Antitrust Update Blog

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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.

What Is the Appropriate Market for Analyzing Amazon’s Alleged Power?

The current debate over whether Amazon holds the power of a monopolist or a monopsonist is likely to be narrowed to one question in a court room:  What is the relevant product market that Amazon is allegedly dominating?  Since our last post on the Amazon and Hachette dispute, there has been increased discussion in the general press, culminating with 2008 Nobel Prize winner for economics Paul Krugman telling readers of the New York Times that Amazon is a monopsonist.


American Express: Key Insights as Trial Ends

The long trial in United States v. American Express has come to an end: on September 18, 2014, the parties exchanged post-trial briefing and on October 9, 2014, the court held oral argument. News reports suggest that the Court (Judge Garaufis in the Eastern District of New York) was looking for ways to avoid court intervention (including urging the parties to settle) and suggest that, if it did find an antitrust violation, the Court would consider holding additional proceedings to determine the appropriate remedies.


Reverse Payments, Actavis, and the Lower Courts at Sea, Part 1: What Is a Reverse Payment?

The intersection of IP and antitrust has always been fraught.  The raison-d’être of the Sherman, Clayton, and FTC Acts is to bust trusts and promote competition.  Meanwhile, intellectual property laws create lawful exclusionary rights.

This series will explore one particular point of tension: the battle over “reverse payment settlements” pursuant to which the plaintiff in a patent infringement action agrees to “pay” the alleged infringer to keep the infringer’s product off the market for a period of time.  In these “pay-for-delay” arrangements, the province of the pharmaceuticals industry, the settling parties are a brand-name drug manufacturer and the maker of a generic equivalent.


Does Market Share Still Matter?

The DOJ’s ongoing civil trial challenging American Express’s merchant rules as a violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act may clarify the significance of market share calculations.

At issue in the case are Amex’s rules barring merchants from steering consumers to cards that charge lower merchant processing fees.  


How Would Hachette Frame an Antitrust Suit Against Amazon?

Amazon and the publisher Hachette are engaged in a fierce dispute over the pricing of e-books sold by Amazon.  At issue is how the profits from the sale of e-books should be divided between Amazon and the publisher and who should bear the impact of Amazon’s discounting of e-books.  


Advice for In-House Counsel: Four Steps for Handling an Antitrust Subpoena or CID

The news is filled with stories about government investigations into possible violations of the antitrust laws: alleged anti-competitive conduct by Google, price fixing by Apple and bid rigging by large financial institutions.  In-house counsel should be prepared to respond quickly if your company is served with either a subpoena – signifying a criminal investigation – or civil investigative demand (“CID”).


Welcome to Our Blog

We are pleased to announce the launch of Antitrust Update, Patterson Belknap’s new resource for the latest news and happenings in the antitrust and competition law arena.