The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
47 Attorneys General Back Antitrust Probe Into Facebook. Facebook’s latest foes: nearly every U.S. state. A state-level antitrust investigation into the social networking giant now has the backing of a bipartisan group of 47 attorneys general, New York Attorney General Letitia James said Tuesday. The Democrat launched the probe last month with seven other states and the District of Columbia. It focuses on whether Facebook’s dominance is stifling competition, limiting choice for consumers and costing advertisers more money.
Intel files antitrust case against SoftBank-backed firm over patent practices. Chipmaker Intel Corp. has filed an antitrust lawsuit against a SoftBank Group Corp-owned investment company alleging the firm stockpiled patents to hold up technology companies with numerous lawsuits. The complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose alleged that Fortress Investment Group, which SoftBank bought in 2017 for $3.3 billion, acquired control of more than 1,000 U.S. technology patents. Intel said that Fortress and other companies it owns or controls filed lawsuits against the Santa Clara chipmaker claiming that nearly every Intel processor made since 2011 infringed patents the companies had obtained control of from NXP Semiconductors.
U.S. Justice Department bolsters antitrust staff to work on online platform probe. The Justice Department beefed up its online platform investigation team on Wednesday by adding Ryan Shores, formerly a partner with an international law firm, to help oversee its probe of Alphabet’s Google, Facebook and other big tech firms. Shores, who comes from the law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP, was named to join the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, which oversees the Antitrust Division, among others, the department said. At Shearman, Shores, who had clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, focused on antitrust and other complex litigation in federal and state courts.