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Thought Leaders - Competition 2021

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Ian Simmons applies more than 29 years of antitrust litigation experience to his distinguished competition practice. 

Questions & Answers

A thought leader in cartel litigation, Ian’s defeat of class certification in the Optical Disk Drive MDL marked only the second time that class certification was defeated in a civil case with guilty pleas. Ian represents Bitcoin.com in the first antitrust case involving cryptocurrency and Samsung Bioepis in the first antitrust case involving biosimilars; the district court, in a lengthy opinion to be published, dismissed the claims.  Ian has argued in five courts of appeals.

What do you enjoy most about working in antitrust? 

I enjoy the high calibre of legal minds that populate the bar and the government agencies; I think it is great that we get to work with economists and scholars. The issues are conceptual, factual and bear on the history of the American economy. When we study antitrust, we are learning American history and in the case law, we see distant mirrors, images that are with us today.

How has your experience in the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division enhanced your current practice?

I was three years out of law school when I went to the DOJ in 1994 and I served in the front office under Anne Bingaman, the first female assistant attorney general. She was a dynamo in that role and had the courage to remake a great institution and to bring the first case against Microsoft. As a naturalised citizen, I was so proud to say, in my own small way, I represented the United States. I saw luminaries like Rich Gilbert, who authored the first IP/antitrust guidelines, first hand. It was a heady time I have never forgotten.

There has been increasing scrutiny surrounding the market power of big tech companies. How do you expect this trend to develop, and do you envisage other industries facing similar scrutiny?

I think on both the left and the right we are seeing a convergence of concern with the concentration of market power and perhaps a re-kindling of other concerns such as the concentration of wealth. I believe antitrust scrutiny of high-technology firms will be with us for some time – and much of the concern may emanate from firms themselves as we are seeing with the Fortnite litigation.

In the past year you have secured dismissals in two cases of first impression; one concerning biosimilars and the other cryptocurrency. How do you prepare for such unique cases?

By understanding that each industry is unique, thus you must be true to and acknowledge the differentiation, but by understanding that antitrust is common law and thus elastic but governed by the common law principle of treating like cases alike.

What are the main antitrust issues to arise out of the covid-19 crisis?

The key issue is whether and how to relax the standards for assessing competitor collaborations.

How do you think global cartel enforcement will evolve in the next five years?

I hope the antitrust division shows greater initiative and leadership in this area and is brave in terms of taking on collusion taking place outside the United States but affecting our country.

What is the most memorable case you have been part of?

United States v Nippon Paper: this was the first time in the then 108-year history of the Sherman Act that a grand jury indicted a wholly foreign price-fixing conspiracy. We got a jury instruction, over the vigorous objection of the prosecution, on substantial effects – no instruction like that had ever been given; the jury deadlocked, a mis-trial was declared and after a year of being under submission, Judge Gertner in a celebrated published opinion granted our Rule 29 motion. One prominent member of the white-collar bar said to me he considers the case the “Brown v. Board” for antitrust white-collar defendants. I am also proud of my Microsoft work at the DOJ and the result in Optical Disk Drive along with my pre-emption cases. 

You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?

I think cultivating people who have an interest in antitrust and who want to build and carry on a great tradition in a great area of law is my prime focus, one I have always had, and one I want to continue.

Global Leader

Competition 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Ian Simmons applies more than 29 years of antitrust litigation experience to his distinguished competition practice. 

Biography

As co-chair of the firm’s antitrust and competition practice, Ian Simmons has been lead counsel in more than 30 multi-district litigation (MDL) antitrust proceedings and has achieved precedent-setting results, including winning summary judgment in December 2017 on behalf of Samsung Electronics in the long-running In re: Optical Disk Drive litigation in which class plaintiffs were seeking US$3 billion in trebled damages. In addition to his extensive experience with cartel cases, Ian’s litigation practice involves matters at the fulcrum of the antitrust analysis of intellectual property. These matters include issues relating to standard essential patents and FRAND obligations (including the calculation of FRAND royalties). Ian is a member of the ABA antitrust section leadership and has appeared as a panellist or moderator at eight ABA antitrust spring meetings. A thought leader in cartel litigation, including representations of multinational clients such as Marriott International, Samsung Electronics, Asiana Airlines and Kumho Petrochemicals. His defeat of class certification in the Optical Disk Drive Litigation marked only the second time that class certification was defeated in a civil case where guilty pleas had been entered. Ian represents Bitcoin.com in the first antitrust case involving crypto currency. Ian is counsel to Samsung Bioepis in the first antitrust case involving biosimilars; the district court, in lengthy opinion to be published, dismissed the claims. In re Humira Antitrust Litig., ____ F. Supp.3d ____ (N.D. Ill. 2020).

