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FTC Temporarily Halts Proposed DraftKings-FanDuel Merger

On June 20, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a temporary restraining order blocking the daily fantasy sports (DFS) companies DraftKings and FanDuel from consummating their proposed merger until the Court rules on a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC alleges … Continue Reading

FTC Suffers Setback in Campaign to Slow the Rising Tide of Healthcare Consolidations

The FTC just suffered a major setback in its concerted efforts to challenge the ever growing number of consolidations in the healthcare industry, failing to secure a preliminary injunction to block a hospital merger in central Pennsylvania.  In a decisive and strongly-worded opinion, the Honorable John Jones III of the Middle District of Pennsylvania concluded … Continue Reading

China’s Anti-Unfair Competition Law Is Poised For An Update

Since 2010, China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) and the State Council Legislative Affairs Office (SCLAO) have been revising China’s Anti-Unfair Competition Law of 1993 (AUCL). This February the SCLAO released a draft revision of the AUCL for public comment. In general, the AUCL is broad, covering unfair trade practices that relate to intellectual … Continue Reading

Higher Filing Thresholds for HSR Act Premerger Notifications and Interlocking Directorates Announced

1. Higher Thresholds For HSR Filings On January 21, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission announced revised, higher thresholds for premerger filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. The filing thresholds are revised annually, based on the change in gross national product and will be effective thirty days after publication in the Federal Register. … Continue Reading

Morton Salt Presumption Of Injury Under Robinson-Patman Act

Plaintiffs and appellants, the disfavored purchasers in a Robinson-Patman Act case, were twenty-eight retail pharmacies who alleged that the pharmaceutical manufacturer defendants had charged them higher prices than those charged since the early 1990s to the favored purchasers, who typically received discounts and rebates. The favored purchasers included HMOs and pharmacy benefit managers, who manage … Continue Reading

Pricing Algorithms and the Digital “Smoke-Filled Room”

On December 3, 2015, the DOJ unsealed an indictment against Daniel William Aston and his company, Trod Ltd. (doing business as Buy 4 Less, Buy For Less, and Buy-For-Less-Online), for conspiring with third-party sellers to fix the prices of posters sold online via Amazon Marketplace. According to the indictment, Aston and his co-conspirators agreed to … Continue Reading

Competition Agencies Urge Virginia to Reconsider Certificate of Need Requirements

In a joint statement issued by the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (collectively, the “Agencies”) late last month, the Agencies suggested Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need Work Group (“Work Group”), currently convened, consider repealing or retrenching Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need (“COPN”) law.[1]… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds That NCAA’s Amateurism Rules Violate Section 1 of the Sherman Act

In a decision handed down on September 30th, the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the District Court’s ruling that the NCAA’s “amateurism” rules unlawfully restrained trade in the market for certain educational and athletic opportunities offered by the NCAA member schools in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. O’Bannon … Continue Reading

The European Commission’s New Pandora’s Box – Reopening Final Tax Rulings as a Form of “State Aid”

In Short The European Commission (Commission) has adopted a decision on 21 October 2015 on the tax rulings – also referred to as “comfort letters” – granted by Luxembourg to Fiat Finance and Trade (FFT) and by The Netherlands to Starbucks. Rejecting the decisions of domestic authorities in Luxembourg and The Netherlands, the Commission concluded … Continue Reading

Evolving Private Remedies for Competition Infringements in Europe: Class Actions in the U.K.

Winds of change are blowing through Europe’s national courts, beginning with a new antitrust damages Directive requiring changes in national laws to facilitate private enforcement of competition law. This step was a major change, and an equally significant development has taken place in the U.K., which will make it even more attractive to private enforcement.  … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Challenge to Alleged Horizontal Adoption of Minimum Advertised Prices

In what has been described as the latest opinion on the use of hub and spoke theories to allege conspiracies in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, the plaintiffs took the position that the viability of their claims depended exclusively on whether they had adequately alleged a horizontal conspiracy. In re: Musical Instruments … Continue Reading

“Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing”: A Sea Change Or Not?

