Like the European Commission, I am confident that the European Merger Simplification Project will bring benefits for clients. As many commentators have affirmed, I do not doubt that the increase of the currently applicable market share thresholds for the identification of horizontally and vertically “affected markets” by 5 per cent to 20% and 30% respectively will allow more cases to be treated with less pain. Equally, the “safe harbour” for mergers with very small increments in concentration should be welcomed. If this leads to a lesser administrative burden for companies trying to business in Europe during these continuingly difficult times, then all the better.
However, I am conce [...]
It appears that the U.S. Supreme Court will soon resolve a split among the circuits on the issue of whether parens patriae actions can be removed from state court as “mass actions” under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). Earlier this week, the Court agreed to review a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, concluding that Mississippi’s suit alleging state consumer protection and antitrust claims against manufacturers and distributors of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels qualified as a “mass action” under the CAFA and should be removed to federal court. According to the state, the Fifth Circuit is at odds with every other circuit that has decided this issue. The p [...]
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM“) has stepped up its merger control activities on many fronts in recent weeks, issuing ground-breaking decisions in the Glencore/Xstrata and Marubeni/Gavilon cases and circulating draft procedural rules for public consultation on merger remedies and on dealing with straightforward merger control cases.
The new decisions
On April 16, 2013, MOFCOM issued approval for Glencore’s acquisition of Xstrata subject to conditions. Less than a week later, on April 22, it did likewise for the takeover of Gavilon by Marubeni.
Overall MOFCOM’s approach in both transactions was remarkably similar. However, there were also some key differences.
Common featur [...]
(Note: In December 2012, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission held a Hearing on the impact of patent assertion entities (PAEs) on innovation and competition and the implications for antitrust enforcement policy. The Agencies then issued a Request for Public Comments on the topic of the Hearing. In response, on April 5th, Richard Wolfram submitted the following comment to the DOJ and FTC, adapted and shortened here for Antitrust Connect. The full Public Comment – one of almost 70 public comments submitted to the Agencies — is available at http://www.ftc.gov/os/comments/pae/pae-0066.pdf or from the author.)
This comment is submitted in my personal capacity and d [...]
FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and William J. Baer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee on Tuesday. The hearing, entitled “Oversight of the Enforcement of the Antitrust Laws,” was the subcommittee’s first antitrust oversight hearing since Ramirez and Baer took the helms of their respective agencies.
In his prepared statement, Baer said that the Antitrust Division is focusing its enforcement efforts on “products consumers use every day…as well as other goods and services that have a significant impact on our nation’s economy, including health care, agriculture, transpor [...]
FTC Commissioner Joshua D. Wright told attendees of the American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law Spring Meeting on April 11 that he was hopeful that the Commission will issue a policy statement, articulating what constitutes an unfair method of competition in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act. Saying it is the “Commission’s duty,” he expressed his belief that the current Commission is up for the task.
Wright’s remarks – “What’s Your Agenda?” — delivered at the meeting’s “Hot Topics” panel were added to the agency’s website late Monday.
Wright said he would kick off the process by offering a proposal, with certain limiting principles confining the scope of unfair methods claim [...]
The smart phone wars have led to heated discussions over standard setting in technology markets. It seems only a question of time before the standard setting debate spills over into other areas. My personal candidate is the standard setting that underpins product quality, origin and safety certification.
Certification – where invisible features matter
An average consumer comes face to face with product certification in her local grocery store. Organic meat, cage-free eggs and fair-trade coffee are only a few examples of certified products, which increasingly populate store shelves. The expansion of green markets has also prompted certification and labelling programs for a wide [...]
Commissioner Edith Ramirez became the new Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission on March 4. The White House announced the selection on February 28th.
Chairwoman Ramirez is an excellent choice for antitrust enforcement generally, but is truly an ideal Chair for the FTC as it prepares to face the next generation of anti-competitive practices stemming from patent misuse. She uniquely combines an IP litigation background with a commitment to aggressively enforce the spirit and the letter of the antitrust laws, and may prove a valuable friend in the movement for patent litigation reform.
Prior to joining the FTC, Chairwoman Ramirez was a partner with top intellectual property litigation fi [...]
I often feel a certain deflation after the Supreme Court decides an antitrust case. After watching a case for months, prognosticating about it with other antitrusters, reading umpteen blog posts, reading the briefs if you’re into it and even some amici briefs if you’re really into it, the Court then rules one way or the other, and usually tailors its opinion pretty narrowly, breaking no meaningfully new ground. I suppose many will have that feeling about Tuesday’s decision in Federal Trade Commission v. Phoebe Putney Mem. Hosp. Sys., and some are already saying that Justice Sotomayor’s brief opinion for a unanimous Court is just a narrow application of garden variety state action [...]
In Consolidation in Health Care Markets: A Review of the Literature, authors David Balto and James Kovacs in a study funded by and submitted to the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation discuss the recent literature concerning consolidation across various health care markets.
The paper focuses on consolidation of hospital, provider, and health insurance markets with the goal of understanding the impact consolidation has on health care prices, quality of care, and overall costs. The paper seeks to provide an overview of the key research and present findings in different areas of healthcare to facilitate further investigation.
The authors find that while there is consolidation across many heal [...]