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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  December 14, 2020

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

Facebook antitrust cases assigned to U.S. judges named by Obama.  Lawsuits filed against Facebook Inc. by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and nearly every U.S. state on Wednesday were assigned to two U.S. judges in Washington appointed by former President Barack Obama, federal court records released Friday show.  The antitrust complaint from 46 states, the District of Columbia and Guam was assigned to Judge James E. Boasberg who has been on the court since 2011, while the FTC complaint was assigned to Judge Christopher Cooper, who has been on the court since 2014.

Fighters Win Key Ruling in Case That Could Upend U.F.C.’s Business.  A federal judge said on Thursday that he would make an important procedural ruling in favor of a group of mixed martial artists who are suing the Ultimate Fighting Championship, accusing it of abusing monopoly power to suppress fighter pay.  The lawsuit, which will be granted class action status, could eventually cost the U.F.C. billions of dollars, fundamentally alter the world of mixed martial arts and establish new antitrust case law.

China to adopt ‘positive and prudent’ approach towards fintech sector, regulator says.  China will adopt a “positive and prudent” approach towards the rapid growth of its financial technology industry and will watch over “too big to fail” cases in the sector, the head of its banking and insurance regulator said on Tuesday.  “Some big techs operate cross-sector business with financial and technology activities under one roof,” said Guo Shuqing via video at the Singapore Fintech Festival that is being held over Dec. 7-11.  “It is necessary to closely follow the spillover of those complicated risks and take timely and targeted measures to prevent new systematic risks.”  Beijing wants to also strengthen its oversight of the sector and has drafted rules that apply to micro-lending and anti-monopoly behavior that will impact many of the companies currently involved in the industry.

German antitrust regulator probes linking of Oculus with Facebook network.  Germany’s antitrust regulator has started abuse proceedings against Facebook to examine the linking of Oculus virtual reality products with the social network and its platform.  “In the future, the use of the new Oculus glasses requires the user to also have a Facebook account.  Linking virtual reality products and the group’s social network in this way could constitute a prohibited abuse of dominance by Facebook,” federal cartel office President Andreas Mundt said in a statement on Thursday.

Edited by Gary J. Malone

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