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William Markham

About William Markham

William Markham is a trial and appellate attorney whose firm is located in San Diego. He obtained his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1987 and has litigated cases in California for the past thirty-six years. He tries cases in court, conducts appeals, and provides counseling on antitrust issues. He principally litigates antitrust claims, advises clients about antitrust issues, conducts complex business litigation, and litigates certain kinds of real property claims. Below you can read more about Mr. Markham’s law practice, recent engagements, past successes, and professional biography.

William A. Markham
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Antitrust Litigation and Counseling

A trial lawyer with special proficiency in antitrust law, Mr. Markham has developed a thorough understanding of the antitrust laws of the United States and California. He now devotes much of his practice to litigating antitrust claims, bringing antitrust appeals, and providing antitrust counseling in strategic matters for substantial companies. He has also written well-received articles on antitrust law and maintains an active, popular blog that discusses antitrust issues, trade issues, and other topical themes.

Lead Attorney in Major Antitrust Litigation

Since 2005, Mr. Markham has acted as the lead trial and appellate attorney in several major antitrust cases. Most of these cases lasted several years and consumed much of his professional time. Ever since, he has accepted only a few cases at a time, so that he can always devote sufficient, undistracted attention to each of his cases. This list presents Mr. Markham’s principal antitrust litigations since 2005. This page describes our antitrust practice.

Antitrust Counseling to Global Firms and Others

Mr. Markham provides counseling on antitrust matters, patent misuse, patent licensing, non-compete covenants, non-solicitation covenants, and all other kinds of contractual trade restraints (covenants that limit or proscribe future commercial activity).

Among other engagements, he has served as the United States antitrust adviser to the world’s largest manufacturer of LED products in various strategic matters for the company. He has also provided antitrust counseling to a global automobile manufacturer concerning its multinational acquisitions and divestitures.

He previously provided strategic antitrust counseling and guidance to the world’s leading manufacturer of pulse oximetry equipment in various matters and advised its patent attorneys about antitrust matters during a series of bet-the-company patent and antitrust litigations. One of these cases was against a major Chinese manufacturer and settled on the eve of trial. The other controversy was litigated in a series of cases against a global European conglomerate; all of these cases were resolved by a global settlement agreement.

More generally, Mr. Markham has advised many companies over the years in significant antitrust matters of various kinds that have arisen in various industries. His clients have included global firms, major competitors, fledgling competitors, suppliers, firms poised to excel in their markets, disruptive innovators, and business customers.

Trademark Litigation, False Advertising Claims, and Other Complex Business Litigation

Mr. Markham has served as the lead attorney for large clients in litigations for trademark infringement, product-counterfeiting, and false advertising arising under the federal Lanham Act and California’s statutory and common law on unfair competition.

In one such case, he was the lead attorney for an alleged ringleader defendant in the sprawling “5-Hour energy” counterfeiting litigations (Innovation Ventures LLC v. Pittsburgh Wholesale Grocers, Inc., N.D. Cal., 2012; Case No. 12-CV-5523-WHA).

He also served several times as the lead attorney in cases for commercial fraud and securities fraud and is proficient in the federal and state laws that govern these kinds of disputes: in fraud cases, the outcome typically depends on uncovering and clearly explaining complicated, initially confusing facts.

Currently, he is the lead appellate attorney in a long-running litigation over a property development in which the jury rendered verdicts for his client on all claims, but the trial court relieved one defendant from these verdicts. The case was tried by a colleague (the late Daral Mazzarella). Mr. Markham is now handling all aspects of the appellate litigation, as well as all post-trial proceedings in Orange County Superior Court. (Wardak v. WLOW Partners LLC, Cal. Sup. Ct., Orange Cty. and 4th Appellate District, 3rd Div., App. Case No. G061606.)

Trial Work and Appeals

Early in his career, Mr. Markham tried many smaller civil matters and thereby gained significant trial experience, and since then he has tried several larger matters, winning both jury verdicts and bench verdicts after fully contested trials in difficult, intractable controversies.

His most recent trial was a three-day bench trial in United States Bankruptcy Court (S.D. Cal., 2014), in which his client prevailed and established that the full amount of her state-court judgment against the debtor was nondischargeable in bankruptcy. (After obtaining this judgment, the parties reached a final settlement of all outstanding disputes between them.) You can read more about Mr. Markham’s trials here.

