Epic v Apple wins top prize at GCR Awards

The showdown between Epic Games and Apple scored Matter of the Year at GCR’s annual awards ceremony last night, which also saw the European Commission take home the gongs for Agency of the Year and Enforcement Action of the Year.

The ceremony took place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC, honouring the world’s leading antitrust lawyers, economists and enforcers as well as the biggest cases from 2021.

Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, Cravath Swaine & Moore, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, Compass Lexecon, Cornerstone Research and Analysis Group won the award for Matter of the Year, thanks to their work on the US-based Epic Games v Apple litigation. The latter five also won Litigation of the Year in the non-cartel defence category for defending Apple against Epic’s monopolisation claims.

Elsewhere, Deborah Garza was honoured with GCR’s Lifetime Achievement award, following an introductory speech by Jonathan Jacobson at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom’s Ingrid Vandenborre was named Lawyer of the Year, while Jacobson was awarded Litigator of the Year for his work on several outstanding matters, including his defence of Google in the Google Digital Advertising antitrust litigation and his successful representation of two Chinese vitamin exporters before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton partner Séverine Schrameck was named Lawyer of the Year in the under-40 category, while Slaughter and May’s Claire Jeffs won Dealmaker of the Year for steering Facebook’s parent company Meta in its proposed acquisition of Kustomer in Europe, and for her work advising Suez on its takeover by Veolia.

The latter won merger control matter of the year for the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Allens, Sunland Law, Trilegal, LCS & Partners, Bae Kim & Lee, UGCC and Hourani & Partners assisted Cleary Gottlieb on local merger proceedings for Veolia. French firms Darrois Valley Maillot Brochier and Bredin Prat acted for Suez, pulling in Baker McKenzie and Khaitan & Co for Australian and Indian merger control advice. 

Discovery’s $85 billion purchase of WarnerMedia from AT&T came out on top for merger control matter of the year for the Americas. Discovery was advised by Covington & Burling, Barbosa Müssnich Aragão and Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría, while Arnold & Porter, Miguel Silva e Yamashita Advogados, Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos and Compass Lexecon counselled TimeWarner.

BonelliErede, Latham & Watkins, Linklaters, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, RBB Economics, White & Case and NautaDutilh scored the award for merger control matter of the year for Europe for their work securing antitrust approval for EssilorLuxottica’s purchase of GrandVision from HAL.

Hogan Lovells, Linklaters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Gleiss Lutz won Behavioural Matter of the Year for Europe for settling the European Commission’s car emissions investigation on behalf of car manufacturers, which was the first probe of its kind.

The EU’s antitrust enforcer had a strong night. Not only did it win Agency of the Year, but it also won Enforcement Action of the Year for the EU General Court’s Google Shopping decision.

Freshfields received its second award of the night alongside Wilson Sonsini, Axinn Veltrop & Harkrider, Ropes & Gray and Williams & Connolly for their work defending Google against investigations from the Department of Justice and state enforcers, which won Behavioural Matter of the Year for the Americas.

A host of firms involved in the pioneering NCAA Grant-In-Aid Cap antitrust litigation won the award for litigation of the year – cartel prosecution, including Winston & Strawn, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, Pearson Simon & Warshaw and Pritzker Levine.

McMillan, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Borden Ladner Gervais and Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg won Litigation of the Year - Cartel Defence for successfully convincing two Canadian courts to reject both class actions filed against their technology company clients alleging a price-fixing conspiracy in the DRAM market.

Behavioural Matter of the Year for the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa region went to Khaitan & Co, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, Trilegal and Chandhiok & Mahajan for their work on the CCI’s high-profile beer cartel probe, which saw a court stay the enforcer's €106.8 million penalty.

Creel García-Cuéllar Aiza y Enríquez, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and Kim & Chang were respectively awarded regional firm of the year for the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

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