Chris Yates, a partner in Latham & Watkins’ San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices, litigates and tries precedent-setting antitrust cases in courts across the United States.
Mr. Yates regularly counsels and represents clients at the forefront of the sports, technology, travel, healthcare, and life sciences industries. Drawing on more than two decades of litigation and trial experience, he routinely achieves success for clients facing a variety of cutting-edge antitrust and competition issues, including:
- Consumer class actions
- Challenges to sports governing bodies
- IP-related antitrust claims
- Distribution and pricing policies
- Industry standard-setting and related claims of anticompetitive collusion or monopolization
- Alleged aftermarket monopolization
Mr. Yates has successfully argued in federal trial courts throughout the country, including New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Delaware, and California, and has won appeals before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and other appellate courts.
Mr. Yates served as Global Vice Chair of the firm’s Antitrust & Competition Practice from 2010 - 2020.
Mr. Yates has represented:
Sports and Entertainment
The US Soccer Federation
- In litigation brought by a promoter claiming that the Federation and Major League Soccer entered into an unlawful agreement in restraint of trade. Defendants’ motion for summary judgment was granted on market definition grounds and the testimony of plaintiff’s expert economist (deposed by Mr. Yates) was excluded on Daubert grounds.
- In successfully defeating the North American Soccer League’s motion for preliminary injunction (affirmed by the Second Circuit) in a case alleging that the Federation’s Professional League Standards are the product of a conspiracy.
- Against claims that the Federation conspired with FIFA to exclude regular season Spanish league games from the United States.
Plaintiff’s complaint was dismissed and Mr. Yates was recognized as Runner Up for Litigator of the Week by The American Lawyer for this result.
- Defended US Soccer in connection with a complaint filed by Hope Solo before the US Olympic Committee claiming US Soccer was not in compliance with the requirements of the Ted Stevens Act; after a three-day evidentiary hearing, Solo agreed to dismiss her claims with prejudice.
- Waddell & Reed in obtaining dismissal of a complaint alleging that W&R and boxing manager Al Haymon entered into an unlawful conspiracy; after granting defendants’ motion to dismiss with leave to amend, the claims against W&R were dismissed in their entirety without leave to amend in what was called an “unequivocal win” by The American Lawyer.
- Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), the international federation that administers water sports competitions, regarding allegations of leveraging its power to shut down a competing event by threatening to disqualify participants from swimming in the Olympics.
- Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) in litigation brought by two overseas entertainment news reporters seeking to become members of the HFPA, the organizer of the Golden Globes. Plaintiffs alleged that antitrust laws require that the HFPA open its membership to “all objectively qualified applicants”. The HFPA’s motion to dismiss was granted with prejudice, earning Runner Up honors for Litigator of the Week from The American Lawyer.
Technology and IP
- In a series of individual cases and a putative class action brought by resellers who alleged that Apple violated California’s antitrust and unfair competition laws by opening its own retail stores, among other actions. The trial court denied plaintiffs’ motion to certify a class of resellers, which was affirmed on appeal.
- In a nationwide consumer class action brought by plaintiffs claiming that Apple violated California’s Unfair Competition Law, Consumers Legal Remedies Act, and False Advertising laws; Mr. Yates secured a denial of class certification.
- In separate cases in federal court, including a putative class action asserting that Apple and AT&T Mobility violated antitrust and other laws when introducing the iPhone and that Apple monopolizes a claimed aftermarket of software applications for the iPhone. Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification of the antitrust claims was denied in the case involving the iPhone and summary judgment was granted on all non-antitrust claims.
- Alcatel-Lucent in the successful defense against allegations that Alcatel-Lucent and other members of the 3GPP standard-setting organization conspired in violation of the Sherman Act by agreeing to remove the plaintiff’s technology from the 3GPP standard.
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the Eastern District of Texas’ grant of summary judgment.
- Capital One in the prosecution of antitrust claims against Intellectual Ventures, a notorious patent troll. This matter is the first in which a court allowed antitrust claims to proceed against Intellectual Ventures.
- SanDisk in connection with antitrust counterclaims alleging that Round Rock (a patent assertion entity) violated the antitrust laws by breaching commitments that Micron had made to JEDEC with respect to the standard essential patents Micron sold to Round Rock.
- Oracle Corporation
- As trial counsel defending against a lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice to enjoin Oracle’s acquisition of PeopleSoft, named by the National Law Journal as the Top Defense Win of 2004.
- In successful defense against antitrust claims brought by unauthorized service providers of Solaris servers and in obtaining judgments for over US$60 million for the service providers’ theft-of-software patches.
- In prosecuting claims against Hewlett Packard Enterprise arising from HPE’s misuse of copyrighted Solaris software patches to provide competing support services to owners of Solaris servers.
Healthcare and Life Sciences
- Genentech against allegations by MedImmune that a settlement agreement between Genentech and another biotechnology company was a collusive, anticompetitive agreement designed to extend a patent monopoly. Summary judgment was granted in favor of Genentech on all of plaintiff’s antitrust claims (brought under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act).
- NorthBay Healthcare against allegations that NorthBay conspired with other hospitals to exclude a cardiovascular surgeon from the market.
- Hyatt Hotels in litigation alleging that Hyatt and other hotel companies conspired to prevent the use of trademarked keywords by online travel companies.
- In litigation alleging that Orbitz and a global distribution system called Travelport entered into an unlawful exclusive dealing contract. All exclusive dealing claims were dismissed with prejudice.
- In multidistrict litigation alleging that Orbitz and other online travel companies conspired and entered into resale price maintenance agreements with hotel chains; Mr. Yates secured dismissal of all claims.
- CooperVision, Inc., a leading manufacturer of contact lenses, in multidistrict litigation alleging that CooperVision conspired with other contact lens manufacturers and with the leading distributor of contact lenses to implement Unilateral Pricing Policies.
- Guitar Center in multidistrict antitrust litigation alleging that Guitar Center (a leading musical instruments retailer) orchestrated a conspiracy among manufacturers of musical instruments to fix resale prices through minimum advertised pricing programs. Guitar Center’s motion to dismiss was granted with prejudice, and was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit.
- Emerson Electric
- In litigation alleging that Emerson and other manufacturers unlawfully boycotted an innovative technology. Emerson’s motion to dismiss was granted with prejudice.
- In litigation alleging that Emerson monopolized the market for garbage waste disposers. The matter resolved without any payment by Emerson.
- StarKist and Dongwon Industries as lead counsel in multidistrict litigation proceedings alleging that StarKist entered into a price fixing conspiracy with Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea.