Category: Legislative Developments
With the Democratic primary process in full swing, we thought it fitting to take a look at where the candidates stand with respect to antitrust issues. As it turns out, this is a fairly active election cycle for antitrust, with most Democratic candidates invoking antitrust laws (and proposed laws) in connection with their visions for the future. The increased focus on antitrust has not been lost on other observers.
Senate Passes the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act, and Takes Another Shot at Increased Protections for Whistleblowers
On November 15, 2017, the United States Senate passed the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act of 2017 (“CAARA”). This Act would amend the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004 (“ACPERA”), and would provide a civil remedy to persons fired or otherwise discriminated against for reporting potential criminal violations of the antitrust laws.
As we noted last month, the FTC has recently been voicing concerns about potentially anticompetitive actions of state professional licensing boards. Our post also discussed the scope of such boards’ immunity from antitrust liability under the Supreme Court’s caselaw.
Last week, a Rhode Island Congressman published a letter he sent to the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee requesting that the committee hold a hearing on the recently-announced Amazon-Whole Foods merger. This post explores when and why Congress holds hearings on particular mergers and what power Congress has to stop a merger.
For the third straight legislative session, the House Judiciary Committee has voted in favor of a bill—the Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules (“SMARTER”) Act—that would amend the Clayton Act and Federal Trade Commission Act to align the standards and processes for the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) and Department of Justice’s (DOJ) review of proposed mergers and acquisitions. The SMARTER Act aims to eliminate the current differences in merger review that companies may face depending on whether the proposed merger is reviewed by the DOJ or the FTC.
On Monday, Australia’s Federal Government released new draft legislation after a panel conducted a review of Australia’s competition laws last year. The proposed revisions consolidate power and discretion with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (the “Commission”) and harmonize some laws with EU competition laws.
It is probably safe to say that most voters in the 2016 presidential election do not view antitrust policy as a key campaign issue. Accordingly, the candidates’ and their parties’ views on competition policy were scarcely, if at all, mentioned during the recent party conventions. However, the parties’ official platforms suggest how the candidates, once in office, would handle competition policy.
On September 23, the Hong Kong Competition Commission (HKCC) released a draft of its “Leniency Policy for Undertakings Engaged in Cartel Conduct.” The draft specifies when the HKCC will refrain from pursuing monetary penalties against an entity in exchange for that entity’s cooperation. The HKCC was created when Hong Kong’s Legislative Council passed a competition ordinance in 2012. The Competition Ordinance applies to any agreement that has the object or effect of preventing, restricting, or distorting competition in Hong Kong, even if the parties and concerted activity are outside of Hong Kong. Over the past three years, the HKCC has slowly released guidelines related to the implementation of the Ordinance. With the release of the leniency policy, the HKCC is on track to begin enforcing the Competition Ordinance in mid-December 2015.
Our Antitrust practice group recently co-authored a series of articles in Inside Counsel discussing major antitrust issues facing in-house counsel today. Our articles expand on topics that we have covered in this blog, including the Actavis litigation, the change in the competition landscape across the globe and antitrust reforms in Europe and Asia, antitrust enforcement in e-commerce, the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners on antitrust liability for professional boards, and the Department of Justice’s recent guidance on antitrust compliance programs.
On July 22, 2015, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that aims to protect whistleblowing employees who report antitrust violations from retaliation by their employers. The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act of 2015 would prohibit employers from retaliating against an employee, contractor, subcontractor, or agent who provides information regarding possible violations of criminal antitrust law to either the employer or the Department of Justice.
The Swiss competition law is governed by the Federal Law of October 6, 1995, on Cartels and Other Restraints of Competition (the Cartel Act). The regulatory framework is accompanied by numerous federal ordinances and communications of the Federal Competition Commission. On February 22, 2012, the Swiss Federal Council submitted to Parliament its draft for a number of amendments of the Cartel Act for approval. On September 17, 2014, the Parliament rejected in its entirety the proposed revision of the Cartel Act.