Association for over a dozen years. Whether the topic was scholarship limits, relations with private sports camps, coaching restrictions, equipment rules or compensation for student-athletes for televised games, we have been involved in the antitrust cases that have dominated antitrust and sports headlines. Our team has done it all, from devising strategy with top NCAA management to efficiently overseeing massive e-discovery.

    Other Civil Litigation
    Our antitrust litigation legacy dates back to the Electrical Equipment cartel cases of the 1960’s. More recently, we’ve taken on cutting-edge topics for both plaintiffs and defendants. When the dominant provider of in-store promotions and coupon inserts offered a coercive bundled discount to packaged goods companies, we sued on behalf of its much smaller competitor and obtained a result well over $500 million. We have also successfully defended an association of cemeteries from claims of illegal lock-in and tying by showing the claims failed to meet the legal requirements and were based on a flawed market theory, obtaining a reversal of a denial of our request for Rule 11 fees against plaintiffs after dismissal.

    Criminal Litigation and State Investigations
    We understand that not all antitrust matters start with private plaintiffs or Washington enforcers. Schiff Hardin lawyers have successfully handled investigations, both criminal and civil, by state attorneys-general. In one recent example, we negotiated a settlement with a state attorney-general for a foreign company and continue to vigorously defend the related private litigation; the co-defendants remain mired in the criminal matter. In another example, we represented an out-of-state company as it fought off consumer-protection violation allegations from a state attorney-general.

    Pricing and Other Distribution Matters
    We know that pricing and distribution can be the most important factors to a company’s success. They can also raise serious and complicated antitrust issues. Our lawyers know how to handle them. We have created and implemented minimum advertised pricing policies and a multi-channel distribution strategy, including internet sales, for a leading ice-machine manufacturer. Lawyers now with Schiff Hardin helped one manufacturer use different pricing methods as it sold replacement parts for its products through dealers and other channels, both online and in brick-and-mortar locations. Clients have turned to us to ensure that their Internet sales policies stay within the law while best serving their customers.

    Merger Reviews
    Hart-Scott-Rodino pre-merger notification practice can be a world all its own. Fortunately, it is a world in which our lawyers are comfortable, having worked their way through the maze of HSR rules to make hundreds of filings. We also have experience with the close calls that generate “second requests” for information. In one review, lawyers now with the firm successfully obtained clearance for the sale of a leading medium-duty truck manufacturer to one of its major competitors. In another, our lawyers not only made the HSR filing for an acquisition of the client’s largest supplier, we coordinated the actions of counsel in the European Union, China and a dozen other jurisdictions, obtaining all the clearances in time to meet the client’s timetable.

    Joint Ventures and Other Competitor Collaboration
    Joint efforts among competitors can produce great benefits for the parties and their customers; however, they also can lead to collusion, making careful antitrust advice necessary. For a factory jointly run by the two leading competitors in a manufacturing industry, our lawyers kept the legitimate operations running smoothly while assuring the FTC that antitrust principles were observed. In another example, our lawyers established and monitored a dozen joint research ventures among nearly all the competitors in an industry. In addition, we have advised associations, consultants and companies on the proper way to successfully conduct benchmarking.

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