August 24, 2015

The Antitrust Week In Review

Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

Microsoft files antitrust suit against InterDigital in patent feud.  Microsoft is alleging that InterDigital has violated U.S. antitrust law by failing to keep its promise to fairly license technology considered essential to mobile phone communications.  Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against InterDigital  in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, expanding the long-standing fight over patent licensing between the two companies.  The lawsuit concerns patents considered to be critical to technologies that may be widely adopted in an industry.

Hollywood Studios Must Face Animators’ Anti-Poaching Lawsuit.  Several major Hollywood studios have failed to convince a federal judge to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit accusing them of illegally conspiring not to poach each other’s animators, to help drive down wages.  U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, denied motions to dismiss made by defendants Walt Disney Co and its Lucasfilm and Pixar units, Sony Corp, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc and 21st Century Fox Inc’s Blue Sky Studios.  Without ruling on the merits, Judge Koh said emails and other evidence suggested that the studios agreed not to solicit each other’s workers, shared information about pay practices, offered “misleading, pretextual” reasons to justify why wages were not higher, and took steps to keep their conspiracy a secret.

Monopolization lawsuit over antibiotic eye drops dismissed.  A federal judge has dismissed an antitrust class action accusing drugmaker Allergan Inc and two other companies of conspiring to monopolize the market for Zymar and Zymaxid antibacterial eye drops.  Judge Sue Robinson of the Delaware U.S. District Court ruled that pharmacy chain Hartig Drug Co Inc did not have standing to bring the lawsuit because it was not a direct purchaser of Zymar from Allergan.

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Categories: Antitrust Litigation

    August 17, 2015

    The Antitrust Week In Review

    Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

    FTC offers first-ever guidance on ‘unfair competition.’  The Federal Trade Commission has released unprecedented guidance on what constitutes “unfair competition,” but has stopped short of offering the level of detail long sought by businesses.  The guidance is actually the first attempt by the FTC to precisely define “unfair competition,” which is barred by Section 5 of 1914 Federal Trade Commission Act.  Stressing that its enforcement practices would not change, the FTC said it would be guided by consumer welfare concerns in applying the law.

    Europe Gives Google More Time to Respond to Antitrust Charges.  The European Commission is giving Google until the end of August to answer claims that it favored its own comparison shopping search over those of rivals.  The move came just days before an August 17 deadline that Europe’s competition authorities had set for Google to respond to the charges.

    TrueCar says it considers U.S. antitrust probe to be closed.  The Federal Trade Commission has closed an investigation into whether auto dealers ganged up against shopping website TrueCar in order to raise prices, TrueCar said in a securities filing on Wednesday.  TrueCar said in the filing it had responded to an FTC request for documents and considered the matter to be closed.

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    Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Policy, International Competition Issues

      August 10, 2015

      The Antitrust Week in Review

      U.S. hospitals urge DOJ antitrust probe of Anthem-Cigna deal.  U.S. hospitals are urging antitrust regulators to consider whether health insurer Anthem’s planned acquisition of rival Cigna would boost healthcare costs.  In a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, the American Hospital Association, the hospital industry’s largest lobbying group, said combining the No. 1 and No. 5 health insurers threatens to reduce competition in 817 geographic markets serving 45 million consumers.

      Judge Rejects Settlement in American Express Case.  Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn has rejected a proposed $75 million antitrust class-action settlement between American Express and a group of retailers.  The decision could have ripple effects for another antitrust settlement, a nearly $6 billion class action settlement covering many of the same merchants and Visa and MasterCard.

      Appeals Court Revives Antitrust Lawsuit Over ATM Fees.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has revived a lawsuit accusing MasterCard, Visa and three major banks of illegally fixing ATM prices at the expense of consumers.  The court ruled that a group of consumers and independent ATM operators could pursue claims that the companies conspired to overcharge consumers.  The decision reverses a federal district court judge who threw out the lawsuit in 2013.

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      Categories: Uncategorized

        August 4, 2015

        Ninth Circuit Blocks Injunction Of NCAA Restrictions On Student Compensation

        By Hamsa Mahendranathan

        The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has granted the NCAA’s request for a stay of a district court injunction that would have permitted colleges to begin compensating student athletes for the use of their names, images, and likenesses.

        Last year, Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California found that the NCAA violated antitrust law “by agreeing with its member schools to restrain their ability to compensate” basketball and football players.  The district court ruled in the Ed O’Bannon antitrust lawsuit that the NCAA should be enjoined from enforcing rules that would prohibit schools or conferences from offering students a share of revenues generated by use of their names, images, and likenesses.

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        Categories: Antitrust Litigation

          August 3, 2015

          The Antitrust Week In Review

          Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

          Two major hospital systems might be merging.  Continuing the trend in healthcare-provider consolidation, Providence Health & Services and St. Joseph Health announced Friday that they had signed a letter of intent to merge. The health systems cautioned that they were only in the “very early stages” of negotiations. If consummated, the merger would bring hospitals in California, Oregon, Texas, and several other states under common ownership. Antitrust enforcers have stated that they will analyze health-insurer consolidation industry-wide and not just deal-by-deal. The question is what effect will provider consolidation have on that analysis, and vice versa.

           

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          Categories: General

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