Mr. Markham has also litigated various appeals in federal and California courts, obtaining affirmances of successful outcomes as well as three appellate reversals of judgments rendered against his clients — one from the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and two from the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District of California.

Mr. Markham thus obtained appellate reversals in 2012, 2019, and 2024 of judgments rendered below by trial courts (two state-court judgments and one federal judgment in an antitrust case). His most recent appellate victory arose in a long-running, complex litigation that concerns a substantial property development in Orange County. Case Name: Wardak v. WLOW Partners LLC et al. (Cal. Court of Appeal, 4th App. Distr., Case No. G061606; Cal. Sup. Ct., Orange Cty., Case No. 30-2015-00811563-CU-OR-CXC.)

Mr. Markham’s trial and appellate experience makes a difference. He relishes trying cases and will readily proceed to trial if he cannot obtain a satisfactory settlement for his client. This circumstance in turn seems to help him to elicit favorable settlements from adversaries who grasp that he can try the case if it cannot be settled on reasonable terms.

Summary Judgment Against a Global Bank in Complex Lender Litigation

In one recent case (concluded in 2018), Mr. Markham prevailed on the merits before trial, defeating a lender’s claim to perfect and enforce an equitable lien on summary judgment. In that case, the world’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., sought to perfect and enforce its lien rights by seizing and selling a highly valuable property in San Diego in order to satisfy an old debt.

After a particularly arduous litigation, Mr. Markham’s clients prevailed on summary judgment by showing that the lender’s confusingly stated claims, once properly characterized, were time-barred as a matter of law.

Mr. Markham subsequently recovered his attorney’s fees and costs of suit from the lender, with an upward multiplier to reflect his contingent fee and the excellence of his work. The lender thereafter abandoned its appeal, ending this matter definitively. Case Name: JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Cho et al. (Cal. Sup. Ct., SD Cty., 37-2016-00045054-CU-OR-CTL).

Professional Qualifications and Experience

Mr. Markham received his law degree in 1987 from Harvard Law School after graduating with highest honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1984. While at law school, he served as an editor and later as an associate editor of the Harvard International Law Journal. After his second year of law school, he served as a summer clerk in Montréal, Québec in the competition group of one of Canada’s leading law firms, Ogilvy Renault (now part of Norton Rose Fulbright).

After law school, Mr. Markham passed the California Bar exam on his first attempt and was admitted by petition to the District of Columbia Bar Association. He received his initial training as an antitrust litigator in a leading global law firm (Coudert Bros, now dissolved), whose clients included sovereign governments, Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies, universities, and other prominent companies and individuals.

In 1990, he opened his own practice with the aim of trying his own cases in court while still a young attorney. He thereafter tried many smaller matters and over time evolved into a skillful, accomplished trial attorney who sometimes tried substantial business and real property disputes that could not be settled.

Since 2005, he has mostly litigated a particular subset of antitrust litigation called “competitor claims,” which are antitrust claims that one business or group of businesses bring against one or more competitors. He has been lead attorney in several such cases and has also provided antitrust counseling to many businesses, including several well-established global firms.

He also litigates complex commercial claims for breach of contract and various business torts, and he occasionally litigates claims for false advertising and trademark infringement.

Trying cases in court has been his essential work and the organizing principle of all of his litigations, even those that settle.

In recent years, he has also gained substantial experience conducting appeals of antitrust claims and other kinds of business claims.

Publications, Media Appearances, and Legal Instruction

Mr. Markham is the author of a series of well-received articles that address various legal issues. He also maintains a popular blog on antitrust issues, trade matters, and the practice of law. He has been interviewed and quoted by The New York Times, Bloomberg TV, Vice Media, ESPN, The Los Angeles Times, CNN, NBC-San Diego, Univision, and other media. The New York Times has characterized him as an “expert” in foreclosure law.

He taught a class in legal advocacy and legal writing at Hastings Law School in 1990 and a class in constitutional law at Lincoln Law School in 1992. In more recent years, he has been a featured lecturer on antitrust law and foreclosure law in classes taught to California attorneys (MCLE classes).

