April 13, 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.

Formal Charges May Be Next in Europe’s Google Antitrust Inquiry.  Although Europe’s antitrust investigation of Google has dragged on without a settlement for nearly five years, the internet giant’s breathing room may soon come to an end.  Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s antitrust chief, will make her first trip to Washington on Wednesday to participate in two antitrust conferences. The visit has raised expectations that she may be on the verge of announcing some action against Google.

U.S. announces first antitrust e-commerce prosecution.  The U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division has announced its first prosecution specifically targeting Internet commerce, saying a man has agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to illegally fix the prices of posters he sold online.  David Topkins was accused of conspiring with other poster sellers to manipulate prices on Amazon Marketplace, a website for third-party sellers.  Topkins was accused of violating the Sherman Act by conspiring with other poster sellers to use algorithms, for which he wrote computer code, to coordinate price changes.

Shell-BG takeover to test China’s pledge on antitrust transparency.  Royal Dutch Shell’s $70 billion bid for BG Group will test a pledge by China’s antitrust regime to be more transparent, after it faced strong criticism last year from the United States and Europe.  China’s new competition law has been a wildcard for large international deals in recent years, particularly where natural resources are concerned.

Leave a comment »

Categories: Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

    April 6, 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.

    Antitrust and Other Inquiries in Europe Target U.S. Tech Giants.  European antitrust regulators are intensifying their scrutiny of giant American tech companies.  Not only is the European Union antitrust investigation into Google heating up, but additional European countries are looking into Facebook’s privacy settings, and Apple, which already is under scrutiny for its low corporate tax arrangements in Ireland, is now facing potential antitrust questions from the European Commission about the company’s upcoming music streaming service.

    StubHub is suing Ticketmaster over ticket cancellations.  StubHub, the largest ticket reseller in the U.S., filed an antitrust lawsuit against competitor Ticketmaster and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, claiming that they worked together to cancel tickets that were resold on StubHub.  StubHub, which is represented by Constantine Cannon, stated that it “seeks to stop unfair and illegal anti-competitive business practices that prevent fans from deciding how they want to resell their tickets and which artificially drive up ticket prices.”

    European Commission Asks Companies to Go Public With Google Complaints.  The European Commission has asked several companies to go public with confidential complaints they have made against Google, according to sources.  The companies that have filed submissions with the commission include Yelp and other major American technology companies, as well as leading German and French publishing groups that claim Google has too much control over how Europeans access information over the Internet.

    Leave a comment »

    Categories: Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

      March 30, 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.

      Amex to Ask for Stay of Ruling Prohibiting Merchants From Promoting Other Cards.  American Express has announced that it will be seeking a stay of a ruling that could ban the company’s longstanding practice of prohibiting merchants from encouraging customers to pay with lower-cost cards.  Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled last month that the practice violates U.S. antitrust laws.  The court is currently in the process of considering proposed remedies.

      EU antitrust regulators to investigate ecommerce.  European Union regulators plan to investigate ecommerce in an effort to remove barriers to cross-border trade in the 28-nation bloc, according to the EU’s antitrust chief.  The investigation could lead to action against companies that deliberately block online sales.  European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said she decided to launch the inquiry because such anticompetitive hurdles are hampering the growth of online sales.

      F.T.C. Addresses Its Choice Not to Sue Google.  Several members of the Federal Trade Commission are defending the actions taken by the agency in its antitrust investigation of Google, nearly a week after an internal document from 2012 came to light, revealing that some staff attorneys  had wanted to sue Google for anticompetitive practices.  However, the FTC’s five commissioners ultimately voted not to sue.  The three commissioners who were at the FTC at that time defended the decision and issued a joint statement asserting that the report represented “a fraction” of the “voluminous record and extensive internal analysis” that was conducted on the matter.

      German Business Leaders Clash With Google, Antitrust Officials.  German business leaders are clashing with Google and European Union antitrust officials in a heated public debate over how to deal with the power of U.S. Internet firms.  Mathias Döpfner, the chief executive of German publishing house Axel Springer SE, and Deutsche Telekom AG Chief Executive Timotheus Höttges have both attacked the business practices of certain U.S. Internet firms in Europe, and expressed frustration at the lack of action by competition authorities.  The dispute is occurring as the EU prepares to announce the next steps in its long-running antitrust investigation of Google, which has been fruitless to date, despite three attempts at a settlement.

      Leave a comment »

      Categories: Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

        March 26, 2015

        UK Passes Consumer Rights Bill Introducing Opt-Out Antitrust Class Actions

        A View from Constantine Cannon’s London Office

        By Richard Pike

        The United Kingdom announced today that the Consumer Rights Bill has passed its final legislative hurdle and has been adopted as the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – heralding a major overhaul of consumer protection law in the UK.

        Schedule 8 of the Act contains radical new provisions designed to boost private antitrust enforcement in the UK.  Most noteworthy is the adoption of an opt-out class action remedy specifically, and uniquely, for claims alleging infringement of UK and European competition law.  Never before has there been any form of opt-out action in the UK for any purpose.

        The class action provisions are intended to strike a balance between enhancing access to justice and avoiding the creation of what has been termed an “American litigation culture.”  As such, there are a number of limits on what will be possible.  First, the opt-out class will be limited to persons domiciled in the UK.  All other persons would have to opt in to obtain the benefit of actions that are brought, or else bring their own claims.  Second, contingency fees will be prohibited, and it is likely that the arrangements for fees and funding will effectively be set by the Competition Appeal Tribunal at the outset.  Third, it will be for the Tribunal to decide in each case whether it is appropriate to allow the case to proceed on an opt-out basis, an opt-in basis or not as a collective action at all.  The Tribunal will also be tasked with deciding whether the lead plaintiff is an appropriate person to represent the class.

        click here for more »

        Leave a comment »

        Categories: Antitrust Legislation, International Competition Issues

          March 23, 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.

          Take Google to Court, Staff Report Urged F.T.C.  The Federal Trade Commission is facing renewed questions about its handling of its antitrust investigation into Google, after documents revealed that an internal report had recommended stronger action.  The 2012 report, from the FTC’s bureau of competition, recommended suing the Internet search giant for anticompetitive practices, according to anonymous sources who saw the report.  In early 2013, the FTC voted unanimously against bringing charges after an investigation.  Google’s critics and competitors are arguing that the FTC failed to take appropriate action, and are urging the European Union to take action to rein in Google.

          Tour Bus Companies Agree to Settle Antitrust Lawsuit.  Two of New York City’s biggest tour bus operators have agreed to pay $7.5 million and give up almost 50 of their stops in Manhattan to settle antitrust claims brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and the New York State Attorney General.  The proposed settlement could reshape an industry that was allegedly monopolized after the two companies, City Sights and Gray Line New York, formed a joint venture called Twin America.

          Sysco, FTC Battle Over What Stays Secret in Antitrust Tussle.  Sysco is accusing the Federal Trade Commission of failing to provide necessary information about its witnesses in advance of a hearing that will be crucial in determining whether the food distributor can rescue its merger with rival US Foods Inc.  The FTC filed a lawsuit in February asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for a preliminary injunction blocking the $3.5 billion merger while an FTC administrative law judge holds a parallel proceeding to determine if the deal should be scrapped.

           

          Leave a comment »

          Categories: Antitrust Law and Monopolies, Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

            « Previous Entries   Next Entries »






            © 2009-2015 Constantine Cannon LLP. Attorney Advertising. Disclaimer.