Federal and state antitrust and unfair competition laws affect the way in which companies conduct their business – including marketing, pricing, distribution, advertising, trade association activity, joint venture formation and other competitor collaborations, mergers & acquisitions, IP licensing, and more. We have extensive experience helping clients with a wide array of antitrust and trade regulation issues.
The team features litigation and counseling depth from our attorneys in Virginia and North Carolina. We work seamlessly across offices and industry groups to service our clients, particularly in the following areas:
Mergers & Acquisitions/Transactional Antitrust: We have experience working with clients throughout the merger review process, including from deal inception and preliminary antitrust evaluation, to Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) and foreign filing analysis, advocacy before the antitrust agencies, negotiation of remedies and consent decrees, and guidance on pre-closing information exchanges. We have represented acquiring and acquired companies, as well as third parties, before the FTC and DOJ during merger reviews in a diverse range of industries such as consumer and office products, waterway transport, metal refining, navigation data, food products, fiberglass insulation, and more.
For global transactions, we have partnered with experienced competition counsel in other jurisdictions to ensure that multinational merger reviews are coordinated and efficient. We have relationships with firms in the EU, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Russia and elsewhere.
Litigation: We vigorously defend our clients’ interests in litigation. Our team has experience representing companies in large-scale multidistrict litigation brought by private litigants and state attorneys general under the Sherman Act and related state laws, as well as experience defending Robinson-Patman claims, monopolization cases, and claims of unfair trade practices under state “Little FTC” acts. Moreover, Williams Mullen’s Litigation Group features seasoned trial lawyers who try complex cases with national scope and who appear with particular frequency in Washington, DC, Virginia, and North Carolina courtrooms.
Compliance & Internal Investigations: Companies’ business practices are increasingly scrutinized by regulators who seek massive financial penalties and even imprisonment for antitrust and anti-bribery violations. Now, more than ever, companies must proactively detect potential infractions. Our team is experienced in creating antitrust compliance programs for clients, conducting internal investigations, and working closely and discretely with senior management to assess risk and determine the best course of action. We also counsel trade associations on antitrust compliance and information exchange. Our antitrust & trade regulation lawyers draw upon the strength of Williams Mullen’s White Collar & Investigations Team to efficiently and comprehensively manage clients’ risk.
Counseling: Antitrust laws do not merely relate to large mergers, litigation, and criminal investigations; they affect the way companies and associations do business every day. We counsel clients on all manner of business conduct: information exchanges, joint venture activity, pricing strategies (e.g., most-favored-nations clauses, price discrimination issues, resale price maintenance), distribution and non-price restraints, advertising restraints (e.g., minimum advertised price policies), and issues involving the intersection of antitrust with intellectual property and healthcare.
Consumer Protection: We represent companies before the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection on matters relating to advertising, product labeling, claim substantiation, and multi-level marketing. In addition, our attorneys regularly counsel clients on compliance with Section 5 of the FTC Act, FTC trade regulation rules and National Advertising Division guidance. Our team is particularly well-equipped to guide clients through a rapidly changing regulatory environment, such as the recent creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Williams Mullen Financial Services Group regularly counsels clients regarding the Truth in Lending Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and related financial services laws.