Practice Leader(s)
Related Practices

Antitrust Enforcement & Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual property often underpins the competitive success of companies and organizations.  However, the protections afforded by IP laws may conflict with the demands of antitrust laws.  Steptoe’s antitrust and intellectual property lawyers advise our clients when these competing interests intersect, drawing on the depth of our knowledge in both areas and our appreciation for the real world practicalities of our clients’ business goals.

Antitrust and competition issues often arise in connection with enforcing and licensing intellectual property.  In particular, issues such as abusive licensing, violation of commitments for standards-essential patents, sham litigation, Walker Process violations, tying arrangements, and improper use of patent pools are being asserted with increased frequency.  Intellectual property-related antitrust issues also arise in connection with inquiries from government agencies.  The balance struck between intellectual property and antitrust law often differs depending on whether the conduct implicates the law of the United States, the European Union, or other active antitrust regimes.

Our transatlantic experience encompasses both strategic counseling and litigation at the intersection of IP and antitrust in the following sectors:

  • Biotechnology
  • Chemicals
  • Consumer products
  • Heavy manufacturing
  • IT and defense
  • Media Content
  • Medical devices
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Semiconductors 
  • Telecommunications and power generation

Representative Matters

  • Representing Laboratories Fournier S.A., an innovator pharmaceutical company, in antitrust litigation brought by generic drug manufacturers, direct purchasers, and indirect purchasers.
  • Advising Motorola Mobility, Inc. on various antitrust/IP issues relating to mobile devices.
  • Representing Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and its US subsidiary Mitsubishi Power Systems America, Inc. in a large antitrust suit filed by them against General Electric Company alleging monopolization and attempted monopolization of the wind turbine market in the US.
  • Advising a trade association on the creation of a licensing pool in the life sciences sector.
  • Advising on patent settlement agreements in the plant protection sector.