August 31, 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.

Google rebuts Europe on antitrust charges.  Google is denying claims from the European Union’s top antitrust official that it favored some of its own search results over those of rivals, saying there was significant competition in the region’s online search market and that the company’s services increased choice for consumers.  Google’s response to the charges, which was submitted to the European Commission Thursday afternoon, is the latest chapter in a long investigation into the Silicon Valley technology giant, which would face fines worth billions of dollars if it is found to have violated the European Union’s antitrust rules.

EU antitrust regulators investigate precious metals trading.  European Union antitrust authorities are investigating possible anti-competitive practices in precious metals trading as they join other regulators in a crackdown on possible rigging of the markets.  The European Commission’s action follows a record 1.7 billion euro fine against six financial institutions in 2013 for manipulating Libor and Euribor interest rate benchmarks.

Dismissal of drug-pricing antitrust lawsuit affirmed.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of a more than 20-year-old lawsuit filed by 28 retail pharmacies accusing Johnson & Johnson of suppressing competition by giving large pharmacy benefit managers discounts on drugs.  The court said that extensive discovery had shown that the pharmacies had not lost a significant amount of customers, and thus could not show any antitrust injury.

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Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation

    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 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

        July 29, 2015

        English Cartel Damages Claim Takes an Extraordinary Turn

        A View from Constantine Cannon’s London Office

        by Richard Pike

        Those in need of some light relief before heading off on vacation could do worse than read the latest judgment in the never-ending saga that is the English air cargo litigation.  We on the European side of the Atlantic have been known to indulge in some schadenfreude about the antics of the lesser members of the US judiciary.  We don’t get to see judges pulling out guns in our courtrooms or using the sound of a flushing toilet to indicate their displeasure with submissions.  English judges are typically just a bit too staid to provide a good source of amusement.  But not any more.  Now we have the spectacle of the great “disappearing luggage” conspiracy.

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        Categories: Antitrust Litigation

          July 17, 2015

          European Commission Doubles Down On Antitrust Investigations Against Giant U.S. Chipmaker Qualcomm

          A View from Constantine Cannon’s London Office

          By Richard Pike and Yulia Tosheva

          The European Commission (“EC”) announced yesterday it has opened two antitrust investigations into possible abusive behavior by the U.S. technology company Qualcomm, the world’s largest supplier of baseband chipsets.

          Investigation into rebates

          The first investigation will examine whether Qualcomm abused its dominant market position by offering rebates and other financial incentives to customers on condition that they buy baseband chipsets exclusively from Qualcomm.

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          Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

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