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This paper focuses on two related questions at the intersection of antitrust and intellectual property law. First, under what circumstances must the holder of a patent or…
This paper focuses on two related questions at the intersection of antitrust and intellectual property law. First, under what circumstances must the holder of a patent or a copyright or the owner of a trade secret allow others to use that intellectual property? Second, under what circumstances can the holder of an intellectual property right use that right to make it difficult for another party to succeed in a related market? These questions have vexed antitrust and intellectual property scholars alike ever since the Federal Circuit ruled in 2000 that patent holders “may enforce the statutory right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the claimed invention free from liability under the antitrust laws,” a ruling that directly contradicted the Ninth Circuit ruling that antitrust liability could be imposed for almost identical conduct, depending on the motivations of the patent holder. The various proceedings in United States v. Microsoft only added fuel to the firestorm of controversy.After briefly retracing the jurisprudential path to see how this situation arose, we propose a solution that primarily involves a variation on the real property concept of adverse possession for the intellectual property space along with a slight extension of the Essential Facilities Doctrine for industries that exhibit network effects. We examine, both for firms with and without market power, how our proposal would resolve the situations presented by large fixed asset purchases, the introduction of entirely new products, and operating systems with network effects. We also demonstrate how our proposal could be applied in the European antitrust enforcement context.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, Inc. is a challenge to conventional antitrust analysis. Conventional civil antitrust cases are decided…
The Supreme Court’s decision in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, Inc. is a challenge to conventional antitrust analysis. Conventional civil antitrust cases are decided by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that conduct challenged under the rule of reason is only condemned if the conduct resulted in more competitive harm in the actual world than a world without the alleged violation. Under conventional analysis, the intent of the parties also plays only a supporting role in determining whether the conduct was anticompetitive. A holder of a valid patent has a right to exclude others practicing the patented technology. And, the patent holder is not assumed to have market power because it expended resources in maintaining exclusionary rights. Actavis creates doubts about these propositions in circumstances beyond the “reverse” payment settlement of a patent suit that may have delayed an alleged infringer market entry. This chapter explores whether applying Actavis logic to antitrust litigation can result in condemnation of practices where there is little chance of an anticompetitive effect, where the patent holder likely has a valid and infringed patent, where there is little reason to believe that the patent holder has market power, and where only one party, or no parties, to an agreement have an anticompetitive intent. This chapter also investigates whether Actavis creates new problems with standing analysis, damages calculations, and the balancing of efficiencies against anticompetitive effects. Nevertheless, the lower courts have begun to extend the logic of Actavis. This is apparent in the condemnation of no-Authorized-generic settlements.
This is the first paper in a volume devoted exclusively to antitrust law and economics. It summarizes the other papers and addresses two issues. First, after showing that the federal courts generally view consumer welfare as the ultimate goal of antitrust law, it asks what they mean by that term. It concludes that recent decisions appear more likely to equate consumer welfare with the well-being of consumers in the relevant market than with economic efficiency. Second, it asks whether a buyer must possess monopsony power to induce a price discrimination that is not cost justified. It concludes that a buyer can often obtain an unjustified concession simply by wielding bargaining power, but the resulting concession may frequently – though not always – improve consumer welfare.
The Bureau of Economics in the Federal Trade Commission has a three-part role in the Agency and the strength of its functions changed over time depending on the preferences and ideology of the FTC’s leaders, developments in the field of economics, and the tenor of the times. The over-riding current role is to provide well considered, unbiased economic advice regarding antitrust and consumer protection law enforcement cases to the legal staff and the Commission. The second role, which long ago was primary, is to provide reports on investigations of various industries to the public and public officials. This role was more recently called research or “policy R&D”. A third role is to advocate for competition and markets both domestically and internationally. As a practical matter, the provision of economic advice to the FTC and to the legal staff has required that the economists wear “two hats,” helping the legal staff investigate cases and provide evidence to support law enforcement cases while also providing advice to the legal bureaus and to the Commission on which cases to pursue (thus providing “a second set of eyes” to evaluate cases). There is sometimes a tension in those functions because building a case is not the same as evaluating a case. Economists and the Bureau of Economics have provided such services to the FTC for over 100 years proving that a sub-organization can survive while playing roles that sometimes conflict. Such a life is not, however, always easy or fun.
The first contribution to this section is by Richard Schmalensee titled “Thoughts on the Chicago school legacy in U.S. antitrust.” It appears the purpose of this essay is…
The first contribution to this section is by Richard Schmalensee titled “Thoughts on the Chicago school legacy in U.S. antitrust.” It appears the purpose of this essay is to set up a target for the rest of the contributors to shoot at – a target that is emphatically pro-Chicago. In his essay, Schmalensee reviews some of the aspects of U.S. antitrust policy that outraged Chicago school lawyers and economists in the 1970s. He takes a brief look at some of Chicago's subsequent victories that he claims are now generally accepted as positive changes. And finally, he argues that some of Chicago's lost battles also constitute positive aspects of its legacy. His discussion is focused on four broad issues: the objectives of antitrust, the past policy toward “no-fault” concentration, the treatment of productive efficiency, and the evaluation of non-standard business conduct (pp. 11–12).
In 2009, the Third Circuit decided Hydrogen Peroxide, which announced a more rigorous standard under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) for assessing whether a…
In 2009, the Third Circuit decided Hydrogen Peroxide, which announced a more rigorous standard under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) for assessing whether a putative class could establish antitrust injury. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court decided Comcast v. Behrend, a case that carries potentially broad implications for both antitrust cases and Rule 23(b)(3) class actions generally. A review of the case law starting with Hydrogen Peroxide and continuing through Comcast and its progeny reveals the new rigor in antitrust class action decisions and suggests what the future may hold, including the type of arguments that may provide defendants the most likely chance of defeating class certification. After Comcast, rigor under 23(b)(3) can no longer be avoided in assessing all class actions questions, and courts should now apply Daubert fully in the class setting concerning both impact and damages. Courts should also closely evaluate plaintiffs’ proposed methodologies for proving impact to determine if they apply to each class member. Finally, courts will inevitably have to determine how rigorously to scrutinize experts’ damages methodologies and whether Comcast requires or suggests more scrutiny in assessing common evidence for measuring damages.
In class action antitrust litigation, the standards for acceptable economic analysis at class certification have continued to evolve. The most recent event in this…
In class action antitrust litigation, the standards for acceptable economic analysis at class certification have continued to evolve. The most recent event in this evolution is the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S. Ct. 1435 (2013). The evolution of pre-Comcast law on this topic is presented, the Comcast decision is thoroughly assessed, as are the standards for developing reliable economic analysis. This article explains how economic evidence of both antitrust liability and damages ought to be developed in light of the teachings of Comcast, and how liability evidence can be used by economists to support a finding of common impact for certification purposes. In addition, the article addresses how statistical techniques such as averaging, price-dispersion analysis, and multiple regressions have and should be employed to establish common proof of damages.