The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Drivers’ Lawsuit Claims Uber and Lyft Violate Antitrust Laws. A group of drivers claimed that Uber and Lyft are engaging in anticompetitive practices by setting the prices customers pay and limiting drivers’ ability to choose which rides they accept without penalty. The drivers, supported by the advocacy group Rideshare Drivers United, made the novel legal argument in a state lawsuit that targets the long-running debate about the job status of gig economy workers. For years, Uber and Lyft have argued that their drivers should be considered independent contractors rather than employees under labor laws, meaning they would be responsible for their own expenses and not typically eligible for unemployment insurance or health benefits. But in their complaint, which was filed in Superior Court in San Francisco and seeks class-action status, three drivers claim that Uber and Lyft, while treating them as independent contractors, have not truly given them independence and are trying to avoid giving drivers the benefits and protections of employment status while setting restrictions on the way they work.
Intel seeks $624 mln in interest from EU after antitrust fine win. U.S. chipmaker Intel has filed a claim for 593 million euros ($624 million) in interest from the European Commission, five months after it convinced Europe’s second-top court to scrap a 1.06-billion-euro EU antitrust fine, an EU filing showed. Europe’s top court paved the way for such damage demands last year in a landmark ruling which ordered the EU executive to pay default interest on reimbursed fines in annulled antitrust cases. Judges said late payment of interest will itself incur interest as well. Intel in its application to the Luxembourg-based General Court said the Commission, which acts as the competition watchdog in the 27-country European Union, had refused to reimburse the company the default interest.
EU antitrust regulators to probe if Vifor Pharma disparages rival. EU antitrust regulators launched an investigation into possible anti-competitive disparagement by Vifor Pharma of its closest rival Pharmacosmos in an apparent attempt to hinder competition against its iron medicine. The European Commission said it has indications of this behavior going on for many years.