Zaven Mardirossian practises in competition and intellectual property, and is the founder and head of the firm’s competition practice.
He draws on years of experience as a litigator in managing disputes, and has earned a reputation for successfully representing clients facing some of the toughest Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigations and prosecutions in the country.
A partner of Arnold Bloch Leibler for more than 20 years, his clients include national leaders in manufacturing, retailing, wholesale, online and construction. He advises on a wide range of competition and consumer law matters, including mergers and acquisitions, cartel and other anti-competitive conduct, misleading or deceptive conduct, and unfair and unconscionable business practices.
Described as a “master tactician” by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, Zaven works closely with clients to develop and maintain effective marketing initiatives, including advertising and promotional campaigns across all media platforms, increasingly with online media. His intellectual property experience includes defending local and international clients, and associated iconic brands, in protecting their property rights from third party infringement. He also supports clients to commercialise their intellectual property in global markets. Zaven is also recognised by Best Lawyers® International in the area of competition and intellectual property law.
He regularly presents to universities on competition and consumer law issues, and assists some of Australia’s largest companies to develop and hone their training and compliance programmes.
Zaven graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Laws with honours and a Bachelor of Arts. He has published chapters on national and international antitrust and competition policy and issues, including for Oxford University Press, Berkeley University and Thomson Reuters.
“Highly knowledgeable, understands his clients, provides really sound commercial advice and is a really strategic litigator.”
Zaven’s practice focuses on the following areas:
- competition and consumer law, including defending cartel proceedings, mergers and acquisitions, consumer protection, product liability, unconscionable conduct and the development of compliance programmes
- intellectual property dispute resolution
- ACCC and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) investigations and prosecutions, and
- media, advertising, online marketing the brand protection.
Competition and consumer law
- Kogan: in Federal Court proceedings commenced by the ACCC alleging that Kogan made false or misleading representations as to the price of its goods during an online promotion
- Dial-a-Dump Industries: in a successful application for merger clearance by the ACCC of Bingo Industries’ $577.5 million acquisition of Dial-a-Dump
- Melbourne Airport: in relation to a number of disputes and regulatory issues regarding the terms upon which competing airlines are able to use the airport’s facilities
- Australian Sustainable Hardwoods: in a major dispute with the State Government of Victoria alleging misleading and deceptive conduct and breach of contractual warranties relating to timber grade quality and volumes of delivery. The dispute was referred to an arbitration, heard before a former justice of the High Court of Australia
- ReadCloud: a publicly-listed provider of eLearning solutions, in its dispute with major international textbook publishers concerning allegations that the publishers entered into a cartel and secondary boycott arrangement with the purpose of preventing the acquisition of ReadCloud’s products by secondary schools
- Praeco: in its dispute with the Commonwealth Department of Defence and Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd (a subsidiary of CIMIC Group Ltd) in relation to substantial warranty claims for alleged defects in the construction of the Department of Defence’s new Headquarters Joint Operations Command facility
- Breville: in relation to disputes with competitors alleging misleading and deceptive product performance claims
- Nufarm: in relation to a dispute with a major supplier concerning misleading order forecasts
- A major supplier of health and organic products to a major supermarket chain: in relation to alleged misuse of market power and unconscionable conduct, including by forcing suppliers to agree to disadvantageous terms of trade, unilaterally deducting amounts from payments due to suppliers, and refusing to allow suppliers to increase prices
- Australian Constructors Association: whose member companies collectively generate a combined annual revenue in excess of $50 billion, regarding a range of competition law matters, including in making submissions on industry-wide issues
- One of Australia's leading online businesses: in relation to an arrangement with a major media organisation. Our role included advising on the competition law aspects of the transaction, including the drafting of the relevant agreement
- A global technology and manufacturing company based in Israel: on global distribution arrangements with other large players in its industry
- JB Hi-Fi: in an ACCC investigation alleging a market-sharing agreement with a potential competitor in connection with JB Hi-Fi’s expansion into a new geographic market
- A large Australian construction company: in a cartel investigation into allegations made against the company by one of its competitors
- Liberty Oil, the then largest independent fuel retailer and distributor in Australia: in proceedings commenced by the ACCC against numerous petroleum retailers for alleged price fixing
- Mitre 10 Australia: in Federal Court proceedings brought by the ACCC for alleged misleading or deceptive TV, radio and print advertising
- Maso Capital: a Hong Kong-based hedge fund, in relation to Nutrien’s acquisition of Ruralco and the merger between Vodafone and TPG
- An international franchisor: in an ACCC investigation concerning alleged unconscionable conduct and misleading or deceptive conduct towards franchisees
- The administrators of Ansett Airlines: in relation to a number of ACCC matters, including the sale of major assets and disputes with airport tenants and travel agents, as well as acting for the administrators in several Federal Court applications which created new insolvency law in Australia
- Visy Group: in relation to proceedings brought by the ACCC in respect of an alleged cartel in the cardboard box industry
- Major companies, including Gunnersens-Timbermark and Housewares-Breville: in preparing submissions to the ACCC for authorisation of mergers
- Allen & Co, Carlson Capital, Churchill Capital, Davidson Kempner, Farallon Capital and Pentwater Capital: in relation to Glencore’s acquisition of Viterra, APA’s acquisition of Hastings, Foxtel’s acquisition of Austar, Google’s acquisition of Motorola, Seven’s proposed acquisition of Consolidated Media Holdings and Archer Daniels Midland’s proposed acquisition of GrainCorp
- QIW Ltd: in the takeover disputes between Davids Ltd and QIW Ltd. The proceedings led to a seminal decision on market definition
- Barro: in relation to Federal Court proceedings regarding the proposed takeover of Adelaide Brighton by Boral
- Nufarm: in disputes between Futuris and Wesfarmers in the takeover of IAMA, and
- Kawasaki: in Federal Court trade practices disputes with a major Victorian distributor.
