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Morrison & Foerster LLP



  • Partner, Morrison Foerster
    Los Angeles, California

Experience & Areas of Interest:

Sean Gates is a litigator with extensive experience in antitrust, patent infringement, trade secret, and consumer protection matters. He has tried and litigated numerous antitrust and intellectual property cases. In addition, he has represented companies in a number of antitrust and consumer protection investigations brought by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. Mr. Gates is well-known for his expertise in cases involving the intersection of antitrust and intellectual property. In this area, he has tried precedent-setting cases involving intellectual property and standard-setting organizations, litigated antitrust counterclaims 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.

Prior to joining Morrison & Foerster in 2008, Mr. Gates served at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as a Deputy Assistant Director for the Anticompetitive Practices Division, leading and supervising investigations and enforcement actions challenging anticompetitive conduct in a variety of industries, including the consumer electronics and computer industries. During his tenure with the FTC, Mr. Gates oversaw or prosecuted investigations involving patent pools, loyalty discounts, production joint ventures, anti-competitive litigation, and state regulatory boards. In addition, he tried high-profile antitrust cases involving standard-setting and joint venture issues.

Mr. Gates serves as a non-governmental advisor for the United States in the International Competition Network, in which competition authorities from over 100 countries work to address antitrust enforcement and policy issues. In addition, he has served in a number of capacities in the antitrust bar. He currently serves as Vice Chair of the Unilateral Conduct Committee of the American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law. He has served as the Chair of the Editorial Board of the ABA Antitrust Law Developments Annual Review 2008. He also served on the Editorial Board for the ABA Antitrust Law Developments Annual Review 2007. In addition, he is a former Vice Chair of the Section's Intellectual Property Committee and its Books & Treatises Committee.

Prior to his career as an attorney, Mr. Gates was Project Engineer for Exxon U.S.A., where he developed engineering solutions for issues related to petroleum production facilities. He was also Development Engineer for Allied-Signal Aerospace, where he helped to design equipment used in aircraft and missile systems. Mr. Gates was elected to the Order of the Coif at the University of California.


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

Defining “Reasonable” in RAND: A Bit of Common Sense
Standard-Essential Patents and Antitrust: Of Fighting Ships and Frankenstein Monsters
The DOJ Section 2 Report: It All Depends on Your Priors