Antitrust Update

Visit the Full Blog

Antitrust Update Blog is a source of insights, information and analysis on criminal and civil antitrust and competition-related issues. Patterson Belknap’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. We have significant experience with government civil and criminal/cartel investigations, providing the unique perspectives of former top U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division lawyers from both the civil and criminal sides.

Disagreeing with D.C. Circuit Colleagues, Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Would Have Rejected Challenges to Major Mergers in Antitrust Enforcement Actions

On Monday, President Trump announced Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.  Judge Kavanaugh’s most notable antitrust-related decisions in his 12 years on the federal bench include the dissents he issued in United States v. Anthem, Inc. and FTC v. Whole Foods Market, Inc.  In both cases, Judge Kavanaugh disagreed with his colleagues’ decisions to block the contemplated mergers, suggesting an antitrust jurisprudence leery of excessive enforcement activity. 

Go

On Judicial Review Rebound, Court Finds NCAA Compensation Rules Challenge May Proceed

In late March, a district court in the Northern District of California partially granted and partially denied dueling summary judgment motions in an MDL class action—In re NCAA Athletic Grant-In-Aid Cap Antitrust Litigationchallenging the National Collegiate Basketball Association’s student athlete compensation-cap rules as a violation of Section One of the Sherman Antitrust Act.  Defendants—the NCAA and eleven member athletic conferences—previously reached a $208 million settlement with the consolidated plaintiffs, which the court approved in December 2017.  Claims for injunctive relief remain pending, however—and, as a result of the District Court’s ruling, will proceed to a bench trial currently scheduled for December 2018.  (Defendants have asked to postpone the trial until mid-2019; the court will hear argument on that motion later this month.) 

Go

As Germany Targets Facebook’s Data Collection, DOJ Antitrust Division Suggests Friendlier Approach to Data-Powered Digital Market Leaders

Information can be an invaluable asset.  This is especially evident in the technology sector, where companies use increasingly sophisticated methods to collect, aggregate, and analyze data.  Exclusive possession of data can, of course, confer significant competitive advantages—but may also prompt legal challenges from competitors or scrutiny from regulators.  Authorities in France and Germany have investigations underway into whether the collection and use of consumer data by major online platforms including Facebook and Google are having anticompetitive effects.  And on December 19, 2017, Germany’s competition authority—the Bundeskartellamt— informed Facebook that it “holds the view that Facebook is abusing [a dominant market position] by making the use of its social network conditional on its being allowed to limitlessly amass every kind of data generated by using third-party websites and merge it with the user’s Facebook account.”

Go