The K&L Gates Antitrust, Competition & Trade Regulation Practice Group is positioned in strategic markets around the globe to help clients minimize antitrust risks, defend or pursue litigation, get deals through regulatory authorities, and leverage antitrust and competition laws.
We defend clients in some of the largest global cartel criminal investigations, parallel civil cases, and class actions; fine-tune global compliance programs and policies to mitigate lawsuits and government investigations; and obtain regulatory clearance of multi-billion dollar transactions for Fortune 500 companies.
Our geographic reach is valuable to globally integrated clients, given the increasing cooperation between antitrust/competition authorities worldwide. We have more than 80 antitrust/competition practitioners, supported by a global firm of more than 2,000 lawyers, who provide well-coordinated advice to clients wherever they face competition issues.
Members of the Antitrust, Competition & Trade Regulation Practice Group include the chairman of the global Cartel & Leniency Task Force of the International Chamber of Commerce Competition Commission in Paris, as well as partners who have held senior positions and have led enforcement efforts at key antitrust and competition law authorities, including the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
We have a significant presence in the United States, the European Union (EU), and Asia-Pacific, including Australia and China. We represent clients before competition authorities, such as the Antitrust Division of the DOJ and FTC, the European Commission (EC), the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MofCom), the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), U.S. state attorneys general, and the competition authorities of the member states of the EU; in particular, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority and the German Federal Cartel Office. We also represent clients before other U.S. and European regulatory bodies with jurisdiction over competition-related matters.
The Antitrust, Competition & Trade Regulation Law Practice Group and its lawyers have been recognized by several leading directories and publications, including U.S. News–Best Lawyers, Chambers USA, Chambers UK, The Legal 500 UK, Global Competition Review, and the International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers.
Our lawyers are recognized for their trial skill and ability, and have served in leading roles in several landmark U.S. Supreme Court antitrust decisions. Additionally, they have shaped antitrust law through appellate advocacy and the preparation of policy comments on behalf of the American Bar Association to the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Civil antitrust litigation can take years to resolve, distract business operations, and cost millions of dollars. With lawyers throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia, we help clients navigate antitrust litigation to seek the earliest and most advantageous exit. Our experience includes class actions and competitor actions related to allegations of price fixing, bid-rigging, breach of competition rules involving intellectual property, and boycotting, as well as litigation related to distribution, false advertising and promotion, unfair competition, and deceptive trade practices.
In the United States, our lawyers have the requisite experience to litigate multi-district class actions. They understand when to take a leading role in the defense or to minimize cost by taking a supporting role; whether to aggressively pursue an exit strategy, such as an early motion to dismiss, or to wait and conserve credibility; and how best to distinguish a client from other defendants to minimize exposure.
Our experienced antitrust and white-collar criminal defense team, composed of lawyers who previously held significant government positions, is well positioned to defend clients’ interests in criminal antitrust and cartel matters.
We have achieved significant success in numerous jurisdictions around the world, and are recognized by U.S. and international accrediting groups for our strong record in representing companies and executives in investigations and enforcement actions. Matters have included proceedings involving the DOJ, the Canadian Competition Bureau, the EC, the German Federal Cartel office, the UK Competition and Markets Authority, the competition authorities of several EU member states, the Japanese Fair Trade Commission, the ACCC, and other governmental authorities. The strength of our international presence allows us to coordinate responses to the onerous and often conflicting commands of simultaneous investigations in multiple jurisdictions. Our global reach mitigates problems frequently encountered when the work of several law firms must be coordinated.
We have provided effective representation in virtually every type of cartel proceeding and have obtained amnesty under national leniency programs, when appropriate. We have confronted grand jury investigations, dawn raids, and search warrants; sought grants of immunity and leniency; responded to statements of objections; and negotiated plea agreements and resolutions. In many investigations, we have persuaded the government not to pursue criminal enforcement proceedings or civil or administrative monetary penalties. When necessary, we have aggressively and successfully defended our clients at trial. Our experience helps us to anticipate and limit follow-on civil damage and securities law litigation. Additionally, the depth and breath of our team allows us to organize quickly, conduct internal client investigations to determine the facts, and assess potential exposure and minimize risk. We strive to reduce the effect of the resolution and its effect on future business conduct.
