December 19, 2011

Robert Davis, Longtime Antitrust Litigator and Former Advisor to FTC Chair Jon Leibowitz, Joins Venable

4 min

Helped lead FTC investigations of major mergers & acquisitions, including biggest tech deals of last decade

Washington, DC, (December 19, 2011) – Adding a prominent new member to its antitrust group, Venable LLP announced that Robert Davis, Attorney-Advisor to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz and a longtime antitrust litigator at the Commission, has joined the firm as an Of Counsel in the Regulatory Practice.

Mr. Davis spent more than 10 years at the FTC, handling a wide range of major merger and acquisition matters, including the Commission’s review of the highest-profile technology deals and competition conduct issues over the last decade. Mr. Davis became an Attorney-Advisor to Mr. Leibowitz in 2005, and served as a key advisor following Mr. Leibowitz’s appointment as FTC’s Chair in 2009, advising him on antitrust investigations, enforcement actions, policy initiatives and legislative actions. From 2001-2005, he was a staff attorney in the FTC’s Bureau of Competition with a particular focus on computer and internet technology, standard-setting and state regulation. Mr. Davis litigated some of the Commission’s largest cases, including its lawsuit against memory-chip maker Rambus a decade ago for a broad pattern of anticompetitive practices.

“The FTC is one of the principal antitrust law enforcement  agencies in the U.S. – its enforcement powers cover virtually all areas of American business, particularly companies seeking approval for mergers and acquisitions,” said Venable antitrust partner Lisa Jose Fales, who regularly handles investigations brought by the FTC and the DOJ.“For the past 10 years, Rob Davis has been an important player within the FTC, working at the highest level of the agency through several different leadership regimes. His working knowledge of competition issues affecting the country’s biggest industry sectors is unparalleled and deeply enhances our antitrust practice.”

As Attorney-Advisor to the FTC Chair, Mr. Davis evaluated recommendations on mergers and investigations from the Commission’s senior staff, including attorneys at the Bureau of Economics and Bureau of Competition. He also worked closely with non-federal entities, including state Attorneys General offices and the European Commission’s powerful competition agency. His oversight extended across numerous industries, including the Internet and digital technology, industrial components and materials, building supplies, retail, energy, software, cable television, hospitals and medical devices. He was also responsible for drafting speeches, congressional testimony and public statements by Mr. Leibowitz.

The actions Mr. Davis worked on include Google’s closely-vetted acquisitions of online advertising firms Doubleclick and AdMob, the investigation and subsequent settlement with Intel for monopolization in critical semiconductor markets, and revisions to the Horizontal Merger Guideline.

Mr. Davis also supervised the investigation in a doctor price-fixing case, and ran an investigation of the Virginia Board of Funeral Directors.

Mr. Davis participated in numerous key policy reviews and initiatives during his tenure at the FTC, including: 

  • FTC Report on Evolving IP Marketplace – Aligning Patent Notice with Competition (2011)
  • Update on FTC/DOJ Horizontal Merger Guidelines (2010)
  • FTC Workshop: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age (2010)
  • Petroleum industry market manipulation rule-making (2008)
  • Workshop on unfair methods of competition
  • Report on broadband connectivity and competition policy (2007)

At Venable, Mr. Davis will be joining several other former senior FTC staffers, including Thomas Cohn, the former Director of the Commission’s Northeast region; and Gary Hailey, who served as counsel to then-Commissioner Mary Azcuenaga and was also a program advisor in the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Venable’s antitrust bench is itself noteworthy and includes William Coston, who was a member of the appellate section of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and who has argued antitrust cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ms. Fales, who represents large healthcare, consumer products and pharmaceutical clients, has consistently been recognized among the nation’s leading healthcare antitrust lawyers.

“Venable has a highly respected antitrust group, supported by one of the strongest regulatory practices in the country, especially in advertising, consumer protection, financial services and other areas that often touch the FTC,” Mr. Davis said. 

“Federal and state governments – and even foreign regimes – continue to sharpen their focus on business practices perceived to be anticompetitive and anti-consumer,” he continued. “Mergers and acquisitions receive the lion’s share of attention – particularly the mega-deals that grab headlines – but the Commission is equally focused on policing corporate behavior, from pricing and market dominance to sales and marketing tactics. I’m looking forward to applying my years of antitrust policy and litigation experience to helping clients of Venable navigate the regulatory and enforcement side of the competition landscape.”

Mr. Davis received his J.D. from New York University School of Law (1989), his M.A. in Economics from the University of Washington (1998) and his B.S. from the State University of New York at Albany (1986).

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