Winston & Strawn said it is setting up a new technology antitrust group to help its roster of clients in the industry navigate an ever more challenging regulatory environment.
“The increasingly rapid pace of innovation has reshaped competitive dynamics for companies operating in technology markets and across digital platforms,” said Aldo Badini, co-leader of the new group announced Wednesday.
The group will be housed in the firm’s antitrust/competition practice but draws from others like IP and corporate M&A, and includes the firm’s co-executive chairmen, trial lawyers Dan Webb and Jeffrey Kessler.
The group’s formation comes at a time of upheaval in Big Tech, as lawmakers are more determined to address the issues of monopoly, competition, and accountability.
Some federal lawmakers are pressuring tech companies for curbs on disinformation and market power, and to promote better data privacy. Behemoths like Facebook Inc. and Google are being confronted by federal and state regulators over possible anticompetitive behavior.
Amid widespread political divisions, the tech heavyweights are also under the microscope for accountability for hosting speech that can lead to illegal actions.
Winston & Strawn’s new team has handled antitrust work for well-known tech clients. The firm successfully represented Microsoft Corp. in the remedy phase of federal and state enforcement actions that claimed the corporation abused its monopoly power on Intel-based personal computers by bundling web browser software Internet Explorer with its Windows operating system.
Winston & Strawn attorneys also represented Panasonic Corp in winning dismissals, with prejudice, of several antitrust cases alleging state and federal antitrust violations involving a patent pool for secure digital card technology that was said to impose an “entry fee” that raised the cost for competitors to break into the market.
“As technology and the digital marketplace continues to create new opportunities for growth, organizations are faced with complex legal challenges to create and maintain an even playing field for fair competition,” said Susannah Torpey, who is team co-leader along with Badini.
Kessler in particular is known for international antitrust work , and co-chairs the firm’s antitrust/competition practice. He has defended Matsushita and JVC against accusations they were part of a conspiracy to take over the U.S. television market.
He’s worked on high-profile sports litigation such as McNeil v. National Football League, which led to free agency in the NFL, and in the Brady v. NFL case, which led to the end of the 2011 league lockout. He’s also represented student-athletes in antitrust challenges to the NCAA that have wound their way to the U.S. Supreme Court.