The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
McDonald’s should face lawsuit over no-poach pacts, says Biden admin. The Biden administration has urged a U.S. appeals court to revive claims that McDonald’s Corp violated federal antitrust law by requiring franchisees to agree not to hire away employees from corporate-owned stores. The U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission in a joint brief told the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that McDonald’s “no-poach” agreements were unlawful on their face, and a federal judge should have required the company to show that they were a necessary feature of franchise agreements before dismissing a pair of consolidated lawsuits. Two former McDonald’s workers are appealing a June ruling by U.S. District Judge Jorge Alonso in Chicago that dismissed their proposed class actions, which claim the agreements stifled competition and depressed their wages.
Dozens of U.S. states back FTC challenge to Meta’s Within deal. Twenty-three states including New York and California said they support the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s bid to stop Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc from buying virtual reality content maker Within Unlimited Inc, saying the deal would reduce industry competition and harm consumers. The states filed their friend-of-the-court brief in San Jose, California, federal court, where the FTC in July asked a federal judge to bar Meta’s acquisition of Los Angeles-based Within. Facebook last year agreed to buy private company Within, developer of the popular virtual-reality based fitness app Supernatural.
EU antitrust regulators about to charge Meta, sources say. EU antitrust regulators are drawing up charges against Facebook parent Meta over its use of customer data and the tying of its classified advertisements service to its social network, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be named. The European Commission, which can impose fines up to 10% of a company’s global turnover for antitrust violations and Meta declined to comment. The Commission began an investigation into the social network company in June last year. Britain’s competition agency also began an enquiry on the same day.
Intel loses bid to revive antitrust case against patent foe Fortress. Intel Corp failed to show that Fortress Investment Group LLC violated federal antitrust law by allegedly stockpiling patents and threatening tech companies with them, a U.S. appeals court. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a California federal court’s decision to dismiss Intel’s lawsuit, finding no evidence that SoftBank Group Corp-backed Fortress’ conduct had anticompetitive effects. Intel was hit with a $2.2 billion verdict last year in a Texas patent dispute with Fortress-affiliated VLSI Technology LLC. Intel fended off VLSI’s bid for more than $3 billion more in a second infringement trial last year.
Edited by Gary J. Malone