Antitrust and Unfair Competition
Stevens & Lee has significant experience in all aspects of antitrust and unfair competition litigation in trial and appellate courts and also provides practical and thoughtful counseling regarding antitrust and competition matters.
Stevens & Lee’s Antitrust and Unfair Competition Group, led by Joseph E. Wolfson, in conjunction with our White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice Group, has handled a wide array of civil and criminal antitrust matters, including lengthy antitrust trials resulting in successful jury verdicts. The team recently obtained a defense verdict for a large producer of eggs in a complex antitrust trial alleging a price-fixing conspiracy. Stevens & Lee has also successfully and efficiently assisted clients in resolving a wide variety of antitrust issues related to price and non-price restraints, mergers and acquisitions, distribution of products or services, and disputes with competitors, customers and suppliers.
In the event of an investigation or contemplated, threatened or filed antitrust litigation, our attorneys provide sound representation based on extensive experience in federal, state and administrative civil or criminal litigation, including private treble damage suits, civil and criminal investigations by federal and state authorities and antitrust class actions. We have successfully represented health care and business clients in civil and criminal litigation brought by the United States Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, and State Attorneys General.
Stevens & Lee lawyers also frequently represent clients in cases alleging misappropriation of trade secrets, violations of non-competition agreements, unfair competition, and/or use of similar trade names, trademarks and service marks.
Not all of our work is litigation. We also provide antitrust counseling, including comprehensive risk management analyses for individual, corporate and trade association clients, advising regarding compliance of contemplated transactions. We regularly advise clients on pricing agreements and policies, including Resale Price Maintenance (RPM), Minimum Advertised Price (MAP), and Colgate Policies, sometimes as part of a Brand Management Policy designed to protect our clients’ intellectual property. In addition, we provide antitrust audits and structure antitrust compliance policies and procedures, which are thorough, yet designed for easy and practical use.
Sherman Act – Civil: We have extensive litigation and compliance experience on the trial and appellate levels and from both a plaintiff’s and a defendant’s perspective in Section 1 and Section 2 of the Sherman Act, including price fixing, predatory pricing, tying arrangements and related conduct, sham litigation and conspiracies to boycott and allocate territories, production and customers.
Sherman Act – Criminal: We have successfully defended corporate and individual defendants in criminal price fixing, bid-rigging, customer and territorial allocation cases, and bid-rigging prosecutions. We have extensive experience in criminal antitrust law, including both investigations and litigation.
Mergers and Acquisitions: We have experience in negotiating and defending mergers and acquisitions with the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice and the States’ Attorneys General. We provide strategic advice on our clients’ merger and acquisition plans and tactical implementation of those plans, including market share analyses, antitrust risk analysis, and analyzing, submitting and preparing Hart-Scott-Rodino and other similar filings, as needed.
Unfair Methods of Competition: Whether the issue arises under federal law under the Federal Trade Commission Act or under state law under the general rubric of unfair methods of competition, including business tort, consumer fraud, tortious interference with contract, or common law restraints of trade, we are experienced in litigating unfair competition claims and can also provide counseling on such claims.
Price Discrimination: We have litigated cases brought under the Robinson-Patman Act, which prohibits price discrimination. We routinely counsel clients on compliance with the Robinson-Patman Act.
Distribution and Franchise: Our attorneys represent franchisors and distributors in federal and state regulatory issues, mergers, acquisitions, implementation of growth and exit strategies, financing, employment, intellectual property, litigation and tax matters, as well as an array of product and service distribution issues, including wholesale, jobber, direct and dual distribution, and distributor and dealer terminations. When appropriate, we position existing business platforms to achieve effective and profitable franchising. We are well aware of the risks of being an inadvertent franchise, and the rights this may give franchisees.
Health Care Antitrust: We have broad private and public sector experience in this active area of antitrust concern. Our antitrust and health care attorneys understand the complex interaction between federal and state mandates, the Affordable Care Act, third party payments, purely public charities acts and delivery concentration and competition in the health care arena. Our antitrust lawyers collaborate with our health care lawyers to represent a variety of institutional and group health care clients in litigation and administrative matters before federal and state regulators, including the Federal Trade Commission, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and Office of Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Lanham Act: Our attorneys have extensive experience nationwide in litigation of trademark and copyright infringement, false and misleading advertising, the sale of gray market goods, and related intellectual property and unfair competition claims. We have handled many matters involving the interaction of the Lanham Act (and state libel and deceptive trade practices laws) with our clients’ sales, marketing and distribution practices, both from a defensive and offensive posture, in both the litigation and compliance counseling contexts.
Pharmaceutical Antitrust: We have represented some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the country against claims of antitrust violations arising out of the settlement of patent cases and have been involved in some of the groundbreaking cases in this developing area of antitrust law.