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Media, Entertainment and Technology



Home > Practices > Media, Entertainment and Technology Antitrust

Gibson Dunn has one of the leading antitrust practices in the world.  The firm is ranked as one of five top-tier firms in the United States and recognized as a leading global firm for Competition/Antitrust law in the 2014 edition of Chambers Global.  It is also ranked among the top 20 “Global Elite” firms in the 2014 edition of Global Competition Review’s GCR 100: The World’s Leading Competition Law Practices.

The Antitrust Group provides services to media, entertainment and technology clients in virtually every significant area of antitrust and trade regulation law.  Our practice includes client counseling; mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic alliances; antitrust compliance; private treble damage and injunction litigation in U.S. federal and state courts, including class actions; cartel investigations, grand jury practice and criminal antitrust litigation; government civil investigations and enforcement; appellate representation; and EU and Member State antitrust (UK, France and Germany).

Antitrust Litigation

Our litigation covers the full spectrum of antitrust claims and issues, including alleged price fixing, predatory pricing, price squeeze, price discrimination, market allocation, boycotts, resale price maintenance, exclusive dealing, exclusive territories, tying arrangements, refusals to deal, dealer terminations, other vertical restraints, monopolization, monopoly leveraging, essential facilities, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, trade associations, and interlocking directorates.

Representative matters:

  • Fischer, et al. v. Time Warner Cable, et al.  Secured dismissal from the Complex Division of the Superior Court of California of a class action complaint seeking injunctive relief and more than $6 billion in restitution on behalf of a putative class of Southern California cable and satellite TV subscribers.  Plaintiffs alleged that Time Warner Cable was obligated to give subscribers on the enhanced basic cable tier the opportunity to opt out of new Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Lakers sports channels, and alleged violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law.  The court granted Gibson Dunn’s motion to dismiss, agreeing that the challenged conduct was “expressly permitted by law.”  Finding that efforts to amend the complaint would be futile, the court entered judgment for defendants (including the Lakers and Dodgers). 
  • Comcast Corp. et al. v. Behrend et al.  Obtained victory for Comcast when the Supreme Court reversed an order certifying a class of more than two million current and former Comcast subscribers after plaintiffs alleged Comcast increased prices in the Philadelphia area through anticompetitive conduct.   Agreeing with Gibson Dunn’s arguments, the Court concluded that the class action was improperly certified under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, holding that Rule 23(b)(3) cannot authorize treating subscribers within the Philadelphia cluster as members of a single class. 
  • In re Digital Music Antitrust Litigation.  Won dismissal for Sony BMG in 35 antitrust class action complaints consolidated into a single multidistrict litigation alleging a conspiracy by the major record labels to fix the price of downloaded music. 
  • Tickets.com v. Ticketmaster.  Gibson Dunn prevailed in the Ninth Circuit for its clients Ticketmaster Corp. and Ticketmaster-Online Citysearch, obtaining affirmance of a complete summary judgment victory dismissing antitrust claims brought by Tickets.com under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act.  The Ninth Circuit held that there was no evidence that Ticketmasteralleged to have market shares above 80% in various relevant marketshad engaged in anticompetitive conduct by entering into multi-year exclusive contracts to provide ticketing services to its venue and arena clients.
  • Intertainer, Inc. v. Time Warner, Inc.  Represented Sony Corp. of America and SPE in alleged $1 billion antitrust claim by Intertainer, an early entrant in the video-on-demand space, accusing major studios of an illegal price-setting conspiracy through their formation of Movielink.  
  • CD-R/RW Patent Pool Antitrust Litigation.  Gibson Dunn is representing Sony Corp. in a putative indirect purchaser antitrust class action in the District of New Jersey challenging the formation and administration of a patent pool by the holders of patents used in the manufacturing of CD-R and CD-RW compact discs.
  • DVD Patent Pool Antitrust Litigation.  Gibson Dunn is representing Sony Corp. in a putative antitrust class action in the Southern District of California challenging the formation and administration of a patent pool by the holders of patents used in the manufacturing of DVD players.
  • Merchant, et al. v. Sumner Redstone, et al. (L.A. Cty. Superior Ct. 2003).  Gibson Dunn won a significant victory for its client Columbia Tristar Home Video in a case where a group of 251 independent video retailers (“IVRs”) alleged that Viacom, Blockbuster Video, and the major movie studios entered into an illegal conspiracy to make favorable “revenue sharing” terms available to Blockbuster for the purchase of videotapes for its retail outlets, but to deny those same revenue sharing terms to IVRs.  Having earlier defeated plaintiffs’ effort to certify a class, the defendants moved for summary judgment against all 251 plaintiffs on all claims.  The court entered summary judgment, holding that the plaintiffs had failed to show a violation of California’s antitrust laws or consumer protection statutes.  Gibson Dunn is also representing Columbia Tristar Home Video in the appeal by IVRs of the trial court’s denial of class certification and entry of summary judgment.
  • Gerlinger v. Amazon.com. We obtained a victory for Amazon.com before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed a district court decision granting a motion to dismiss a putative antitrust class action for lack of standing. The plaintiff sought to recover treble damages under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, and Section 7 of Clayton Act, on behalf of a class of consumers allegedly injured by an agreement between Amazon.com and Borders.com through which Amazon.com hosted the Borders.com website. The Court held that the plaintiff suffered no injury and offered no evidence of actual instances of paying higher prices after the agreement than he would have paid otherwise. 
  • Music Industry Robinson-Patman Litigation.  Gibson Dunn is representing Sony BMG Music Entertainment in a Robinson-Patman Act price discrimination litigation brought by independent record stores in federal court in the Central District of California.  The plaintiffs claim that major recorded music companies have discriminated in price and promotional allowances in favor of major chain stores.
  • Thompson Everett v. National Cable Advertising and Templin v. Times Mirror Cable.  Representation of numerous clients in the cable television industry (including Cox Communications, National Cable Communications, Times Mirror Cable, Time Warner Cable and Adlink) in connection with various antitrust, FCC and transactional matters, including one trial and several summary judgments. 
  • Gibson Dunn represents media, entertainment and technology clients in a wide variety of non-public antitrust matters before the Federal Trade Commission, Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, state attorneys general, European Commission, and other competition enforcement agencies.

