Antitrust & Intellectual Property

Crowell & Moring's antitrust/intellectual property team is experienced in the full range of counseling, litigation, transactional, and public policy issues at the intersection of antitrust and IP. Our practice draws on the experience of seasoned antitrust and IP attorneys in our East Coast, California, and Brussels offices; our team includes former senior officials from both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).

We regularly litigate antitrust and related issues that may arise when IP rights are asserted in federal courts, including claims of monopolization, attempted monopolization, and patent misuse. Our team has also handled complex litigation matters and government investigations involving cutting-edge competition and IP issues associated with the development and implementation of industry standards. We routinely counsel our clients on bilateral patent licensing and patent pool arrangements, as well as developments in the courts (and at antitrust agencies and the International Trade Commission (ITC)) that affect the owners and implementers of technology covered by patents contributed to industry standards. Our antitrust/IP team also collaborates with our government relations professionals to provide strategic guidance and advocacy on emerging competition and innovation policy issues involving IP rights.

Specific examples of our recent experience include:

  • Representing a major wireless communications company in federal court litigation seeking to determine FRAND terms for the licensing of 3G and 4G LTE standard-essential mobile telecommunications patents.
  • Defeating antitrust claims brought against a major contributor to 4G-LTE mobile telecommunications standards associated with its participation in the standard-setting process.
  • Representing a multi-national corporation in an FTC investigation of potential antitrust violations associated with the development of de facto standards.
  • Representing a top Web-browser company in IP and standard-setting issues regarding next-generation Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) for the Web.
  • Winning summary judgment on behalf of a global chemical company on antitrust counterclaims brought in a trade secrets lawsuit.
  • Providing antitrust compliance advice under U.S. and EU law to several large patent pools operating in the information and communications technology sector.
  • Advising a patent owner on whether conduct associated with standard-setting gave rise to a FRAND obligation that would transfer in a subsequent portfolio sale.
  • Representing a media company in abuse of dominance litigation regarding the copyrights claimed by a collective rights management organization.

We built our knowledge in this practice area from years of hands-on experience with the unique legal and business issues raised by the acquisition and exercise of IP rights, particularly in the technology sector. We have the experience and knowledge required to integrate the technical issues into the legal analysis. Also, our understanding of the sophisticated and rapidly evolving legal and policy issues addressing the interaction of competition and IP allows us to assist our clients in maximizing the value of their IP without running afoul of the antitrust laws—and to enforce their rights against companies who violate those laws.

For more information on firm's antitrust/IP practice, please contact one of our professionals or your regular Crowell & Moring contact.