The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
U.S.-China trade fight reaches top American court in antitrust case. President Donald Trump’s trade fight with China moved inside the white marble walls of the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, where lawyers for both countries faced off over whether Chinese companies can be held liable for violating U.S. antitrust laws. The nine justices heard arguments in an appeal by two American companies of a lower court ruling that threw out price-fixing claims against two Chinese vitamin C manufacturers based on submissions by China’s government explaining that nation’s regulations. Many of the justices signaled skepticism toward that ruling. The arguments gave both countries a chance to air their differences over an aspect of their trade relationship.
Apple’s Deal for Shazam Is Delayed in Europe Over Data Concerns. If data is the most valuable currency of the digital economy, at what point does a company have so much that it becomes unfair? That’s a question antitrust experts are increasingly asking themselves as the world’s biggest technology companies harvest more and more information about people and businesses. Last week, European regulators pushed the idea forward, announcing an investigation into Apple’s proposed acquisition of the song-identification app Shazam over concerns the iPhone maker would get access to data on competitors like Spotify.
U.S. to seek court approval to terminate ‘outdated’ antitrust judgments. The U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday it plans to seek court approval to terminate “outdated” antitrust judgments that remain on the books throughout the United States. The government said there are nearly 1,300 “legacy” judgments remaining on the books of its Antitrust Division, and nearly all likely remain open in U.S. courts. The Justice Department said the “majority of these judgments no longer protect competition because of changes in industry conditions, changes in economics, changes in law, or for other reasons.”
EU antitrust regulators to investigate metal packaging cartel case. EU antitrust regulators have taken over an investigation into a suspected cartel of metal packaging companies from the German cartel agency because the illegal activity took place in several EU countries and not just in Germany. The Bundeskartellamt raided several companies in March 2015 following a tip-off, targeting makers of tin and aluminium cans used for food and chemicals, as well as manufacturers of vacuum seals for jars. The German watchdog said on Friday it had handed over the case to the European Commission because the alleged cartel affected other EU countries in addition to Germany.