Antitrust Update Blog

Antitrust Update Blog is a source of insights, information and analysis on criminal and civil antitrust and competition-related issues. Patterson Belknapā€™s antitrust lawyers represent clients in antitrust litigation and counseling matters, including those related to pricing, marketing, distribution, franchising, and joint ventures and other strategic alliances.

Recent Blog Posts

  • What’s Ahead in 2021 for Reverse-Payment Settlement Litigation Litigation concerning reverse-payment settlements remains active. In the coming year, we expect to see material developments regarding treatment of non-monetary settlements of underlying patent litigation, as courts continue to grapple with what constitutes a “large and unjustified” payment. Likewise, we expect further insights regarding the admissibility of expert opinions concerning the likelihood of success of the underlying patent litigation.  Read our recent article on this subject here.... More
  • Major Development in BCBS Association Antitrust Litigation Antitrust litigation has been ongoing for several years in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama against one of the biggest business associations in America, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (“BCBSA”) and its members.  We previously wrote about this litigation here and here.  BCBSA is comprised of independent health insurers that license the “Blue Cross” and “Blue Shield” trademarks from BCBSA.  As a condition of their licenses, BCBSA members grant each member exclusive geographic territories where... More
  • Does HHS’s Elimination of the Safe Harbor for Manufacturer Rebates Leave Manufacturers with Increased Antitrust Risk? On November 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) finalized a rule to take effect in 2022, which eliminates the safe harbor under the federal anti-kickback statute for manufacturer rebates to Medicare Part D plan sponsors.  Under the current statutory scheme, drug manufacturers may negotiate rebates with providers of pharmacy benefits—either directly or through a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM)—in exchange for preferential placement or avoiding being disadvantaged on a PBM’s or provider’s drug formulary.  The safe... More
  • Antitrust Plaintiffs Complain of Patent “Thickets” For years, antitrust commentators have warned of threats to innovation and competition posed by “thickets” of patents—the “dense web[s] of overlapping intellectual property rights that a company must hack its way through in order to actually commercialize new technology.”  See Carl Shapiro, “Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard-Setting” (March 2001), available at At least one judge on the Federal Circuit has also noted concern about this issue.  E.g. Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Symantec Corp.,... More
  • Impax Oral Argument at Fifth Circuit Reveals Thorny Issues and Uncertain Outcome On June 9, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit heard oral argument in Impax Laboratories, Inc., Etc. v. Federal Trade Commission.  The appeal by pharmaceutical manufacturer Impax marks the first time a court will review the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) interpretation of the Supreme Court’s watershed decision on reverse payment settlements, FTC v. Actavis, 570 U.S. 136 (2013). Reversing the decision of the ALJ who presided over the administrative trial, the FTC concluded that Impax... More
  • The Democratic Presidential Candidates and Antitrust 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. Perhaps the candidate most explicitly focused on the nuts and bolts... More
  • The New Brandeis School Manifesto As this blog has previously reported, new strains of thought about antitrust law are blossoming in the United States.  The “New Brandeisians” challenge the Chicago School “consumer welfare” standard that has dominated policymaking for decades.  They assert that the authors of the statutes that form the backbone of American antitrust law were primarily focused on the manifold danger of concentrated market power beyond simply the economic effects on the ultimate consumer. As their critiques have gained more attention, so have... More
  • 2019 Pharmaceutical Antitrust Round-Up: A Year in Pay for Delay [Part 2] Yesterday we discussed 2019’s most significant developments in challenges to reverse-payment settlements.  Today we continue our analysis of recent trends in pharmaceutical antitrust actions with a discussion of cases addressing class certification requirements in the reverse-payment context. Class Certification Rulings Courts in 2019 addressed Rule 23(b)(3)’s predominance requirement in connection with class damages in antitrust class actions.  Two courts permitted plaintiffs to proceed with class-wide aggregate damage models that allow broad variations in drug pricing for direct purchasers, but a... More
  • 2019 Pharmaceutical Antitrust Round-Up: A Year in Pay for Delay [Part 1] 2019 witnessed a number of developments in challenges to reverse-payment settlements.  In its first decision on a pay-for-delay settlement since the Supreme Court’s seminal 2013 decision in FTC v. Actavis, the FTC took an aggressive approach to evaluating a plausible restraint on trade and analyzing proffered procompetitive benefits, reversing the ALJ who heard the case.  In the Southern District of New York, an attempt by direct purchasers to plead a conspiracy arising out patent-infringement settlements without an alleged reverse payment... More
  • Update: DOJ Announces It Will Move to Lower the Curtain on 70-Year-Old Paramount Consent Decrees Last October, we discussed the Department of Justice’s announcement that it would be revisiting the 1948 Paramount Consent Decrees, a series of movie-studio concessions and divestments resulting from a landmark antitrust prosecution, United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., 334 U.S. 131 (1948).  Among other things, those decrees held unlawful the then-existing vertical integration of production studios, distributors, and exhibitors (i.e., theaters) and held various prevailing practices—“block booking” (bundling movie licenses and strong-arming theaters into accepting all of a studio’s movies);... More