William Coston

Venable LLP

William D. Coston is experienced in competitor-on-competitor litigation, skillfully using a full arsenal of antitrust, consumer protection, and intellectual property disciplines in courts and agencies throughout the country.

His successes in high-stakes competitive challenges throughout his career are evidenced by numerous decisions in trial and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bill enjoyed a distinguished career as an attorney in the Appellate Section of the Antitrust Division, briefing and arguing many seminal cases (e.g., United States v. Brighton Building & Maintenance Co., 598 F.2d 1101 (7th Cir., 1979); United States v. Cadillac Overall Supply Co., 568 F.2d 1078 (5th Cir., 1978); United States v. Bechtel Corp., 648 F.2d 660 (9th Cir., 1981); United States v. United States Gypsum, 438 U.S. 422 (1978) (brief only); United States v. Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, 592 F.2d 919 (5th Cir., 179) (brief); United States v. United Foam Corp., 618 F.2d 577 (1980) (brief)).

Since entering private practice, Bill has served as lead counsel in many prominent litigations pitting competitors against each other, often involving the intersection of intellectual property and competition law.

His focus is always to use the power of advocacy to obtain his client’s business objective – whether allowing competitive products to remain in the market, securing an injunction against improper conduct, or invalidating or prosecuting asserted intellectual property.

Experience :

  • Attorney, Appellate Section, Antitrust Division, United States Department of Justice
  • Special Assistant to the United States Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia
  • Briefed, argued, and obtained a favorable Supreme Court decision in a “trade dress” case, setting an important precedent for product configurations (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Samara Bros., 529 U.S. 205 (2000))
  • Obtained a favorable precedent from the Federal Circuit on the patent “marking” statute (Nike Inc. v. Wal-Mart Stores, 138 F.3d 1437 (Fed Cir. 1988))
  • Represented the plaintiff in Compaq Computer Corporation v. Packard Bell Electronics, an unfair trade practices case involving a competitor’s sale of used computers represented as new. The client’s competitive rival changed its business model as a result of this litigation
  • Represented Compaq in government and private antitrust cases involving Microsoft and Intel (U.S. v. Microsoft and FTC v. Intel) (e.g., 309 F.3d 193 (4th Cir. 2002)). See, generally,
  • Represented Software AG in computer system network architecture patent infringement litigation in Delaware (Software AG, et al. v. BEA Systems Inc., Del. Dist. Court, Case No. 1:03-cv-00739)
  • Represented national food processors in separate patent litigations involving meat-slicing process and method patents
  • Served as counsel to AARP defending against a consumer class action seeking damages for alleged false advertising of healthcare insurance (Whiting v. AARP et al., 637 F.3d 355 (DC Cir. 2011)). Case dismissed against client AARP by U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia prior to any discovery and affirmed on appeal by the DC Circuit

Education :

  • J.D. cum laude Harvard Law School 1975
  • B.A. highest honors and high distinction University of Michigan 1972

Bar Admissions : District of Columbia

Court Admissions :

  • District of Columbia Court of Appeals
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. District Courts for Arkansas, Michigan, Maryland, District of Columbia

Professional Memberships :

  • Member, American Bar Association, Sections of Antitrust, Litigation, and Intellectual Property
  • Member, American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Member, Intellectual Property Owners Association

Community :

  • Filed numerous briefs as amicus curiae for public interest groups in Deferred Action for Children (DACA) litigation
  • Filed amicus briefs in capital case
  • Participated in ABA Project to Assess States’ Opportunities to Opt Out of Habeas Reform
  • Little League baseball coach
  • Michigan-In-Washington Semester in DC program mentor
  • Poll monitor in 2018 federal elections in Ohio


Rate : $$$

What types of cases Attorney William Coston & Venable LLP can handle?
Venable LLP can handle cases related to laws concerning Corporate, Litigation, Antitrust & Trade, Advertising, Intellectual Property. We manually verify each attorney’s practice areas before approving their profiles and reviews on our website.
Where is Venable LLP located?
Venable LLP is located at 600 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA. You can reach out to Venable LLP using their phone line 202.344.4813. You can also check their website venable.com or email them at [email protected].
How much would it cost to hire Venable LLP?
William Coston lawyer charges are specific to each case. However, they work with contingency fees and its ranges from $$ to $$$. They also provide free consultation [and no obligation quotes] if you are interested to hire.
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Venable LLP
600 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
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