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Competition Litigation

For its numbers, clients and caseload, rivals freely admit that Blake, Cassels & Graydon houses the top competition practice in Canada.

Global Competition Review's GCR 100

Blakes competition litigators play a key role in Canada’s largest and most experienced competition law practice. Blakes is frequently at the forefront of high-profile competition litigation matters, including contentious mergers, class actions, deceptive marketing, advertising, abuse of dominance, competitor collaborations, reviewable trade practices and other civil matters before the Canadian Competition Tribunal, the provincial or federal courts and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Our lawyers have litigated many of Canada’s most high-profile Competition Act (Act) cases. These include the first abuse of dominance case to reach the Supreme Court of Canada, the only Federal Court of Appeal decision to address patents under the Act, the only (civil) price maintenance case, the first case considering the Act’s competitor collaboration provisions, the only appellate level case on the application of the Act’s cartel provisions to agreements between purchasers of goods or services, the only Competition Tribunal case to address the Regulated Conduct Doctrine, and numerous cases developing standards for cartel prosecutions and class action certification and defences in the cartel context.

Blakes lawyers are extensively involved in the increasingly important area of antitrust class actions. We have represented defendants in leading antitrust class actions, including the Supreme Court of Canada’s seminal Pro-Sys decision and, more recently, the court’s decision in Godfrey. Blakes lawyers have had leading roles in almost every significant competition class action in Canada, including with respect to credit cards, computer operating systems and applications, ODDs, beer, bread, air cargo, auto parts, capacitors, car carrier services, chemicals, chocolate, CRTs, DRAM memory chips, hydrogen peroxide, LCDs, lithium ion batteries, polyurethane foam, rubber and vitamins, such as the vitamins case that became the first major class action of its kind. Our lawyers have also been involved in every major cartel investigation in Canada and have secured immunity and leniency in relation to some of Canada's most high-­profile cartel cases and follow-on private (class) actions.
Blakes is also at the forefront of competition merger litigation. There are six merger cases that form the primary body of merger jurisprudence in Canada. Blakes has represented the parties in all five of the cases in which the parties were successful (Southam, CP Ships, Hillsdown, Superior Propane and Labatt). Most recently, Blakes represented United Continental Airlines (regarding its alliance agreements with Air Canada) and Office Depot, Inc. (regarding its merger with Staples, Inc.) before the Competition Tribunal. In addition, Blakes lawyers have acted as litigation counsel in some of the most vigorously contested “consent order” cases where there was concerted opposition by intervenors such as Chapters/Indigo, Interac and Imperial Oil.
As a leading competition law firm, we have represented numerous clients in connection with confidential abuse of dominance investigations or inquiries conducted by the Competition Bureau, some of which became public upon proceeding to litigation, such as e-books, Vancouver Airport Authority, Air Canada/CanJet, Tele-Direct and Nutrasweet. We acted as lead counsel in the Federal Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada in Canada Pipe, the first of only two abuse of dominance cases to go to those courts, and the Supreme Court of Canada in the only other such abuse of dominance case, TREB. Blakes also acted for Visa Inc. in respect of a landmark Competition Tribunal case under the reviewable price maintenance provision of the Act. Blakes lawyers have also represented clients in refusal-to-deal cases that went to the Competition Tribunal, such as Fred Deeley and Wyeth.
We are at the forefront of deceptive marketing and advertising cases, including in litigated matters where we represented Bell Aliant in defence of a successful injunction relating to misleading advertising claims; The Yellow Pages Group, the complainant, in a landmark prosecution by the Commissioner against a company that was misrepresenting itself as Yellow Pages; and the Commissioner in his recent investigation of FlightHub/JustFly, resulting in the first temporary consent agreement under the Act.
Much of the Firm's work in the litigation area involves strategic advice to best position matters for success in the event of litigation. We also provide prudent advice concerning the structuring of business transactions and the conduct of business affairs to prevent problems before they lead to litigation.


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