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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  April 1, 2019

Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

Warren, Klobuchar Agree on Breaking Up Big Ag.  Democratic presidential contenders Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar expressed support Saturday for strengthening antitrust laws and enforcement to break up big agriculture monopolies. “You’ve got these giant corporations that are making bigger and bigger profits … and they’re putting the squeeze on family farms and small farms,” Warren said at the Heartland Forum, which was focused on rural issues. The U.S. senator from Massachusetts called for breaking up some of the biggest farming corporations “so that they not only do not have that kind of economic power, so that they’re wiping out competition, so they’re taking all the profits for themselves … but also so that they don’t have that kind of political power.”

Apple, Qualcomm gird for next phase of patent battle after mixed U.S. rulings.  Split decisions on Tuesday by a U.S. government panel in acrimonious patent disputes between iPhone-maker Apple and chip supplier Qualcomm left their battle lines largely unchanged ahead of a U.S Federal Trade Commission ruling and a major trial next month. The International Trade Commission, a government agency empowered to hear disputes over patented technology, issued a final ruling in one case that went in Apple’s favor while an ITC administrative judge made a non-binding recommendation that supported Qualcomm in another. In both cases Qualcomm Inc. sought to have imports of Apple Inc. iPhone 7, 8 and X models containing chips made by Intel Corp. banned. Because iPhones are made overseas, banning imports would choke Apple’s sales of the phones in the United States. The two American companies have been locked for two years in a legal dispute in which Apple has accused Qualcomm of unfair patent licensing practices, and Qualcomm has accused Apple of patent infringement.

Trump’s Pick for No. 3 Post at Justice Dept. Withdraws From Consideration.  Jessie K. Liu has withdrawn herself from consideration for the No. 3 spot at the Justice Department, the department said on Thursday. Earlier this month, President Trump planned to nominate Ms. Liu, who currently is the United States attorney for the District of Columbia, as associate attorney general, who is the department’s third-ranking official and oversees the civil division. The job would have given Ms. Liu broad oversight over civil rights, antitrust and environmental matters, and she would have supervised the Justice Department division that acts as the government’s law firm in civil matters.

Daimler asks EU antitrust regulators to probe Nokia patents.  German carmaker Daimler has complained to EU antitrust regulators about Nokia patents essential to car communications, a move underlining the tensions between tech companies and the car industry on the use of key technologies. Tech companies and mobile telecoms providers are playing an increasingly important role in the auto industry, with their technologies used in navigation systems, vehicle-to-vehicle communication and self-driving cars. Daimler confirmed that it had lodged a complaint with the European Commission against Nokia.

Tagged in: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues,

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