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Davis Polk Hires Former FTC Chairman Leibowitz as Partner

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLC hired Jonathan Leibowitz, the former chairman of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, as a partner in its Washington office.

Leibowitz, who served as an FTC commissioner from 2004 to 2009 and as chairman from 2009 to 2013, will join the firm’s antitrust team and provide counsel on privacy law, the firm said in a statement.

“With the addition of Jon, we strengthen our commitment to ensuring that our Washington office is a destination for solving complex antitrust and merger clearance issues,” Thomas J. Reid, the New York-based firms’s managing partner, said in the statement yesterday.

Leibowitz, on his 55th birthday, won a U.S. Supreme Court victory in his long-standing crusade against reverse settlement payments for generic drugs. The court ruled yesterday that consumers and regulators can sue brand-name pharmaceutical companies when they’ve paid generic drug makers to keep cheaper versions off the market.

The court stopped short of adopting the FTC’s proposal that such agreements should be presumed anticompetitive, saying the accords should be evaluated under a longstanding antitrust test known as the “rule of reason.”

At the FTC, Leibowitz oversaw a 20-month antitrust investigation of Google Inc. that left the search engine operator free to extend its dominance after the commission voted to end its review without taking enforcement action and allowing Google to make voluntary commitments.

Google Deal

Former FTC Commissioner Thomas Rosch, a Republican, said at the time that while he believed Google’s conduct in search didn’t warrant action, the agreement the agency accepted created a bad precedent and gave the impression that firms with deep pockets could receive special treatment at the agency.

“After promising an elephant more than a year ago, the commission instead has brought forth a couple of mice,” Rosch wrote at the time in a separate statement.

Leibowitz said June 13 in a text message he was going on vacation in the Galapagos Islands before starting his new position because he needed to “leave civilization for a while.”

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