Practice/Industry Group Overview
Edwards Wildman fields a transatlantic team of experienced antitrust and competition law practitioners. We advise on the full range of US antitrust law and European Union and United Kingdom competition law, including antitrust/competition litigation, merger control, criminal and civil investigations, licensing and distribution issues, monopolization/abuse of dominance, joint ventures and strategic alliances, market and sector investigations, compliance and state aid. We also advise on economic regulation in the communications, rail and water sectors.
We have broad experience dealing with antitrust and competition law issues, with a particular focus on the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, life sciences, healthcare, banking and financial services, insurance and reinsurance, luxury goods, retail, telecommunications, media, technology, transportation, manufacturing, sports and energy industries.
Our antitrust lawyers have extensive experience in dealing with the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission, and the United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading and Competition Commission, as well as with other authorities and enforcement agencies.
In jurisdictions where we are not directly represented, we work with carefully selected local firms. This gives us immediate access to the 'best and brightest' antitrust and competition lawyers in each jurisdiction.
Our attorneys have experience handling civil and criminal antitrust matters, as well as parallel litigation, in matters across the United States. These cases are frequently accompanied by other allegations, including RICO, deceptive trade practices, price-fixing conspiracies, bid-rigging, customer allocation and refusals to deal. We also have experience litigating, arbitrating, and mediating statutory claims under the Sherman Act, Lanham Act, McCarran-Ferguson Act and Robinson-Patman Act (and their state analogues).
In tandem with our intellectual property and patent attorneys, we have also counseled clients on the complex antitrust issues that arise in patent litigation and with patent settlements or licensing arrangements, particularly in litigation involving pharmaceutical services and products.
Our team also has experience defending and pursuing follow-on damages claims before the English High Court, including one of the largest claims to date. We also have experience of judicial review proceedings before the English Administrative Court and of litigating appeals of enforcement decisions before the United Kingdom's specialist Competition Appeal Tribunal.
Criminal and Civil Investigations
We have represented clients, as defendants, complainants and third parties, in numerous criminal and civil antitrust investigations in a wide variety of industries, including petrochemicals, online retail, software, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. We know the staff and senior decision makers at the United States federal enforcement agencies, including the US Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, the UK's Office of Fair Trading and Competition Commission and the European Commission, as well in various state attorneys general offices. Our team includes a former senior official from the OFT.
Transactions/Mergers & Acquisitions
Our antitrust attorneys work as an integral part of the transaction team on mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures, advising on merger control filings and any related antitrust risk in the United States, European Union and throughout the world.
As well as handling any merger control notifications that may be required in the United States, European Union and/or the UK ourselves, we are able to manage and co-ordinate filings in other jurisdictions, using selected local counsel.
Licensing and Distribution
We regularly assist clients in establishing and maintaining complex distribution systems in a variety of industries, ranging from travel/tour operators to online retail. Our lawyers frequently speak on distribution issues and we were closely involved in the European Commission's revision of its vertical agreements regime.
We have particular experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, where complex regulatory issues can constrain pricing flexibility and other behavior, and where safeguarding intellectual property rights is of paramount concern. We are also experienced in advising companies that need to adapt their existing distribution arrangements to take account of the different requirements of a new market. For example, we are able to advise on the particular treatment of restrictions on cross-border sales within the European Union and differences in pricing regulation on both sides of the Atlantic.
Compliance, Antitrust Risk Assessment and Reduction
We place particular importance on helping our clients avoid antitrust problems in the first place. We understand that, for our clients, antitrust compliance is just one part of their overall risk management strategy. We also recognize that most antitrust risk is created inadvertently by well-intentioned, but uninformed employees.
We counsel clients on issues related to the antitrust implications of distribution systems, marketing programs, pricing strategies, competitive intelligence gathering efforts, competitor collaborations, license agreements and patents, as well as Department of Justice guidelines. We also advise on compliance programs, mergers and acquisitions and antitrust filings. Specifically, we assist clients in creating programs to minimize the risk of creation of the ‘bad document,’ which can fuel an antitrust claim, as well as to implement best practices regarding record retention, including of electronic records. These programs can be supported by tailored presentations to legal and business personnel.
Our attorneys also serve as antitrust counsel to several trade associations in diverse fields, including manufacturing, the food and beverage industry and insurance. We assist trade associations and member companies in recognizing and avoiding activities and communications that could raise antitrust concerns. Our counseling involves monitoring membership and board of directors meetings, educating the membership on the antitrust laws, reviewing association communications, advising on membership qualifications and restrictions, advising on data collection and dissemination activities and counseling on lobbying activities.
We also advise clients in preparing their 'dawn raid response' plans, in designing help lines to obtain immediate antitrust guidance and in building 'fire walls' to protect commercially sensitive information and to limit corporate liability for employee malfeasance.