(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 [...]
My partner Lee Van Voorhis in Washington drafted some thoughts on this transaction, which I thought would be of interest to the Kluwer readership.
DOJ Sues to Block Further Anheuser-Busch InBev/Grupo Modelo Linkage
On January 31, 2013, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that it filed a complaint in federal district court seeking to block Anheuser Busch InBev (“ABI”) from acquiring the portion of Grupo Modelo (“Modelo”) it does not already own. The challenge highlights the importance of company documents, the risks of an upfront remedy and other antitrust tips for merging parties.
The Complaint’s allegations
ABI currently has a 43 percent voting [...]
The U.S. Senate today confirmed William Baer to serve as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division. The vote was 64 to 26.
Baer was nominated by the President on February 6. His nomination was reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 20.
“Bill is a highly-skilled and well-respected antitrust lawyer who understands the importance of promoting competition in order for consumers to reap the benefits of lower prices and better quality products and services,” said Attorney General Holder in a December 30 statement, welcoming the confirmation. “I have no doubt that he will lead the Antitrust Division effectively in its vigorous enf [...]
The press is reporting that FairSearch and the other Google opponents have trotted down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Department of Justice Antitrust Division asking them to take over the antitrust investigation of search now that the Federal Trade Commission is poised to close its investigation.
Although it’s Christmas time and we all like Christmas shopping, this is the wrong type of shopping: forum shopping. This last-ditch effort by Google’s competitors doesn’t make sense and is bad for innovation and consumers. Fortunately there is no way it will work.
In the United States we have the mixed blessing of having two antitrust agencies: the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division o [...]
Online marketplace eBay, Inc. has been charged by the Department of Justice with entering into an agreement with business and financial management solutions provider Intuit, Inc. not to hire each other’s employees. On Friday, the Justice Department filed an 11-page civil antitrust complaint against eBay in the federal district court in San Jose, California.
The complaint details a naked no-solicitation and no-hire agreement reached at the highest levels of the companies. Meg Whitman, then eBay’s CEO, and Scott Cook, Intuit’s founder and executive committee chair, were allegedly involved in forming, monitoring, and enforcing the pact.
According to the government, the agreement barred e [...]
Over the last decade, the patent landscape has been dramatically altered by the rise of entities whose business model is to acquire significant patent portfolios and aggressively pursue license fees from businesses selling products that may infringe on some of those patents. Such companies are known as “non-practicing entities” (NPEs) or “patent assertion entities” (or, in some circles, “patent trolls”) because they do not manufacture or sell any products to consumers. The U.S. antitrust agencies are considering how the antitrust laws should apply to NPEs, and one news organization has reported that the agencies intend to hold a workshop later this year to address the issue.
The federal district court in New York City yesterday denied a “consumer’s” motion to intervene in the Justice Department’s action against Apple, Inc. and five publishers for allegedly conspiring to fix prices for electronic books or “e-books.” The motion was filed by Bob Kohn for the purpose of appealing from a September 6 final judgment ((CCH) 2012-2 Trade Cases ¶78,042), resolving the government’s antitrust allegations against three of the five publishers.
Kohn describes himself as a “consumer of digital goods, author of a treatise on copyright, and founder and CEO of technology companies directly involved in the digital distribution of music and e-books,” the court explained. He gain [...]
Yesterday, the federal district court in San Francisco imposed a record-tying $500 million fine on AU Optronics Corporation (AUO), a Taiwan-based liquid crystal display (LCD) producer, for its participation in a five-year conspiracy to fix the prices of thin-film transistor LCD panels. The company and its U.S. subsidiary also were placed on probation for three years and ordered to implement antitrust compliance programs.
The sentencing follows a jury’s conviction in March 2012 of AU Optronics Corporation, AU Optronics Corporation America, and two high-level executives–Hsuan Bin Chen, and Hui Hsiung.
Joseph Wayland, Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice An [...]
George Mason University (GMU) Law Professor Joshua D. Wright has been picked by the Obama Administration to replace Federal Trade Commission member J. Thomas Rosch—a fellow Republican—whose term expires later this month. The White House announced the intended nomination on September 10.
In addition to serving as a professor at GMU School of Law and holding a courtesy appointment in the Department of Economics, Wright is the Research Director and a Member of the Board of Directors of the think tank International Center for Law & Economics. He has written extensively on antitrust law and economics and is a regular contributor to Truth on the Market blog. Wright previously served as the ina [...]