August 19, 2014

Appeals Court Upholds Dismissal Of Multi-Billion-Dollar Infringement Claims Against Visa And MasterCard Over Smart Card Technology

By Owen Glist

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld summary judgment against SmartMetric, a maker of biometric smart cards, affirming dismissal of its claims that Visa and MasterCard infringed its patent for credit and debit card technology.

After a previous unsuccessful suit against Visa, MasterCard, and American Express over the same patent relating to “contactless” cards (see SmartMetric Inc. v. Am. Express Co., 476 F. App’x 742 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 11, 2012)), SmartMetric again sought damages in excess of $13 billion in this suit over “contact” cards embedded with chips.  The gravamen of SmartMetric’s claim was that the Visa and MasterCard networks infringed a patent for a system to access a database of local network service providers for a given payment card transaction.

The district court granted summary judgment on several alternative grounds, including SmartMetric’s unexcused failure to properly disclose its experts and expert reports and to show sufficient “direct” control by Visa and MasterCard over users of the allegedly infringing system — i.e., banks, merchants, and cardholders.  But the court’s primary ground was that SmartMetric failed to provide any reliable evidence that defendants’ systems actually functioned the way SmartMetric alleged.

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Categories: Uncategorized

    August 13, 2014

    NCAA’s Loss In O’Bannon Trial May Be Only A Partial Victory For Competition

    By Jeffrey Shinder and David Scupp

    Although competition scored a win on Friday in the student athletes’ antitrust suit led by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon against the NCAA, it wasn’t a complete blowout.

    Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a 99-page decision that permanently enjoins the NCAA from enforcing its blanket restriction on FBS football and Division I basketball collegiate athletes receiving any portion of the licensing revenue generated from the use of the players’ names, images, and likenesses.

    The decision, rendered after trial in In re Student Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation, held that the NCAA’s restrictions violated antitrust law. The decision is significant: it marks the first time that a court has heard a challenge to the NCAA’s “amateurism” principles, it cuts through the NCAA’s rhetoric, and it rules largely in favor of the plaintiffs. But, while a significant victory for plaintiffs, the relief obtained was limited in ways that may unnecessarily restrict competition.

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    Categories: Antitrust Litigation

      August 7, 2014

      Federal Court Denies Class Certification In Intel Antitrust Litigation

      By David Golden

      Plaintiffs in the long-running In re Intel Corporation Microprocessor Antitrust Litigation class action have suffered a major setback with last week’s denial of class certification by the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

      The lawsuit, filed in 2005, alleges that Intel illegally excluded its major rival, Advanced Micro Devices (commonly referred to as “AMD”), from the U.S. market for x86 computer microprocessors[1] by paying computer manufacturers “loyalty payments” and “rebates” to use only Intel chips. The proposed class is compromised of indirect purchasers that bought computers that contained Intel microprocessors. The plaintiffs contend Intel’s payments to computer manufacturers reduced competition for chips, and ultimately raised the prices consumers paid for computers.

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      Categories: Antitrust and Intellectual Property Law, Antitrust Litigation

        August 6, 2014

        China Ramps Up Antitrust Enforcement With Second Round Of Raids Of Microsoft Today 

        Why you should take notice if you do business in China

        By Aymeric Dumas-Eymard

        Almost six years to the day after China began enforcing its Antimonopoly Law (“AML”), China’s antitrust authorities are marking the anniversary with a bang as they followed up last week’s raids of U.S. software giant Microsoft with a second round of raids today.

        China’s antitrust regulator the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (“SAIC”) announced on its website today that it was following up last week’s raids of Microsoft’s offices in China with new raids of the software giant and its partner in China, Accenture PLC.  SAIC stated that it raided Microsoft offices in Beijing, Liaoning, Fujian and Hubei.  The SAIC also raided the Dalian offices of Accenture, which performs financial work for Microsoft.

        Today’s raids follow up on SAIC’s raids of July 28, 2014, in which more than 100 law enforcement officers raided Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu.  The antitrust enforcers reportedly questioned Microsoft executives and seized documents, electronic data (including emails) and computers.

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        Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, International Competition Issues

          August 4, 2014

          Massachusetts Court Hosts Debate On Whether Partners HealthCare Merger Settlement Will Affect The Common Health Of The Commonwealth

          By Daniel Vitelli

          A Massachusetts state court has extended the time for a contentious debate on a proposed antitrust settlement that the Massachusetts State Attorney General says will help hold down medical expenses, and critics say will result in greater market power for the state’s largest health care system.

          Attorney General Martha Coakley is asking Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet L. Sanders to approve a consent judgment that reflects a settlement agreement the Attorney General’s office has reached with Partners HealthCare System, Inc. The deal resolves an investigation by the Attorney General’s office into Partners’ acquisitions of South Shore Health and Educational Corp. (South Shore Hospital) and Hallmark Health Corp. (Lawrence Memorial Hospital and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital).

          The court has scheduled a hearing on the proposed antitrust settlement for Sept. 29, 2014. The court has also extended the public comment period on the settlement to Sept. 15, and given the Attorney General until Sept. 25 to respond to the comments.

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          Categories: Antitrust Litigation

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