Intellectual property, advertising and brand protection
- Namatjira Legacy Trust: in the successful resolution of Australia’s longest-running intellectual property dispute concerning the ownership of the copyright in the lifetime works of Australia’s most iconic Indigenous artist, Albert Namatjira. In 1983, the Namatjira copyright was sold by the Northern Territory Government to Legend Press for $8,500, without properly consulting with the Namatjira family. The outcome involved successfully negotiating the transfer of the copyright back to the Namatjira Legacy Trust, which represents the Namatjira family, as well as obtaining a historic compensation package from the Northern Territory Government for the benefit of the Western Aranda Indigenous community
- Palla Pharma: in Federal Court proceedings involving allegations that Palla Pharma infringed Tasmanian Alkaloid’s patent for a high codeine poppy variety. Palla Pharma cross-claimed for invalidity of the patent. The proceeding involved novel legal and evidentiary issues concerning the patentability of plant based material
- Just Group: in relation to misleading and deceptive conduct and intellectual property claims brought by and against Just retail subsidiaries, including Just Jeans, Smiggle, Peter Alexander and Dotti
- Cygnett: one of the world’s largest retailers of consumer electronic goods, in relation to a number of trade mark disputes and a patent dispute concerning the design of a “bendable” tablet case
- Industry Super Network and Industry Funds Management: in developing nationwide television and print advertising campaigns
- Industry Super Australia: in a copyright dispute with a high-profile artist concerning the use of his works in an online and television advertising campaign
- Probiotec: in relation to various agreements, including sponsorship, licensing and intellectual property agreements
- A foreign religious organisation: in relation to a dispute with its Australian affiliate regarding ownership of intellectual property
- Numerous significant Australian organisations, including SEEK, Barro, Carsales, Leighton, John Holland and the Australian Constructors Association: in relation to the delivery of customised compliance seminars on the CCA for clients to complement their risk management and corporate governance strategies, and
- Sportsgirl, Decjuba, Ice Jewellery and other fashion brands: on IP infringement actions.
- Towers Watson Superannuation: in relation to proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against IBM Superlife Services Pty Limited and Link Super Pty Limited. The proceedings relate to a series of thefts, totalling approximately A$4 million, from a superannuation fund. TWS is the trustee of the fund. The case involved complex apportionment issues
- Nufarm: in its defence of a shareholder class action alleging excessively positive, and therefore misleading, 2010 profit forecasts
- Telstra Corporation: in relation to numerous disputes with suppliers and consumers, including against members of 'CoTs', as well as defending alleged breaches by Telstra of obligations to retail customers, including in relation to servicing rural Australia
- Mirvac Group, MAB Corporation, Becton Group and other property developers: in proceedings alleging misrepresentation regarding off-the-plan apartment sales
- Challenger Limited: in relation to the defence of a class action for misleading and deceptive conduct relating to a Challenger prospectus
- Leighton Group: in relation to its dispute with the Victorian Government concerning alleged misleading and deceptive conduct by the Government, regarding the tender for construction of Spencer Street railway station
- Sherritt International and Dynatec Corporation: in defending a $1.5 billion claim for misleading or deceptive conduct in relation to a nickel mine in Western Australia. The claim was discontinued in its entirety, and
- TPI Enterprises: in the successful defence of Supreme Court litigation commenced by GlaxoSmithKline against Jarrod Ritchie and TPI Enterprises, for alleged breaches of confidence and fiduciary duty.
Directorships & memberships
Zaven is a member of the Business Law section (Competition and Consumer Committee) of The Law Council of Australia.
Awards & recognition
Zaven is recognised as a leading lawyer by various international guides to lawyers and law firms, including:
- Best Lawyers® International: competition law and intellectual property law
- Chambers Asia Pacific: competition & antitrust and intellectual property, and
- Legal 500 Asia Pacific: competition & trade and intellectual property.