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Irell & Manella LLP has an active antitrust and trade regulation practice.  The practice group has extensive expertise in addressing issues involving the intersection of intellectual property laws and antitrust laws.  Our attorneys have counseled clients on the antitrust aspects of intellectual property licensing agreements, litigated tying cases involving high-technology products, litigated cases involving the misuse of standard setting organizations and litigated antitrust lawsuits stemming from attempts to enforce intellectual property rights.  Our attorneys also have extensive experience in more traditional antitrust fields, such as price-fixing disputes, disputes over dealer terminations, and government investigations of proposed mergers. The practice group’s clients range from private litigants in antitrust and unfair competition cases to individuals or corporations that are the subjects of civil and criminal investigations initiated by the government.  Our attorneys often counsel clients on how to comply with federal and state antitrust, unfair competition, and advertising laws.  They also negotiate Hart-Scott-Rodino compliance issues with the FTC and Justice Department, even working with those agencies at times when a client opposes consummation of a merger that one of those agencies is investigating.  The practice group has also handled numerous appellate matters, including referrals from clients who have suffered adverse results at trial.  

Representative Matters

Tessera v. Micron and Infineon.  Irell & Manella successfully represented Tessera, Inc., a global leader in the development and licensing of semiconductor packaging technology.  Tessera alleged patent infringement by Micron and Infineon, two of the world's largest manufacturers of DRAM, which is used as main memory in computer systems. Tessera further alleged that the defendants colluded through a purported standard setting organization to forestall widespread adoption of Tessera's patented technology, as part of their efforts to monopolize and then fix prices in the DRAM market.  We defeated summary judgment motions based on our client's alleged lack of standing.  Shortly before jury selection, both Micron and Infineon agreed to resolve the case for $30M and $50M, respectively, in up front payments, and royalty-bearing licenses to Tessera's patents on confidential terms. 

Northrop Grumman Space & Mission Systems Corp. v. Space Exploration Technologies Corp.  We represented Space Exploration (“SpaceX”)  in connection with an anti-trust and breach of fiduciary duty claims against Northrop Grumman.  After Northrop Grumman sued SpaceX in California Superior Court for trade secret misappropriation relating to SpaceX’s rocket propulsion systems, SpaceX brought Walker Process claims against Northrop Grumman in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.  SpaceX alleged that Northrop Grumman’s complaint impermissibly attempted to claim trade secret protection as to information Northrop Grumman actually disclosed in patent applications and elsewhere, or that should have been disclosed in patent applications.  This matter was resolved after Northrop Grumman lost its motion to dismiss. 

TSR Records and Radikal Records v. Universal Music Group, Inc., et al.  Irell & Manella represents the nation's largest record company in an antitrust action brought by independent record labels in the aftermath of "payola" investigations by New York Attorney General.

National Music Marketing, Inc., et al. v. Universal Music Group, Inc., et al., Irell & Manella represents a major record company and executives in defense of antitrust and tortious interference claims brought by "independent promoters" in record industry.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation v. GlaxoSmithKline, plc.  Irell & Manella represented pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline in defending an antitrust lawsuit claiming it had monopolized the market for anti-retroviral drugs used to treat persons with HIV or AIDS. The case settled on very favorable terms for our client before trial.

GLOBEtrotter Software, Inc. v. Elan Computer Group, Inc. Irell & Manella represented the plaintiff in this case in which the Federal Circuit issued a published opinion affirming an award of summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff on claims asserted against it for tortious interference and unfair competition.

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. v. Jakks Pacific, Inc., et al.  Irell & Manella represented one of nation's largest videogame companies in successful defense of antitrust and commercial bribery claims brought under Sherman and Robinson-Patman Acts.

Digital Distribution, Inc. v. CEMA Distribution, Inc., et al., Irell & Manella represented one of the six national recorded music distributors in defense of private class action claiming damages in excess of $1.5 billion for alleged price fixing of compact discs.

United States v. Time Warner, Inc., et al., Irell & Manella represented PolyGram Holding, Inc., in investigation initiated by the Department of Justice concerning the collective licensing of music videos in the United States and Europe.  

In re Copper Purchasers Antitrust Litigation.  Working with East Coast counsel, Irell & Manella successfully defeated a claim against JP Morgan & Co. that it had engaged in a scheme to fix or inflate the price of copper on world markets.  The case arose out of a scandal in which a foreign bank had falsified copper trades and thereby driving up world copper prices.  After all of the other defendants had settled, we convinced the court to refuse to certify a class and successfully defended the decision on appeal.  On remand,  the plaintiffs dropped their complaint.

Clayworth et al v. Pfizer, Inc. et al.  Working with East Coast counsel, Irell & Manella represented GSK in a lawsuit alleging that it and other pharmaceutical companies had conspired to fix the price of prescription drugs in violation of California's Cartwright Act.  The trial court entered judgment for the defendants on the grounds that the plaintiff could prove no damages as it had been able to pass on 100% of any alleged illegal price increase it had paid.  The case is currently on appeal.  Irell & Manella has also participated both as lead counsel and as co-counsel with East Coast firms in a number of other successful antitrust and trade regulation matters.  For example, the firm engineered the successful reversal of a $425 million treble-damage judgment against one of its major clients.  The client had suffered the loss at trial in an action in Federal District Court in the Tenth Circuit. The firm has also successfully represented a number of clients in proceedings initiated by the Federal Trade Commission or state and local officials concerning alleged false advertising or other unfair trade practices.  Although such cases and investigations often settle, we have also successfully convinced federal and state regulators to abstain from prosecutorial action against our clients.