An alumnus of the US Department of Justice antitrust division, Ian has argued before the US Court of Appeals in five circuits and tried seven cases to verdict, which earned him recognition by Law360 as MVP of the Year in 2011.

Chambers USA regularly ranks Ian for his work in antitrust litigation and notes his “fine reputation for his multi-jurisdictional cartel defence work”. According to the guide, clients describe him as “outstanding and incredibly skilled”, commend his “detail-oriented work” and praise his “encyclopedic knowledge”. WWL Competition 2018 applauded him with “Ian Simmons impresses peers and clients alike who consider him ‘a super smart litigator with great instincts'". Ian is consistently recognised for his work in antitrust by The Legal 500, which labels O’Melveny’s team as “top-drawer”, by Global Competition Review, which recently lauded him for his Samsung victory against Qualcomm in 2017 and shortlisted him for Litigator of the Year at the 2015 Global Competition Review awards. Ian was also named a 2017 National Law Journal “antitrust trailblazer”.

Litigation 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Ian Simmons draws praise for his work as lead counsel in multi-district litigation and antitrust proceedings.

Biography

As co-chair of the firm’s antitrust and competition practice, Ian Simmons has been lead counsel in more than 30 multi-district litigation (MDL) antitrust proceedings and has achieved precedent-setting results, including winning summary judgment for Samsung Electronics in the long-running In re: Optical Disk Drive litigation in which class plaintiffs were seeking U.S. $3 billion in damages.  In 2019, the National Law Journal, in recognizing the DC office as litigation department of the year, singled out the $3 billion summary judgment victory for Samsung Electronics.

In addition to his extensive cartel experience, Ian is steeped in matters at the fulcrum of the antitrust analysis of intellectual property including the antitrust analysis of standard essential patents and FRAND obligations:  in the Ninth Circuit, he represented 40 of the nation’s leading antitrust scholars in support of affirmance in Federal Trade Commission v. Qualcomm, Inc. and he represents Novartis Pharma AG in an antitrust action involving eye treatments.  He has argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Seventh and Ninth Circuits.

An alumnus of the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, Ian’s career has been highlighted by several “firsts”: he was trial counsel in the first jury trial price fixing case to attack a wholly foreign conspiracy; he argued and won in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in what it called “a case of first impression” on the preemption of state antitrust laws; he is counsel to Bitcoin.com and Roger Ver in the first antitrust case involving crypto currency; and he is counsel to Samsung Bioepis in the first “pay for delay” case involving biosimilars (the district court, in lengthy opinion to be published, dismissed the claims. In re Humira Antitrust Litig., F. Supp.3d (N.D. Ill. 2020)).  Ian recently achieved a significant dismissal in In re DRAM Antitrust Litigation, 400 F.3d Supp. 897 (N.D. Cal. 2019). 

Ian’s representations are not limited to defense side work (as exemplified by the amicus brief in Federal Trade Commission v. Qualcomm, Inc.):  he is counsel in the Southern District of New York to US Airways (American Airlines as successor in interest) in a cutting edge monopolization case involving two sided markets; the case alleges SABRE has illegally monopolized certain markets for the distribution of airline tickets. 

Ian’s defeat of class certification in the Optical Disk Drive Litigation marked only the second time that class certification was defeated in a civil case where guilty pleas had been entered.

Ian is a member of the ABA antitrust section leadership and has appeared as a panelist or moderator at eight ABA antitrust spring meetings. A thought leader in cartel litigation, including representations of multinational clients such as Novartis, Marriott International, Samsung Electronics, Asiana Airlines, Hyundai Motors Corp. and Kumho Petrochemicals.

WWL Competition 2018 applauded him with “Ian Simmons impresses peers and clients alike who consider him ‘a super smart litigator with great instincts’” Ian was also named a 2017 National Law Journal “antitrust trailblazer.”

Ian is a senior lecturing Fellow at Duke Law School.

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