John Thorne represents innovators and individuals in commercial litigation including antitrust, patent, and copyright cases before federal courts at all levels, the USITC, the USPTO, the Copyright Royalty Board, ICANN’s Independent Review Process, and the competition agencies. He specializes in law reform to promote innovation and competition.
Prior to joining Kellogg Hansen he was Verizon’s SVP and Deputy GC in charge of intellectual property, competition, and privacy. Global Counsel Awards named his IP group one of the top five in the world in 2008 and 2010, and the world’s best in 2011. Global Counsel Awards named him the world’s best corporate competition lawyer in 2009.
After a two-day hearing with live testimony, Mr. Thorne won a decision overturning ICANN’s refusal to award to Amazon the top-level domain name “.amazon” and its equivalents in Chinese and Japanese characters. Amazon EU S.à.r.l. v. ICANN, Final Declaration (July 11, 2017).
With a team of his partners and associates, Mr. Thorne won a first‑ever CRB rate reduction in Webcasting IV. Broadcasters won a 32 percent reduction in the rates they paid. The client, “iHeartRadio, the second-largest webcaster in the country, got a big win.” Billboard, Inside the CRB’s New Streaming Rates (Dec. 17, 2015) (original emphasis).
Mr. Thorne serves as outside general counsel for the High Tech Inventors Alliance. He represented tech company innovators in over a dozen patent amicus briefs including SCA Hygiene Prods. v. First Quality Baby Prods., LLC, No. 15-927 (U.S. 2016) and 807 F.3d 1311 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (en banc) (representing companies have a collective market cap of $5.5 trillion); Cuozzo Speed Techs., LLC v. Lee, No. 15-446 (U.S. 2016) (representing companies have a collective market cap of $7.5 trillion); Halo Elecs., Inc. v. Pulse Elecs., Inc., No. 14-1513 (U.S. 2016); DBN Holdings, Inc. v. ITC, No. 16-63 (U.S. 2016); Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2120 (2014); Nokia Inc. v. ITC, No. 12-1352 (U.S. 2013); Mayo Collab. Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., Inc., 132 S. Ct. 1289 (2012); Microsoft Corp. v. i4i Ltd. P’ship, 131 S. Ct. 2238 (2011); Unwired Planet, LLC v. Google Inc., No. 2015-1812 (Fed. Cir. 2017); In re Aqua Prods., No. 2015-1177 (Fed. Cir. 2016); ClearCorrect Operating, LLC v. ITC, 810 F.3d 1283 (Fed. Cir. 2015); Suprema, Inc. v. ITC, 796 F.3d 1338 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (en banc); John Mezzalingua Assocs., Inc. v. ITC, 660 F.3d 1322 (Fed. Cir. 2011); Ariad Pharm., Inc. v. Eli Lilly & Co., 598 F.3d 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2010).
Mr. Thorne won three Supreme Court antitrust cases. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007); Verizon v. Trinko, LLP, 540 U.S. 398 (2004); and NYNEX v. Discon, 525 U.S. 128 (1998). He won two dozen consumer antitrust class actions and half a dozen competitor antitrust cases. E.g., Siti-Sites.com v. Verizon, No. 11-65 (2d Cir. July 5, 2011); The New Phone Co. v. Verizon, No. 06-5276-CV (2d Cir. Dec. 7, 2009); Covad v. Bell Atlantic Corp., 398 F.3d 666 (D.C. Cir. 2005); Cavalier Tel., LLC v. Verizon, 330 F.3d 176 (4th Cir. 2003); In re Wireless Tel. Servs. Antitrust Litig., 385 F. Supp.2d 403 (S.D.N.Y. 2005); Greco v. Verizon, 2005 WL 659200 (S.D.N.Y. 2005); Robinson v. Verizon, No. 01-98-KSF (E.D. Ky. 2003); Verizon v. Ntegrity Telecontent Servs., Inc., 219 F. Supp.2d 616 (D.N.J. 2002); Yellow Page Solutions v. Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages Co., 2001 WL 1468168 (S.D.N.Y. 2001). He won a fraud case against one of the antitrust plaintiffs. Verizon v. Covad Communications Co., 377 F.3d 1081 (9th Cir. 2004).
He obtained clearance for the mergers of Bell Atlantic, NYNEX, AirTouch, GTE, MCI, Alltel, and Terremark that created Verizon and Verizon Wireless.
He won a patent jury verdict and an injunction in Verizon v. Vonage Holdings Corp., 503 F.3d 1295 (Fed. Cir. 2007). The jury verdict was one of the largest in the nation that year.
He won elimination of restrictions against Bell companies providing information services. United States v. Western Elec. Co., 900 F.2d 283 (D.C. Cir. 1990).
He won a First Amendment case striking down a federal statute banning telephone company video programming. Chesapeake & Potomac Tel. Co. v. United States, 830 F. Supp. 909 (E.D. Va. 1993), aff’d, 42 F.3d 181 (4th Cir. 1994), dismissed as moot, 516 U.S. 415 (1996).
He brought offensive plaintiff antitrust cases in 1994 and 1997 against AT&T and Lucent. He brought an antitrust case in 1999 against AirTouch, eliminating a noncompete that had threatened to bar closing of Bell Atlantic-GTE merger. He brought an antitrust case in 2001 against Sumitomo for copper price fixing. He brought an antitrust and First Amendment case in 2006 against Montgomery County, Maryland for restricting Verizon’s entry into the video business.
He negotiated contract and FCC approval to buy $8.7 billion of wireless spectrum from NextWave Telecom Inc., then subsequently won elimination of the obligation to buy the spectrum and, still later, DOJ approval to re-buy the spectrum for $3.9 billion.
He won liability judgment and settlement against principal directory competitor for false advertising and sales practices. Verizon Directories Corp. v. Yellow Book USA, Inc., 338 F. Supp. 2d 422 (E.D.N.Y. 2004).
He blocked unlawful copyright subpoenas sought by the recording industry. Recording Industry Ass’n of America v. Verizon Internet Servs., Inc., 351 F.3d 1229 (D.C. Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 924 (2004).
In 1983 he represented pro bono Harold Washington, the first African-American mayor of Chicago. From 2007 to 2013, he served as the founding board chair of the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys, a tuition-free private school for boys living east of the Anacostia River, which several of his losing opponents have supported financially.
Publications and Testimony
With his partners, Mr. Thorne co-authored the principal telecom law treatises. He has published antitrust articles in the University of Chicago Law Review, the George Mason Law Review, and the Federalist Society’s Engage. He taught telecom law for ten years at Columbia Law School and for two years at Georgetown University Law Center.
Mr. Thorne organized and spoke at a series of annual patent law conferences hosted by Georgetown Law Center and Stanford Law School beginning in 2009. He has been a speaker at ABA antitrust and IP conferences, the AIPLA, the ITC Trial Lawyers, and RPX conferences. He testified before the Antitrust Modernization Commission, before the FTC in hearings leading to the FTC’s 2011 Evolving IP Marketplace report and submitted multi-company comments leading to the FTC’s 2016 Patent Assertion Entity report. He testified before the House Judiciary Committee in 2010 on the role of antitrust in regulated industries, in 2016 on ITC patent litigation, and in 2017 on the Supreme Court’s TC Heartland decision. Two of his speeches were published in “Vital Speeches of the Day.”
Northwestern University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1981
- Order of the Coif
- Articles Editor, Northwestern University Law Review, 1980-1981
Kenyon College, A.B., summa cum laude, with high honors in mathematics, 1978
- Phi Beta Kappa
Law Clerk, Chief Judge Walter J. Cummings, U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 1981-1982