Photo of John E. Petite

John E. Petite


In his extensive experience with antitrust and trade regulation litigation, John Petite frequently represents clients in the franchise, motor fuel marketing and health care arenas.


  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Patent & Trademark Office


J.D., Washington University School of Law, 1993

B.A., Boston College, 1989


John Petite represents clients in general commercial litigation, with an emphasis on antitrust and trade regulation litigation and intellectual property litigation. He is the leader of the firm’s energy practice group.

John defends claims against oil companies for alleged unlawful motor fuel pricing practices and purportedly unlawful deed restrictions or brand covenants associated with the sale of gas stations. He has worked on matters involving claims of unlawful franchise termination, including termination of motor fuel marketing franchises.

In his intellectual property practice, John handles trademark and copyright infringement claims and manages trademark enforcement programs for large franchisors and other trademark owners. John represents clients in responding to office actions by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and in litigating contested proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), primarily with respect to claims of likelihood of confusion. He also frequently litigates computer tampering claims and claims involving the enforceability of restrictive covenants, such as non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements that implicate employers’ interests in trade secrets or customer relationships.

John also frequently litigates false advertising claims and provides pre-publication review of advertising and promotional programs for compliance with the Lanham Act and state laws. He has handled right of publicity and related privacy claims in connection with advertising campaigns.

In defending hospitals and other health care providers, John’s work in medical staff privileges litigation implicates federal and state antitrust law, as well as state contract and tort law. His work has yielded significant published state and federal court decisions under the federal Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 (HCQIA) and Missouri’s rule of non-review (by which the judiciary generally defers to the quality of care decisions of health care providers), and with respect to the enforceability of medical staff bylaws under state contract law.

In addition, John has frequently litigated First Amendment issues, successfully defending defamation and privacy claims for media organizations, brokerage firms (Form U-5 filings), health care providers (data bank reports submitted pursuant to the HCQIA) and other defendants. In addition, he has prosecuted:

  • First Amendment attacks on state and federal legislation
  • Fifth Amendment attacks on a municipality’s exercise of the power of eminent domain
  • Commerce Clause, Due Process Clause, Supremacy Clause, and Equal Protection Clause challenges to state trade regulation and merchandising practices statutes. 

Similarly, John regularly defends both public enforcement actions and private claims under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and similar deceptive trade practices statutes. Such claims have included putative class actions alleging the wrongful charging of fees or surcharges by sellers large and small.

John practices in state and federal court, before the USPTO and the TTAB, and in arbitral forums, such as the National Association of Securities Dealers. He has tried bench and jury trials and arbitration hearings and has extensive appellate experience.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association, planning committee co-chair, Petroleum Marketing Committee of the Environment, Energy and Resources Section
  • Missouri Bar Association
  • Illinois Bar Association
  • Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis

Honors & Awards

Honors & Awards

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent


Representative Matters

  • Provided counsel to BP in connection with Petroleum Marketing Practices Act issues and the $2.6 million sale of its Texas City refinery
  • Counseled ST Brands on contract documents for dealer relationships in connection with the divestment of about 100 station properties.
  • Counseled a buyer on Petroleum Marketing Practices Act issues in connection with the acquisitions of Gulf’s retail assets.
  • Successfully defended private hospital from state law claims for injurious falsehood and tortious interference with contract and business expectancy brought by staff physician who claimed that his medical staff membership and clinical privileges were improperly terminated. The decision was affirmed by the Eighth Circuit. Johnson v. SSM Health Care St. Louis, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12412 (E.D. Mo. January 30, 2013).
  • Successfully prosecuted claim to enforce brand covenants/deed restrictions critical to major oil refiner’s distribution network in Virginia. BP Prods. N. Am., Inc. v. Stanley, 669 F.3d 184 (4th Cir. 2012).
  • Successfully defended major oil refiner against contract and tort claims for bad faith, discriminatory and predatory pricing. Self v. Equilon Enterprises, LLC.
  • Successfully defended petroleum marketer against Missouri Attorney General’s issuance of a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) directed at alleged violations of the Missouri Motor Fuel Marketing Act below-cost pricing prohibition. Ports Petroleum, Inc. of Ohio v. Nixon, 37 S.W.3d 237 (Mo. 2001).
  • Successfully defended private hospital from state antitrust and related common law claims for tortious interference with contract, defamation, retaliatory discharge, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and civil conspiracy brought by staff physician who claimed that his medical staff privileges and employment contract were improperly terminated.  Misischia v. St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, 30 S.W.3d 848 (Mo.Ct.App. 2000).
  • Successfully defended private hospital from federal antitrust and related state law claims for breach of contract, tortious interference with contract, defamation, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress brought by staff physician who claimed that his medical staff privileges were improperly restricted and later terminated. Sugarbaker v. SSM Health Care, 187 F.3d 853 (8th Cir. 1999).
  • Successfully defended private hospital against claim by staff physician seeking to enjoin hospital from reporting peer review action to National Practitioner Data Bank. Sugarbaker v. SSM Health Care, 946 S.W.2d 280 (Mo.Ct.App. 1997).
  • Successfully defended local television station against claims brought by subjects of breaking news story for alleged civil rights violations and related state law claims of invasion of privacy. Parker v. Boyer, 93 F.3d 445 (8th Cir. 1996).
  • Successfully prosecuted contract claims against, and defended counterclaims for tortious interference with contract brought by, former physician employee. SSM Health Care, Inc. v. Deen, 890 S.W.2d 343 (Mo.Ct.App. 1994).
  • Successfully prosecuted patent infringement claim for laser marking company. Laser Light Technologies, Inc. v. Brick Markers, Inc., 200 F. Supp. 2d 1093 (E.D. Mo. 2001).

News & Insights

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • “Intellectual Property Strategies During the Storm of Patent Reform”
    Association of Corporate Counsel, St. Louis, September 2015
  • Moderator, “TTAB and Litigation Strategy After B&B Hardware”
    American Bar Association IP Roundtable, June 19, 2015
  • "Brand Covenants, Rights of First Refusal, and Creative Challenges to Enforceability"
    Petroleum Marketing Attorneys Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., April 20, 2012
  • "Critical IP Asset Protection, Counterfeiting & Infringement"
    Meritas Capabilities Webinar, October 4, 2011
  • “Consumer Protection Law Update”
    American Bar Association, October 2010
  • "The 2007 Petroleum Marketing Practices Act Amendment's Impact on Trademark Rights: How to deal with a station that sells renewable fuel under a different brand"
    Petroleum Marketing Attorneys Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., April 2009