Antitrust Transactional Engagements

Our lawyers are involved at all stages of mergers and joint ventures that raise antitrust issues and have shepherded numerous transactions through U.S. and foreign government merger reviews.  With many alumni from the federal antitrust agencies in our ranks, Gibson Dunn has considerable experience with the administrative review process that is often triggered by significant merger activity in an industry.

We routinely assist clients in preparing Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (HSR) pre-merger notification filings and in responding to government second requests.  The need for experienced counsel in such matters has been dramatically underscored in recent years by the multimillion-dollar fines that have been imposed because of non-compliant HSR filings.  We also assist clients with EU and foreign merger notification and Exon-Florio filings, and have significant experience as well dealing with other regulatory aspects of mergers and state attorneys general investigations of merger transactions.  Finally, our lawyers have considerable experience representing parties to a merger in both government and private preliminary injunction challenges to mergers and acquisitions in federal courts.

Representative matters:

We have counseled clients on the formation and operation of a variety of joint ventures in the media, entertainment and technology sectors.  We have also represented clients in a series of transactional engagements reviewed by the DOJ or FTC, including:

  • Vivendi and Activision
  • Ticketmaster Entertainment and Live Nation Entertainment
  • Intel and McAfee
  • Sony Music and BMG
  • Sony Music and Universal online joint venture
  • Knapp Communications and Advance Publications
  • New Orleans Publishing Group and Times Picayune Publishing Corporation
  • Hollywood Entertainment and Movie Gallery


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