On Thursday, September 10, 2015, Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates delivered remarks announcing a memorandum delivered to all federal prosecutors, including the Antitrust Division: “Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing”. She said the purpose of this memorandum was “to ensure that individual accountability lies at the heart of corporate enforcement strategy.” She outlined “six specific steps” … Continue Reading

The Second Circuit’s Apple Ebooks Opinion

The Second Circuit affirmed the district court and held, 2 to 1, that defendant Apple Inc. had violated Section 1 by masterminding the creation, organization and implementation of a conspiracy by five publishers of ebooks that benefited Apple, as Apple intended, by eliminating retail price competition from Apple’s rival, Amazon, in the sale of ebooks.  … Continue Reading

Cross Subsidization For Purpose Of Enhanced Grocery Sales Through Alleged Below Cost Gasoline Discounts Found Not To Violate California Unfair Practices Act

Injury to competing retail fuel stations is non-actionable where market conditions demonstrate that an “incipient antitrust violation” is not imminent. Dixon Gas Club LLC v. Safeway Inc., Case No. A139283 (Court of Appeal 1st Dist. July 20, 2015) (not for publication).… Continue Reading

FTC “Enforcement Principles” for Section 5 of the FTC Act: Is Something Better than Nothing?

For many years, antitrust practitioners have struggled to understand exactly how the FTC will analyze and enforce Section 5’s prohibition of “unfair methods of competition.”  Counseling clients has been challenging.  In a short one-page release on August 13, 2015, the FTC published its first ever policy statement in an apparent effort to address those uncertainties. … Continue Reading

Regulatory Capture Vitiates State Action Immunity

The Supreme Court has ruled that when an oversight mechanism created by a State—here a State Board—is under the control of those it was supposed to be regulating (sometimes referred to by economists as “regulatory capture”)[1], anticompetitive actions taken by the State Board on its own without further official government review or approval enjoy no … Continue Reading

There Is Potential Federal Inconsistency Over ACOs

On June 4, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued final revisions to regulations governing accountable care organizations participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (“MSSP”). Among them is one explicitly requiring the formation of an ACO as a formal, separate legal entity for governance purposes whenever there are two or more ACO … Continue Reading

Federal Trade Commission Continues March “to Set a Standard for the Industry” with Cephalon Settlement

On May 28, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced it had reached a $1.2 billion settlement with Teva Pharmaceuticals,[1] which acquired Cephalon in 2012, over reverse payment for its narcolepsy drug, Provigil.  The Cephalon settlement also has non-monetary terms that bar Cephalon from entering agreements that include (i) payments to a generic filer and (ii) … Continue Reading

State Regulatory Scheme Offering Antitrust Immunity to Healthcare Collaborations Creates Tension Between Federal and State Antitrust Enforcement

On April 22, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission submitted a public letter to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) expressing “strong concerns” over state regulations offering to provide antitrust immunity to certain healthcare collaborations undertaken with DOH’s approval and supervision.  This letter is consistent with the FTC’s continued opposition to grants of immunity … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Delineates a Structured Rule of Reason Analysis for Evaluating Reverse Payment or Pay-for-Delay Settlements

On May 7, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in In re Cipro Cases I & II, Case No. S198616 (May 7, 2015) (Cipro).  Cipro holds that reverse payment settlements can be challenged under California’s Cartwright Act, thereby reviving class actions filed by California indirect purchasers.  The California Supreme Court, however, went … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Affirms FTC Finding that Rebate Program Served to Unlawfully Maintain Monopoly Power

The Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed a Federal Trade Commission finding that a manufacturer’s rebate program requiring exclusivity from its distributors was an unlawful maintenance of monopoly power under Section 5 of the FTC Act.  McWane, Inc. v. Fed. Trade Comm., No. 14-11363 (11th Cir. April 15, 2015).  The Court found that the rebate program’s practical … Continue Reading
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