As companies grow and become more successful, so does the antitrust risk associated with their conduct. We defend clients in all manner of investigations and lawsuits alleging the misuse of market power. We confront litigation on a range of business practices, including strategic alliances, distribution practices, product innovation, and changes in existing distribution or pricing strategies. We also help clients leverage antitrust laws to gain access to new markets and address problems resulting from competitor actions. Our satisfied clients span a broad range of industries, including automotive and trucking; banking and financial services; branded consumer products, including electronics; computer software and hardware; health care and pharmaceuticals; ocean shipping and transportation; oil and gas; telecommunications and media, sporting goods; and waste services.
In Europe, our sports sector team is experienced in sports law and policy. We represent teams, leagues, and players in addressing unlawful abuse of dominance by sports governing bodies.
We help clients structure transactions by isolating or minimizing competition concerns. This involves analyzing substantive competition issues; advising on merger integration and planning; preparing merger control notification; representing merging parties before competition authorities; and advising on competition issues relevant to purchase, sale, and joint venture agreements.
For multi-jurisdictional mergers, we evaluate notification and approval obligations and manage the process across multiple jurisdictions. We also frequently represent our clients as third-party commenters or challengers to proposed transactions between competitors. Our lawyers have represented clients in a number of high-profile and precedent-setting transactions.
We provide many of these same services to clients who are opposed to, or concerned about, mergers by competitors or suppliers. We assist clients in presenting their concerns to relevant enforcement agencies, proposing appropriate divestitures or other relief, and acquiring assets to be divested. For example, we:
We assist clients globally in responding to unilateral conduct online price erosion and suppression of grey and black market activity. We blend our antitrust experience with our distribution, litigation, government relations, and intellectual property capabilities to provide clients with proactive solutions that entail evaluating current distribution strategies and tailoring a strategy geared towards combatting online price erosion; developing customized strategic plans that support authorized Internet sales and minimize unauthorized Internet sales; monitoring the worldwide online marketplace for distribution anomalies, infringements, and counterfeit products; and enforcing clients’ distribution and intellectual property rights to suppress brand disruption in the marketplace.
We help clients minimize or avoid antitrust risk both in the planning of cooperation and in its execution. Our experience includes antitrust audits, compliance programs, and internal investigations. We counsel clients on agreements regarding distribution, agency, purchase and supply, licensing/ technology transfer and joint venture, specialization, and R&D. We also advise on pricing and price discrimination issues and obtaining market access. And, we do so on behalf of some of the largest companies in the world.
The consumer protection missions of the FTC, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), ACCC, and state regulatory authorities increasingly affect our clients’ business operations. Private litigation under the Lanham Act and Australian Consumer Law can expose businesses to millions in damages for false advertising or unfair trade practices.
We provide counseling and represent clients in consumer protection matters ranging from “Made in USA” and comparative-advertising claims to mortgage-servicing investigations brought by the FTC, CFPB, and other agencies. We also defend clients against deceptive practices and unfair-competition claims brought by state authorities under U.S. laws, or by private entities under the Lanham Act, international trade regulation, or Australian Consumer Law. Similarly, for clients conducting business in the EU, we regularly advise on the complex and sometimes onerous consumer-focused provisions of EU law relating to advertising, consumer contracts, pricing, e‑commerce, and data protection privacy issues.
Our international trade team, comprising lawyers in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia, is experienced in every area of international trade law and regulation, including export controls and sanctions, customs, trade remedies and unfair trade practices proceedings, trade agreements, foreign direct investment in the United States, and unlawful payments.
Our long-standing international trade regulation and trade policy experience, coupled with our global reach, enables us to assist clients with nearly any type of international trade matter. Clients range from manufacturers, exporters, importers, and governments, to individuals, associations, and other organizations from virtually every geographic region.
We provide advice on business planning and transactions, regulatory proceedings, national and multinational trade proceedings and disputes, and government investigations and enforcement proceedings. When it comes to matters before the World Trade Organization (WTO), we have lawyers with prior government experience, including a partner who served as lead counsel for the United States in the first WTO ruling to interpret the GATS Annex on Financial Services, and in the longest appellate proceeding in the history, upholding an $18 billion panel finding in illegal European subsidies to Airbus.