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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. Chambers USA describes him as a “talented litigator” with an “excellent attention to detail,” “who efficiently manages discovery with an eye toward summary judgment and trial." He has also been recognized by Global Competition Review, Legal 500, and other publications. 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 has served in a number of leadership positions in the ABA Section of Antitrust Law. He is currently the co-chair of the Intellectual Property Committee, and has served as editor-in-chief or author for several publications on antitrust issues. He has also served as a non-governmental advisor to the International Competition Network.

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

Joint Boycott Antitrust Litigation for Fortune 50 Company (C.D. Cal.)
Obtained summary judgment for Fortune 50 transportation company against claims alleging a joint boycott against third-party consultants.
American Reprographics Co. v. Crisp Enterprises (Cal. Superior Ct.)
Co-lead trial counsel for reprographics company in trade secrets jury trial. Settled on appeal.
Nikon Metrology v. Faro (D. Mass.)
Lead antitrust counsel for manufacturer of metrology equipment. Obtained summary judgment against antitrust counterclaims based on enforcement patents allegedly obtained through fraud on the patent office.
Reed v. State (Cal. Superior Ct.)
Co-lead counsel in constitutional challenge to teacher layoffs at certain Los Angeles schools. Obtained preliminary injunction and approval of contested consent decree preventing further layoffs.
Digital TV Antitrust Litigation (C.D. Cal.)
Lead antitrust counsel for digital television manufacturer. Obtained dismissal of monopolization claims.
Sporting Supplies International v. Tulammo USA (C.D. Cal.)
Counsel for ammunition distributor and suppliers in case involving trade secrets, unfair competition, and state law predatory-pricing claims. Settled after hearing on summary judgment.
Herbalife v. Ford (C.D. Cal.)
Obtained summary judgment against unfair competition claims brought by former distributors.
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.
Via Licensing
Served as antitrust counsel for patent pool efforts involving LTE technology.