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Covington Defeats $3.5 Billion Claim in LCD Antitrust Case

January 24, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC, January 24, 2014 — Covington & Burling scored a major victory for several of the world’s largest liquid crystal display manufacturers by persuading a federal judge in Chicago to dismiss antitrust claims asserted by Motorola Mobility, Inc.

U.S. District Judge Joan B. Gottschall of the Northern District of Illinois found that U.S. antitrust law does not apply to 99 percent of the antitrust claims brought by Motorola against the defendant LCD makers, which include Samsung, Sharp, AU Optronics, LG Display, SANYO, Toshiba and HannStar. Motorola sought $3.5 billion in damages based on allegations that the defendants overcharged it for liquid crystal display panels used in its mobile phones.

In a 20-page opinion, Judge Gottschall ruled that the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (FTAIA) bars Motorola’s antitrust claims because the claims are based on non-import conduct involving trade with foreign nations. “These claims do not fall under the FTAIA’s domestic injury exception because they do not arise from any domestic effect,” she wrote. Judge Gottschall’s order reconsidered and reversed an earlier order rejecting the defendants’ arguments that had been issued by a multi-district litigation court in San Francisco.

Covington took the lead in preparing and filing the motion to reconsider on behalf of all of the defendants. Earlier in the case, Covington obtained summary judgment for its client, Samsung Electronics, on Motorola’s breach of contract claims.

The Covington team included Robert Wick, Neil Roman, Derek Ludwin, and Jeffrey Davidson.

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