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Telecom Symposium: Biography of John Thorne

John Thorne

John Thorne is Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Verizon and an adjunct faculty member at Columbia Law School and the Georgetown University Law Center. He is responsible for Verizon's legal work in the areas of antitrust, intellectual property, and privacy, among other areas.

Mr. Thorne has worked on competitive video entry by Verizon and its predecessor companies for over a decade:

  • In 1990, Mr. Thorne won removal of the AT&T breakup decree ban on Bell telephone companies providing information services. United States v. Western Elec. Co., 900 F.2d 283 (D.C. Cir. 1990).
  • In 1993, Mr. Thorne won a First Amendment challenge to the 1984 Cable Act prohibition against telephone companies providing video programming. Chesapeake & Potomac Tel. Co. v. United States, 830 F. Supp. 909 (E.D. Va. 1993), aff'd, 42 F.3d 181 (4th Cir. 1994), dismissed as moot, 516 U.S. 415 (1996).
  • In 2006, Mr. Thorne brought a First Amendment challenge against Montgomery County's refusing to grant a cable TV franchise to Verizon. That case was settled with Montgomery County granting a franchise to Verizon.

Mr. Thorne won three antitrust cases in the Supreme Court ­ all for failing to state an antitrust claim: Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, No. 05-1126 (U.S. May 21, 2007); Verizon v. Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko, LLP, 540 U.S. 398 (2004); NYNEX v. Discon, 525 U.S. 128 (1998). Other antitrust victories include Covad Communications Co. v. Bell Atlantic Corp., 398 F.3d 666, opinion on rehearing, 407 F.3d 1220 (D.C. Cir. 2005); Cavalier Telephone, LLC v. Verizon Virginia, Inc., 330 F.3d 176 (4th Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 124 S. Ct. 1144 (2004); In re Wireless Telephone Services Antitrust Litigation, 385 F. Supp.2d 403 (S.D.N.Y. 2005); Greco v. Verizon Comm. Inc., 2005 WL 659200 (S.D.N.Y. 2005); Robinson v. Verizon Comm. Inc., No. 01-98-KSF (E.D. Ky. 2003); Verizon New Jersey, Inc. v. Ntegrity Telecontent Services, Inc., 219 F. Supp.2d 616 (D.N.J. 2002); Yellow Page Solutions v. Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages Co., 2001 WL 1468168 (S.D.N.Y. 2001).

Significant other matters include:

  • Winning a jury verdict of patent infringement against Vonage, Verizon Services Corp. v. Vonage Holdings Corp., No. 1:06cv682 (CMH/BRP) (E.D. Va. Mar. 8, 2007), affirmed in part, No. 2007-1240, slip op. (Fed. Cir. Sept. 26, 2007);
  • Winning a seminal case protecting privacy of Verizon subscribers against computer-generated subpoenas, Recording Industry Association of America v. Verizon Internet Services, Inc., 351 F.3d 1229 (D.C. Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 125 S. Ct. 309 (2004) (Mr. Thorne was counsel of record);
  • Winning approvals of the mergers that formed Verizon and Verizon Wireless;
  • Winning a judgment against a directory competitor for false advertising and deceptive sales practices, Verizon Directories Corp. v. Yellow Book USA, Inc., 338 F. Supp.2d 422 (E.D.N.Y. 2004).

Mr. Thorne is coauthor of the principal academic treatises on telecommunications law, Federal Telecommunications Law (Aspen 2d ed. 1999 & Supps. 2004-2008), Federal Broadband Law (Little Brown & Co. 1995), and Federal Telecommunications Law (Little Brown & Co. 1992). Recent antitrust articles include Twombly: Naked (Alleged) Conspiracy Doesn't Strip Unilateral Freedom of Action, 7 Engage 46 (Oct. 2006); ACategorical Rule Limiting Section 2 of the Sherman Act: Verizon v. Trinko, 72 U. Chi. L. Rev. 289 (2005); Discounted Bundling by Dominant Firms, 13 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 339 (2005). His remarks to the New York Bar Association on the 20th anniversary of the AT&T breakup were reprinted in Vital Speeches of the Day, May 15, 2004. His keynote address to the Madrid meeting of the International Bar Association, "Five Freedoms," was reprinted in Vital Speeches of the Day, June 1, 2005.

Mr. Thorne was a summa cum laude mathematics major at Kenyon College, Order of the Coif and law review articles editor at Northwestern University Law School, and clerked for Chief Judge Walter Cummings of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Updated June 9, 2023