On Competition Law and Economics

Latest from On Competition Law and Economics

Elizabeth Warren is calling for aggressive enforcement of the antitrust laws. The House Judiciary is opening hearings on big tech, and the Justice Department and FTC have allocated amongst themselves responsibility for particular Big Tech companies. Pundits are saying it’s time for Big Tech to be broken up. So, should Big Tech be worried? Are we going to see an antitrust renaissance? Is Gilded Age 2.0 coming to an end? The short answer is,…
There seems to be a growing concern that Facebook is too big and should be broken up. Among those calling for the breakup are Elizabeth Warren, Chris Hughes and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The FTC has asked Congress to pass a national privacy law to regulate the industry. While some disagree, it seems pretty clear that foreign agents were able to manipulate voters in the 2016 election. But, would breaking up Facebook put an end…
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science, the folks who bring you the Oscars, are voting on a rule change that would exclude movies by companies like Netflix from consideration. The Justice Department apparently does not take kindly to the idea. According to Variety, Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, wrote the Academy stating that “agreements among competitors to exclude new competitors can violate the antitrust laws when their purpose or effect…
Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren thinks Big Tech is too big and wants it—and, in particular, Amazon, Facebook and Google—broken up and their past mergers and acquisitions unwound. And the FTC recently announced it was forming a Task Force to look into the technology markets. There do seem to be issues with Big Tech. But is antitrust, as currently practiced, the best tool to address them?  Ms. Warren contemplates this by suggesting a new regulatory regime should be…
The Luxembourg Competition Authority recently handed down a decision that found an app-based taxi booking system, Webtaxi, was not a hardcore violation of the relevant competition law banning price fixing.  The algorithm determined the precise fare the passenger would pay for a trip.  The taxis remained competitors otherwise and the cabs on the app represented only 26 percent of the relevant taxi market.  Fares were otherwise negotiable.  The Authority found the efficiency gains material and…
On June 14, 2018, in Animal Science Products, Inc. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co., the Supreme Court held that Courts are not obliged to accept statements from a foreign government agency on the meaning and effects of its laws but should consider other evidence in addition to such statements to judge their value.  The Court overruled a Second Circuit decision that treated the statements themselves as determinative.  The case involves price fixing of vitamin…
The European Union (“EU”) recently concluded its investigation of the Bayer Monsanto transaction.  As part of the remedy, Bayer has agreed to license to BASF its “entire global digital agriculture product portfolio and pipeline products to ensure continued competition on this emerging market.”  According to the EU’s press release, “[d]igital agriculture uses public data such as satellite pictures and weather data as well as private data collected from farmers’ fields. It applies agronomic knowledge and…
Ozzy Osbourne has filed an antitrust suit against against AEG, the operator of the O2 Arena in London and operator of the Staples Center in LA, among others.  Ozzy is alleging that AEG is illegally requiring artists perform at Staples if they want to perform at O2, the “Staples Center Commitment.”  It is a fairly straight-forward and plausible claim.  AEG has market power in large-scale venues in London and is leveraging that power to…
In what may be the first case ever, a party to an FTC administrative merger challenge has filed suit in U.S. District Court asking the court to halt the administrative proceeding and order the FTC to pursue a preliminary injunction motion in that court. The gravamen of their argument is that the outside date for the transaction is in May, and there is no way that they could conclude an administrative trial in that amount…
The FCC recently repealed the net neutrality rules.  Now your favorite ISP can charge more for better and faster access, deny you access to sites you really shouldn’t be looking at (we’re looking at you CNN), and degrade all those over-the-top services you should be getting indirectly on their platforms anyway.  One thing repealing net neutrality has done that isn’t particularly helpful to big business is make platform-content provider mergers harder. How so, you ask.…