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Sean P. Gates

Gates, Sean P.


Los Angeles, (213) 892-5291


University of California, Berkeley (B.S., 1989)
University of California, Hastings College of the Law (J.D., 1996)

Bar Admissions



Hon. Pamela A. Rymer, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (1998-1999)
Hon. J. Clifford Wallace, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (1998-1999)

Sean Gates is a litigator with extensive experience in antitrust, unfair competition, patent, and trade secret matters. He has served as lead or co-lead trial counsel in both bench and jury trials. He also represents companies before the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. Mr. Gates has been recognized as a leading lawyer by Chambers USA, Legal 500, Super Lawyers, and Benchmark Litigation. In 2011, he was named an “Attorney of the Year” by California Lawyer.

Prior to joining Morrison & Foerster in 2008, Mr. Gates served as a Deputy Assistant Director at the FTC, leading enforcement actions challenging anticompetitive conduct. Mr. Gates supervised investigations involving patent pools, loyalty discounts, production joint ventures, anticompetitive litigation, and state regulatory boards. He also tried high-profile enforcement actions involving standard-setting and joint venture issues. Mr. Gates received the Distinguished Service Award for his efforts at the FTC.

Mr. Gates has particular expertise in matters involving the intersection of antitrust and intellectual property. He has tried precedent-setting cases involving intellectual property and standard-setting organizations, litigated antitrust claims in patent infringement cases, prosecuted and defended government investigations of intellectual property licensing arrangements, and counseled clients on the structure of patent licenses and patent pools.

Mr. Gates serves as a non-governmental advisor to the International Competition Network, in which competition authorities from more than 100 countries address antitrust enforcement and policy issues. He has served in a number of leadership positions in the ABA Section of Antitrust Law, is currently the chair of the Intellectual Property Committee, and has served as editor-in-chief or author for several publications on antitrust issues.

Prior to his career as an attorney, Mr. Gates was a mechanical engineer in the petroleum and aerospace industries.

Realcomp II Ltd., FTC Dkt. No. 9320
Lead trial counsel for the FTC in challenge to rules set by a real estate broker joint venture. Prevailed before the Commission. Affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Union Oil Company of California, FTC Dkt. No. 9305
Trial counsel for the FTC in this precedent-setting monopolization case involving patents and standard-setting issues. After a 43-day trial and post-trial briefing, the FTC obtained complete relief through a consent decree.
Rambus Inc., FTC Dkt. No. 9302
Trial counsel for the respondent in this monopolization case involving patents in the context of a private standard-setting organization. After a 54-day trial, the Administrative Law Judge ruled in favor of the respondent, dismissing all of the Commission’'s claims.
American Reprographics Co. v. Crisp Enterprises (Cal. Superior Ct.)
Co-lead trial counsel in trade secrets jury trial.
Nikon Metrology v. Faro (D. Mass.)
Obtained summary judgment against antitrust counterclaims based on enforcement patents allegedly obtained through fraud on the patent office.
Reed v. State (Cal. Superior Ct.)
Obtained preliminary injunction and approval of contested consent decree preventing further teacher layoffs at certain Los Angeles schools to protect student constitutional rights.
Herbalife v. Ford (C.D. Cal.)
Obtained summary judgment against unfair competition claims brought by former distributors.
Compact Disc Minimum Advertised Price Antitrust Litigation (D. Me.)
Defended a major music company in this multi-district class action, which involved more than 90 private actions and suits by 42 state attorneys general. After substantial litigation, the matter settled on favorable terms.
Compact Disc Antitrust Litigation (C.D. Cal.)
Represented a major music company in this multi-district price-fixing litigation. After substantial litigation, the matter settled on favorable terms.
Via Licensing
Serve as antitrust counsel for patent pool efforts involving LTE technology.