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 [...]
What would likely be the last major acquisition in the car rental industry may soon be completed, with the blessing of the Federal Trade Commission. The pending acquisition of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. by Hertz Global Holdings, Inc., currently under review by the FTC, would cement the positions of the three major car rental companies by combining the second and fourth largest competitors.
Completion of the transaction would bring to a close years of consolidation in the industry. Antitrust approval of a combination of any of the three remaining firms—Enterprise Holdings, Inc., Avis Budget Group, Inc., and Hertz—would be highly unlikely.
Hertz announced on October 18 that it [...]
According to standard economic theory, unfettered free markets lead to an efficient allocation of resources. Importantly, this result is generally taken to hold only insofar as market failures are absent. One of these failures, market power, is defined as the ability to elevate prices above competitive levels for a significant period of time. Generally speaking, the exercise of market power harms consumer welfare.
This logic appears quite general and is commonly accepted by policy makers. Indeed, precisely for this reason most competition authorities aim to limit firms’ ability to gain or exercise market power. However, can it be the case that markets are efficient, even in the presence of [...]
In the past six months since Google’s public disclosure of its Federal Trade Commission (FTC) antitrust investigation, much of the debate around the issue has been focused on the evolution of search–how it has changed over the past decade, how information is presented to users, and where information comes from to provide users with the very best and most useful search results. As we all well know, search engines like Google have become an incredibly powerful tool and are hardly recognizable from their old format of traditional “ten blue links.”
Today, search is smarter and more dynamic–rich with real-time content, news, images, maps and reviews. Search no longer provides users a simple [...]
Welcome to AntitrustConnect. At this time of new direction and change in antitrust enforcement and practice, Wolters Kluwer Law & Business is excited to sponsor this blog as a forum for analysis, commentary, and discussion of antitrust issues for lawyers and economists in the field.
There has been much discussion about the reinvigoration of antitrust enforcement with the change in administration in Washington. Whether or not one agrees that enforcement efforts at the federal antitrust agencies have been revitalized in the last 12 to 18 months, new antitrust leadership has brought change.
Shortly after being sworn in as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice An [...]
In American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League, 130 S.Ct. 2201 (2010), the Supreme Court held that the NFL acting through its incorporated subsidiary NFL Properties, Inc. (NFLP) was not a single entity but rather a combination of its 32 individual member teams for purposes of the plaintiff’s antitrust challenge to an exclusive licensing agreement. The teams had licensed their trademarks and insignia exclusively to NFLP, which then issued a single exclusive license for the production of logo-bearing caps to Reebok, thus ousting American Needle or anyone else from producing NFL caps.
The American Needle decision could conceivably rest on alternative rationales for its separate entity [...]