Professional Honors and Recognition

Mr. Markham has received substantial recognition from his peers. Every year since 2013, he has been listed as a “Super Lawyer” for antitrust law in the San Diego region by SuperLawyers.com and Super Lawyers Magazine, which list only the leading attorneys in each practice area in each region of the country.

In the annual poll of San Diego attorneys conducted by The San Diego Daily Transcript, he was repeatedly nominated as a semi-finalist for “best business litigator” (2006, 2007, 2011 and 2012), “best real estate litigator” (2010), and “best intellectual property litigator” (2015). He was also recognized as one of San Diego’s “best real estate attorneys” in San Diego Metro Magazine (2011 and 2012).

In 2013, he served on the LRIS Committee of the San Diego County Bar Association, which sets attorney referral standards and provides the general public with referrals to qualified attorneys who practice law in San Diego County. While serving on the LRIS Committee, he helped to establish new LRIS standards for several lawyer-referral panels. He also served as a judge in the Moot Court Honors Competition of San Diego University Law School.

Foreign Languages and Further Information

Mr. Markham is genuinely fluent in French, which he speaks like a native French speaker. He can also converse with complete fluency in Spanish.

He is admitted to practice law in California, Washington, D.C., and various federal courts. When the conditions are right and his schedule permits, he still enjoys surfing and occasional windsurfing at age 61. He lives with his family by the sea and long ago forgot what it might be like to live anywhere else. You can contact him directly at wm@markhamlawfirm.com.

MR. MARKHAM’S ARTICLES ON ANTITRUST LAW

AN OVERVIEW OF ANTITRUST LAW (By William Markham, © 2000)

“Antitrust law is the law of competition and is perhaps the least understood law of all. This article provides an overview and explanation of the essential principles of antitrust law.”
Read More…

ANTITRUST EXEMPTIONS AND IMMUNITIES (By William Markham, © 2022)

“Over the years, Congress and the federal courts have established various immunities from federal antitrust law, removing from its reach specified commercial activities and even entire lines of commerce.”
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HOW THE CONSUMER-WELFARE STANDARD TRANSFORMED CLASSICAL ANTITRUST LAW (William Markham, © 2021)

“Since the late 1970s, antitrust law in the United States has been transformed out of recognition and rendered largely toothless by consumer-welfare jurisprudence….,”
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ANTITRUST AND FREE MARKETS (BY William Markham, © 2022)

“Some critics of antitrust law treat it as mere governmental overreach and an unwelcome infringement upon the ordinary operations of our free markets. (….) That criticism betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the very term ‘free markets,’ which refers to markets that are free of any undue restraint, whether public or private.”
Read More …

UNLAWFUL PRICE DISCRIMINATION (By William Markham, © 2013)

“In this article I take up the obscure, problematic doctrine of illegal price discrimination, which was codified by the Robinson-Patman Act during the Great Depression, and which the modern, conservative Supreme Court has severely limited.”
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WHY ANTITRUST LAWS MATTER (By William Markham, © 2006)

“The antitrust laws are supposed to promote and protect competition, or, if you will, competitive processes in distinct ‘lines of commerce’ or ‘relevant markets.’ This alone is their proper purpose.

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MR. MARKHAM’S ARTICLES ON TRIAL PROCEDURE AND CONTRACT LAW

MAKING SENSE OF THE RULES OF EVIDENCE AND PRESENTING YOUR EVIDENCE AT TRIAL (By William Markham, 2011)

“I try in this article simply to set forth a list of simple rules to explain the key points of the law of evidence. I also offer several pointers on organizing evidence in order to present it competently at trial.”
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ANATOMY OF A LAWSUIT (By William Markham, © 2007)

“This article is written for non-lawyers, young litigators, and non-litigator attorneys who wish to understand how a lawsuit works in practice from start to finish.”
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AN OVERVIEW OF CONTRACT LAW (By William Markham, 2002)

“Contract law lies at the heart of our system of laws and serves as the foundation of our entire society. This is not an exaggeration. (….) Our society depends upon free exchange in the marketplace at every level.
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LAW OFFICES OF WILLIAM MARKHAM, P.C.
402 West Broadway, Suite 400
San Diego, CA 92101
Tel. (619) 221-4400
inquiries@markhamlawfirm.com

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