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U.S. Agency Heads Discuss Antitrust Enforcement Priorities

Two of the most significant conferences on the antitrust calendar were held last week. Georgetown Law Center featured its Seventh Annual Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium on September 25, and Fordham Law School’s 40th annual international antitrust law and policy conference  took place on September 26 and 27.

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and William Baer, Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, delivered remarks on their latest enforcement priorities at both programs.

In case you missed these great programs, here are some brief summaries of the enforcers’ presentations.

Global Antitrust Enforcement

Chairwoman Ramirez kicked off the Georgetown prog [...]

Product Certification – The Next Big Standard-Setting Debate?


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 [...]

Risky Business: Trade Associations and Canadian Competition Law

Canada’s first competition legislation was enacted in 1889, with the intention of combatting the price-fixing and other anti-competitive conduct of so-called “combinations.” Trade and professional associations figured prominently among the “combinations” alleged to have engaged in this anti-competitive behaviour. As one observer commented at the time, “there are few branches of trade in this or any country which are not represented by associations which seek to prevent unprofitable competition”.

Fast forward to 2012, and it is apparent that Canadian competition authorities continue to harbour similar concerns about the legality of certain trade and professional association acti [...]

Antitrust Agencies Right to Expand Scrutiny of Patent Transfers and Acquisitions

One of the most complex and daunting challenges facing competition regulators is the evolving intersection of antitrust and intellectual property law. Given that both antitrust law and patent law seek to enhance consumer welfare and promote innovation, but do so through very different mechanisms, it is natural for regulators to struggle when harmonizing monopoly-granting patent law with competition-enforcing antitrust law.

Notwithstanding these hurdles, representatives from the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, the Federal Trade Commission, and the European Commission made it clear in a recent series of speeches that they intend to broaden their patent and competition focus to go bey [...]

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