John Thorne’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, including antitrust and intellectual property matters, as well as on representation before the antitrust enforcement agencies in merger and other matters.
From 2000 to 2012, Mr. Thorne was senior vice president and deputy general counsel at Verizon Communications Inc. where he headed Verizon’s competition and intellectual property practice groups. Global Counsel Awards named his IP group one of the top five in the world in 2008 and 2010, and named his IP group the best in the world in 2011. Global Counsel Awards named him the best corporate competition lawyer in the world in 2009. He has substantial experience in antitrust and other commercial litigation, merger clearance and agency investigations, patent and copyright law, privacy law, and economic regulation.
Mr. Thorne co-authored with his partners the principal telecom law treatises and has written numerous articles on antitrust. He taught telecom law for ten years at Columbia Law School and for two years at Georgetown University Law Center.
Mr. Thorne appears frequently in court and before various agencies, and has argued appeals in the District of Columbia, Second, Fifth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits.
Obtained clearance for the mergers of Bell Atlantic, NYNEX, AirTouch, GTE, MCI, Alltel, and Terremark that created Verizon and Verizon Wireless.
Won three categorical Supreme Court antitrust cases – Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007); Verizon v. Trinko, LLP, 540 U.S. 398 (2004); NYNEX v. Discon, 525 U.S. 128 (1998) – and several dozen other antitrust cases growing out of the 1996 Telecom Act, including consumer class actions and competitor antitrust cases. E.g., Siti-Sites.com v. Verizon Communications, No. 11-65 (2d Cir. July 5, 2011); The New Phone Co. v. Verizon New York, Inc., No. 06-5276-CV (2d Cir. Dec. 7, 2009); Covad v. Bell Atlantic Corp., 398 F.3d 666 (D.C. Cir. 2005); Cavalier Telephone, LLC v. Verizon Virginia, Inc., 330 F.3d 176 (4th Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 124 S. Ct. 1144 (2004); In re Wireless Telephone Services Antitrust Litigation, 385 F. Supp. 2d 403 (S.D.N.Y. 2005); Greco v. Verizon Comm. Inc., 2005 WL 659200 (S.D.N.Y. 2005); Robinson v. Verizon Comm. Inc., No. 01-98-KSF (E.D. Ky. 2003); Verizon New Jersey, Inc. v. Ntegrity Telecontent Services, 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).
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.
Won elimination of restrictions against Bell companies providing information services. United States v. Western Elec. Co., 900 F.2d 283 (D.C. Cir. 1990).
Won 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).
Brought plaintiff antitrust cases in 1994 and 1997 against AT&T and Lucent. Brought antitrust case in 1999 against AirTouch, eliminating noncompete that had threatened to bar closing of Bell Atlantic-GTE merger. Brought an antitrust case in 2001 against Sumitomo for copper price fixing. Brought an antitrust and First Amendment case in 2006 against Montgomery County, Maryland for restricting Verizon’s entry into the video business.
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.
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).
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 represented pro bono Harold Washington, the first African-American mayor of Chicago.
Federal Telecommunications Law (with M. Kellogg and P. Huber) (Aspen, 2d ed. 1999 and Supps. 2001-2011)
Federal Broadband Law (with M. Kellogg and P. Huber) (Little Brown & Co., 1995)
Federal Telecommunications Law (with M. Kellogg and P. Huber) (Little Brown & Co., 1992 and Supp. 1995)
Special Report: The Telecommunications Act of 1996 (with M. Kellogg and P. Huber) (Little Brown & Co., 1996)
The Geodesic Network II: 1993 Report on Competition in the Telephone Industry (with M. Kellogg and P. Huber) (Geodesic Publishing Co., 1992)
Twombly: Naked (Alleged) Conspiracy Does Not Strip Freedom of Unilateral Action, 7 Engage 46 (Oct. 2006)
A Categorical Rule Limiting Section 2 of the Sherman Act: Verizon v. Trinko, 72 U. Chi. L. Rev. 289 (2005)
Discounted Bundling by Dominant Firms, 13 George Mason L. Rev. 339 (2005)
Speech to the International Bar Ass’n, “Five Freedoms,” published in Vital Speeches of the Day (June 1, 2005)
Remarks on the 20th Anniversary of the AT&T Breakup, New York City Bar Ass’n, published in Vital Speeches of the Day (May 15, 2004)
The 1996 Telecom Act: What Went Wrong and Protecting the Broadband Buildout (2001)
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