John Thorne is a partner at Kellogg Hansen Todd Figel & Frederick PLLC. He represents technology companies, media firms, newspaper publishers, financial services providers, app developers, and consumer products companies in antitrust, intellectual property, and other commercial litigation.
Prior to joining Kellogg Hansen, he was Verizon’s Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel 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.
He graduated summa cum laude with high honors in mathematics from Kenyon College in 1978. He received a J.D. cum laude from Northwestern Law School in 1981, then clerked for Chief Judge Walter Cummings of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Mr. Thorne and his wife Sara live in Washington, DC and have four children.
Mr. Thorne won cases to allow regulated firms to freely switch suppliers (NYNEX v. Discon, 525 U.S. 128 (1998)); allow dominant firms to make investments without sharing (Verizon v. Trinko, LLP, 540 U.S. 398 (2004)); and require antitrust complaints to be plausible (Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)). He won modification of the Bell breakup decree to allow telephone companies to provide information services (United States v. Western Elec. Co., 900 F.2d 283 (D.C. Cir. 1990)) and won a First Amendment challenge to allow telephone companies to provide video programing (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 currently is working on cases to promote competition in advertising technology (Associated Newspapers Ltd. v. Google LLC, No. 1:21-cv-3446 (PKC) (SDNY Apr. 20, 2021)).
Mr. Thorne has tried and won cases in federal and state courts, the U.S. International Trade Commission, the Copyright Royalty Board, and international arbitration panels. He has argued and won appeals in multiple courts of appeals. He won a General Exclusion Order for Corning Optical Communications in the USITC’s first evidentiary trial during the pandemic (Certain High-Density Fiber Optic Equipment, Inv. No. 337-TA-1194 (2020)) and enforced the exclusion order in a subsequent enforcement trial in 2022; he won a major procurement challenge for Voya Financial (FASCore, LLC v. Linn, No. 151215/2019 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Oct. 4, 2019)); he won a decision overturning ICANN’s refusal to award Amazon the domain name “amazon” (Amazon EU S.à.r.l. v. ICANN, Final Declaration (July 11, 2017)); he was lead trial counsel for the defendant in Audio MPEG v. Dell Inc. (E.D. Va. 2017); he won one of the first patent injunctions following eBay (Verizon v. Vonage Holdings Corp., 503 F.3d 1295 (Fed. Cir. 2007)); and he won a first‑ever rate reduction at the Copyright Royalty Board (Web IV (2016)). His copyright 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).
He has cleared mergers including Bell Atlantic-NYNEX; Bell Atlantic-GTE; Verizon-MCI; Verizon-Alltel; Verizon-Terremark; and recent mergers involving media and technology companies.
In 1983, Mr. Thorne represented pro bono Harold Washington, the first African-American mayor of Chicago. He was the founding board chair of the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys, a tuition-free private school for boys living in Southeast Washington, DC. He was the first chair of the school’s development committee, and co-chair of its successful capital campaign. The school was funded in part by payments from the losing plaintiff in Trinko and the losing defendant in Verizon v. Vonage.
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. Two of his speeches on antitrust policy were reprinted in Vital Speeches of the Day.
Mr. Thorne testified in 2005 before the Antitrust Modernization Commission regarding antitrust in regulated industries; in 2007 before a joint hearing of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission regarding antitrust remedies; in 2010 before a joint hearing of the Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission regarding the revised horizontal merger guidelines; in 2010 before the House Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy regarding antitrust in regulated industries; in 2016 before the House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet regarding patent litigation at the International Trade Commission; in 2017 before the House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet regarding patent venue; in 2019 before Federal Trade Commission regarding limits of antitrust; and in 2021 before the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law on promoting economic freedom. At the end of 2022, Congress enacted his proposed amendment to the MDL venue statute to expedite State antitrust enforcement.
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