Christopher J. Kelly’s antitrust litigation practice focuses on the application of antitrust law to the acquisition and use of intellectual property rights. He counsels and represents clients regarding antitrust implications of patent pools, licensing, standard-setting and patent infringement litigation and settlement. Chris co-authored the Supreme Court briefs that led to an important antitrust victory for intellectual property owners, one of a number of accomplishments that have led The Best Lawyers in America to honor him as San Jose 2019 Lawyer of the Year for antitrust law, and Benchmark Litigation to name him a Benchmark California Star for 2019. He also advises and represents insurers in connection with mergers and acquisitions and provider-related litigation. His M&A work also involves helping major corporations plan integration for pending mergers without creating unnecessary antitrust risk.

Prior to entering private practice, Chris served in several significant positions over 16 years at the United States Department of Justice, Antitrust Division. From 1996 until 2001, he was the Division’s Senior Counsel for Intellectual Property, advising Justice Department officials on a range of legal and policy issues such as patent pools, infringement settlements, the future of the Internet Domain Name System, and database protection.  He also was Special Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, and following law school served a judicial clerkship with Judge John A. Terry of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.  Chris practiced at another national law firm before joining Mayer Brown in 2003. He is currently a regular contributor to Antitrust Quarterly. He is a conversational speaker of German and Italian.

Spoken Languages

  • English
  • Italian
  • German


  • Co-authored the US Supreme Court briefs in Illinois Tool Works Inc. v. Independent Ink, Inc., persuading the Court to abolish an obsolete rule in patent tying cases that unjustifiably penalized patent owners. 
  • Defended a global chemical manufacturer against antitrust and business-tort claims brought by its former foreign distributor.
  • Advised and represented a global innovator pharmaceutical manufacturer on antitrust issues in connection with its settlement of patent infringement litigations brought against two generic manufacturers.
  • Advised an international provider of food and agricultural products and a global major appliance manufacturer on pre-merger integration planning in connection with mergers with major competitors.
  • Advised and represented a global appliance manufacturer in connection with the sales of various businesses and subsidiaries.
  • Advised and represented a major futures exchange in connection with its merger with another major futures exchange.
  • Advised and represented a major manufacturer of wireless telecommunications equipment in connection with its acquisition by another international telecommunications equipment maker.
  • Advised and represented a major innovator in audio technology in arbitration and federal and state court litigation relating to licensing in connection with consumer audio standards.
  • Defended a publisher of Spanish-language yellow pages  directories against monopolization and unfair competition claims.


Columbia Law School, JD

Harvard College, AB, magna cum laude


  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois


  • US Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • US District Court for the District of Columbia
  • US District Court for the Northern District of California


  • American Bar Association, Antitrust Section, Intellectual Property Committee
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association