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John Cove

Of Counsel

John focuses on representing clients in antitrust matters, including price fixing, boycott, and monopolization cases, direct and indirect purchaser class actions, and unfair competition actions in federal and state courts across the nation. John’s antitrust work spans a wide variety of industries, including telecommunications, energy, internet, software, semiconductors and related high-technology industries, financial services, airlines, chemicals, entertainment and other consumer products.

John also represents clients in federal grand jury investigations of alleged cartel activity and other criminal offenses, in premerger reviews before federal and state antitrust authorities, and in investigations and proceedings by competition authorities outside the United States. In addition to his antitrust work, he maintains an active commercial litigation practice, and has defended corporations and individuals in class and non-class actions alleging securities fraud and related offenses in federal and state courts, and in investigations by the SEC and other regulators.

Before joining the firm, John was a partner for 15 years at Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP, where he also concentrated on antitrust. He is a former trial attorney with the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice, where he prosecuted criminal price fixing and bid rigging cases, conducted premerger reviews, litigated challenges to anticompetitive mergers, and served as a senior member of the trial team in United States v. Microsoft. He also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of California. In addition to his Government service with the Department of Justice, John spent two years as a clerk for the Hon. Edward D. Re, Chief Judge of the United States Court of International Trade.


Representative matters

Major financial institutions in putative class actions alleging antitrust violations and related offenses in different financial products and services, including interest rate swaps, variable rate demand obligations, government- sponsored-entity bonds, U.S. Treasury auctions, and the LIBOR and CDOR benchmarks.

Major technology company in a jury trial of a consumer class action alleging monopolization in the portable music player industry and seeking over $1 billion in total damages. Jury verdict for the defendant; judgment entered; no appeal.

Major financial services firm in a bench trial of a challenge by the US DOJ’s Antitrust Division to provisions of merchant contracts, as well as in related multidistrict litigation brought by individual merchants and putative classes.

Major consumer electronics company in multidistrict litigation alleging antitrust violations in the optical disk drive industry.

Boards, board committees, and independent directors in internal investigations of alleged malfeasance at different companies.

Nation’s leading casket company in a putative class action alleging antitrust violations in the funeral services industry. Defeated motion for class certification in the district court; affirmed by the Fifth Circuit.

Major food products company in putative class action in California state court alleging unfair competition law claims based on allegedly fraudulent assertion of patent and other intellectual property rights. Defeated class certification in the Superior Court; successfully argued appeal in the California Court of Appeal; case dismissed after class certification denied.

Credit card network in an antitrust action against competitors for exclusionary practices. Case settled for a total of approximately $4 billion.

Several firms and individuals in antitrust grand jury investigations in the United States and in inquiries/proceedings by competition law authorities elsewhere (e.g., European Union, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Mexico, Brazil).

Firms in antitrust and consumer protection investigations by the California and other states’ Attorneys General.

Major telecommunications companies in Antitrust Division and FCC regulatory review of mergers/acquisitions.

Airline company in defending against a private antitrust challenge to a merger with another carrier, allowing the merger to be consummated the day it was cleared by the DOJ. Healthcare technology company in obtaining dismissal with prejudice of actions alleging securities fraud and related violations in California state court.

Major US air carrier in obtaining the voluntary dismissal of putative class actions alleging price fixing in the sale of passenger tickets based on discharge in bankruptcy.

Technology company in settling a $39 million claim by the trustee for the bankrupt internet company for $150,000 after filing a pre-discovery motion for summary judgment.

Major telecommunications company in federal and state class and individual actions alleging securities fraud and related offenses.

First-mover file-sharing company in copyright litigation by recording industry and others.

Published Work

  • Cove, Jr., John F., Co-author and Editor, The California Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Treatise, Matthew Bender
  • Cove, Jr., John F., Co-author and Editor, ABA Antitrust Practice Handbook on the Merger Review Process, American Bar Association
  • Cove, Jr., John F., Co-author, “US Courts Annual Review,” Global Competition Review

Leadership Positions And Professional Affiliations

  • Former Editor-in-Chief of Competition, the journal of the Antitrust Section of the California State Bar
  • Former Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Antitrust Section of the California State Bar


  • Recognized as a Northern California “Super Lawyer” for antitrust



Attorney-at-Law, New York, 1986

Attorney-at-Law, California, 2001


United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, 2006

United States District Court for the Southern District of California, 2011

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 2019

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

United States District Court for the Northern District of California

United States District Court for the Central District of California

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York


B.A., English Literature, University of Maryland, 1978

J.D., St. John’s University, 1984

Executive Notes and Comments Editor, St. John’s Law Review

St. Thomas More Scholar

A&O Shearman was formed on May 1, 2024 by the combination of Shearman & Sterling LLP and Allen & Overy LLP and their respective affiliates (the legacy firms). Any matters referred to above may include matters undertaken by one or more of the legacy firms rather than A&O Shearman.