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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  December 6, 2022

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

Spotify CEO renews attack on Apple after Musk’s salvo.  Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek renewed his attack on Apple in a series of tweets alleging the iPhone maker “gives itself every advantage while at the same time stifling innovation and hurting consumers.” Ek tagged a number of sympathetic business leaders in his 21-tweet thread, including Musk, Microsoft president Brad Smith, and Proton founder Andy Yen.  Ek’s salvo follows attacks by the world’s richest person Elon Musk, who criticized the fee Apple charges software developers – including his Twitter business – for in-app purchases, and posted a meme suggesting he was willing to “go to war” rather than pay it. Spotify has previously submitted antitrust complaints against Apple in various countries, alleging the 30% charge has forced Spotify to “artificially inflate” its own prices.

Nokia smartphone maker HMD Global files EU antitrust complaint against VoiceAge EVS.  HMD Global Oy, the exclusive licensee of Nokia-branded smartphones, has filed a complaint to EU antitrust regulators against VoiceAge EVS’s patent practices and royalty rates. Disputes over royalties have dogged the telecoms industry since the last decade. The most high profile were between Apple and Samsung Electronics, and Apple versus Qualcomm which the companies eventually settled among themselves. HMD and VoiceAge EVS, which was set up in 2018 to license Canadian tech company VoiceAge Corp’s enhanced voice services patent portfolio, are fighting in courts in Germany, the United States and Brazil over various patents for technology related to voice calls.

Under Armour, Wilson Sonsini partner clash over antitrust subpoena.  Under Armour Inc has asked a U.S. judge to force a Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati attorney to comply with a subpoena about his partial ownership of an enterprise suing the athletic apparel company in federal court in Pennsylvania. Lawyers for Baltimore-based Under Armour said in a court filing on Wednesday that Wilson Sonsini partner Stu Williams’ status as a lawyer should not impede responding to a subpoena that the sportswear giant issued as part of the litigation. Williams is not a defendant in the case. Williams was described in filings as a principal of Pennsylvania-based Multiple Energy Technologies LLC, which accused Under Armour in 2020 of trying to curb competition in the market for clothing that contains a “recovery enhancing” material called a “bioceramic” powder.