Antitrust, Franchise and Trade Regulation Law

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Tydings is home to a sophisticated antitrust, franchise, and trade regulation practice.  The practice group handles complex litigation as well as corporate transactions, state and federal antitrust matters, and emerging issues arising from the convergence of electronic commerce and antitrust law.

Antitrust Litigation

Tydings represents clients in a broad spectrum of antitrust, franchising, unfair competition, and trade regulation litigation in federal and state courts.  Because we are experienced in both defending and litigating against major corporations, we are prepared to position clients favorably at each stage of a dispute.  We both defend and prosecute matters involving:

  • Antitrust and franchising issues in the brewing, printing, heavy industrial equipment, pharmaceutical, computer software, soft drink, and automobile industries;
  • Resale price-fixing and tying issues in the automobile industry;
  • Price-fixing in products and industries as diverse as beer, crayons, pharmaceuticals, automotive parts, electronics, soft drinks, electronic fences, automobile franchises, petroleum, heavy construction equipment, real estate commissions, and department stores;
  • Monopolization in the computer software industry;
  • Commercial bribery in the automotive parts industry;
  • Civil investigative demands (CIDs) served by the attorneys general of various states in areas ranging from title insurance to radio stations;
  • Claims of violation of various state sales-below-cost statutes;
  • Challenges to anticompetitive state statutes; and
  • Claims involving Petroleum Marketing Practices Act.

Corporate transactions

Many bold business strategies involve antitrust risk.  The acquisition of competitors, the imposition of resale price restraints, combined product or service selling, and distribution restraints can all raise the prospect of antitrust liability.  Our lawyers help clients evaluate the risks and structure transactions to reap the rewards of bold moves.

In helping clients plan and execute joint ventures, pricing policies, and distribution arrangements, we:

  • Provide antitrust advice and risk analysis;
  • Structure distribution agreements;
  • Prepare and present to antitrust enforcement agencies requests for business review letters;
  • Counsel on compliance with the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, including filings with the FTC Premerger Notification Office; and
  • Counsel on state, federal, and international antitrust issues.

State versus federal antitrust

We are retained by clients across the country in matters where state and federal antitrust statutes conflict or interact.  Tom Wilson, one of the nation’s leading authorities on state antitrust law, leads our antitrust practice.  He was the first chief of the antitrust division of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office.  In that capacity, he successfully argued the antitrust issues in Exxon v. Governor of Maryland in the U.S. Supreme Court, a landmark commerce clause case involving the interaction of antitrust law and federalism.

Antitrust on the Internet

E-commerce is not exempt from antitrust law.  Issues involving tying, price fixing, and horizontal combinations will arise frequently in new ventures on the Web.  In this evolving area of commerce, it is highly likely that state antitrust enforcers will take the lead.  Tydings' lawyers are ready to assist and defend Internet-based companies that find themselves on the receiving end of state or federal antitrust investigations.

Leadership

Thomas Wilson, chair of the Antitrust Practice Group, is a longtime leader in his field.  He has been a member of the Advisory Board of the Bureau of National Affairs’ Antitrust and Trade Regulation Report since 1979.  He has also been active in the Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association, serving as Chairman of the State Antitrust Enforcement Committee (1986-1989) and as an elected member of the Antitrust Section Council (1990-1993).  During his government service, Mr. Wilson assumed leadership roles within the National Association of Attorneys General on various subcommittees of the Antitrust and Fiscal Affairs Committee.  Our attorneys are also active members of the DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar, District of Columbia Defense Lawyers Association, American Bar Association's Section of Antitrust Law (and its Exemptions & Immunities Committee and Forum on Franchising), and Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel.

Representative Matters

  • Represented Sun Microsystems, Inc., in its monopolization suit against Microsoft Corp., in which Sun obtained approximately $1.95 billion in settlement
  • Litigation against state officials challenging validity of cigarette sales-below-cost regulations
  • Defended a major automobile manufacturer in a series of antitrust trials that challenged the manufacturer’s parts distribution practices
  • Represented plaintiffs in price-fixing cases relating to the real estate brokerage industry and the retail gasoline business

Representative Clients

We have represented or currently represent the following clients:

  • 180s LLC
  • Binney & Smith
  • Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Delaware
  • Fas-Mart Convenience Stores
  • General Cinema
  • Greer Industries
  • IFD Inc.
  • Invisible Fence, Inc.
  • Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company
  • McKesson Corp.
  • McLane Company, Inc.
  • Mercedes-Benz USA, Inc.
  • Merck-Medco Managed Care, LLC
  • Northeast, LLC
  • Sheetz, Inc.
  • The Stroh Brewery Company
  • Sun Microsystems, Inc.
  • Tobacco Technology, Inc.
  • Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc.
  • Volvo of America, Inc.
  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
  • Wawa, Inc.
  • West Virginia Radio Corp.
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