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Mayer Brown, a leading global law firm, announced today that Christopher J. Kelly, a prominent antitrust partner at the firm and a former United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division official, has relocated to the firm’s Palo Alto office from its Washington, DC office. Mr. Kelly is a leading authority on high-tech antitrust law, and his arrival significantly strengthens Mayer Brown’s Silicon Valley intellectual property-antitrust practice.

Mr. Kelly’s specialty is the application of antitrust law to technology and the intellectual property rights that protect it.  At the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, he played a key role in developing US antitrust enforcement policy on IP licensing, patent pools, standard-setting and joint ventures.  Since moving to the private sector, he counsels and represents high-technology clients regarding these and other critical antitrust issues that innovators face.  He also handles major mergers and acquisitions, helping global corporations plan integration for pending mergers without creating unnecessary antitrust risk, and represents firms and individuals in connection with criminal grand-jury antitrust investigations. 

“Chris brings to the Silicon Valley a unequaled combination of cutting-edge IP-antitrust expertise and DOJ Antitrust Division experience,” said Edward D. (Ward) Johnson, partner-in-charge of Mayer Brown’s Palo Alto office. “His knowledge of the enforcement agencies and his understanding of the real-world environment in which our clients function help our technology clients manage their antitrust risk while protecting their investments in innovation. His unique background also makes him an unusually effective advocate with the agencies and in court. Chris joins an already active Palo Alto antitrust trial and consultation practice, and his arrival further broadens and enhances our service offerings.”

“Chris Kelly has been one of the leading lawyers at the intersection of antitrust and intellectual property law for more than a decade,” said Intel General Counsel Doug Melamed, who has known Chris since they worked together at the US Department of Justice in the 1990s.  “His skills and experience are ideally suited for practice in Silicon Valley.”

Before entering private practice, Mr. Kelly served in several significant positions during more than 16 years at the DOJ Antitrust Division. He prosecuted criminal antitrust violations,  reviewed mergers, and helped develop the precedent-shattering treasury securities case against Salomon Brothers.  As a manager, he led important investigations of patent and copyright licensing and standard-setting.  From 1996 until 2001, he was the Division’s Senior Counsel for Intellectual Property, advising Justice Department officials on legal and policy issues ranging from patent pools and infringement settlements to database protection and the transition of the Internet Domain Name System from US government control. 

“With my focus on IP-antitrust issues, Silicon Valley is where I belong,” Mr. Kelly said.  “This move puts me where I and my Palo Alto colleagues can do the most to help our high-tech clients protect their investments in innovation while steering clear of antitrust issues. And it’s a great opportunity for us to build a comprehensive antitrust practice where both innovators and important antitrust litigation are flourishing.”

Mr. Kelly’s recent important matters include:

  • Co-authoring the US Supreme Court briefs in Illinois Tool Works Inc. v. Independent Ink, Inc., persuading the Court to abolish an obsolete antitrust rule that unjustifiably penalized patent owners. 
  • Advising and representing a global innovator pharmaceutical manufacturer on its settlement of patent infringement litigations brought against two generic manufacturers.
  • Advising and representing a major audio technology innovator in arbitration and federal and state court litigation relating to licensing of consumer-audio standard technology.
  • Defending a publisher of Spanish-language yellow pages directories against monopolization and unfair competition claims.
  • Advising and representing a major derivatives exchange in the Antitrust Division’s review of its acquisition by another major derivatives exchange.
  • Advising and representing a major wireless telecommunications equipment maker in connection with the Antitrust Division’s review of its acquisition by another international telecommunications equipment maker. 

He also is a frequent speaker and author on cutting-edge antitrust issues, including a recent series of columns in a leading legal publication. 

Mr. Kelly received a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a B.A. from Harvard College.

Click here to see Mr. Kelly’s professional profile.