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SmithKline Beecham Breathes Easier As Class Is Delayed In Nasal Spray Antitrust Suit

Posted  07/19/10
SmithKline Beecham Corp. may be breathing a little easier for now as a result of a temporary denial of class certification in the antitrust litigation that seeks to hold the pharmaceutical company liable for delaying generic versions of the nasal spray Flonase. Judge Anita B. Brody of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ordered the plaintiffs to rebrief their motion by September 30 in...

iPhone Antitrust Suit Clears Class Certification Hurdle

Posted  07/14/10
Judge James Ware of the Northern District of California has granted a motion for certification of a class of iPhone consumers in an antitrust suit against Apple and AT&T.  An estimated 15 to 20 million U.S. iPhone purchasers are potential members of the class. Filed in 2007, the suit alleges that Apple and AT&T secretly agreed to restrict iPhone service for five years.  Although plaintiffs purchased a two-year...

EU Court Upholds Fines Against Plasterboard Cartel For Walling Up Competition

Posted  07/9/10
Europe’s highest court, the EU Court of Justice (ECJ), has upheld a fine of 85.8 million euros (approximately $100 million) against the German company Knauf Gips KG for participating in a plasterboard price-fixing cartel. The cartel consisted of Knauf Gips KG, France’s Lafarge SA, Britain’s BPB Plc, and Belgium’s Gyproc Benelux.  The decision upholds part of the European Commission’s November 27, 2002,...

AstraZeneca Finds Little Antitrust Relief From EU In Heartburn Drug Case

Posted  07/7/10
The General Court of the European Union has upheld a 2005 ruling by the European Commission that AstraZeneca engaged in anticompetitive behavior to shield its anti-ulcer and heartburn drug, Losec, from competition by blocking generic copies from entering the market. The Commission fined AstraZeneca 60 million euros ($74 million), which the Court reduced to the still significant amount of 52.5 million euros. The...

Canada Sends In Task Force To Tackle “Bewildering” Payments System

Posted  06/30/10
Canada is attempting to get a handle on the bewildering explosion in new payment technologies with a task force. Canada's Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, has announced the launch of a new Task Force for the Payments System Review.  As Flaherty commented, consumers today can make payments in “a bewildering number of ways, even by tapping a cell phone against a scanner.” One of the Task Force’s main...

China Edges Into Antitrust Enforcement With Break Up Of Price-Fixing Cartel

Posted  06/28/10
While no one may be predicting China will be the antitrust powerhouse of the 21st Century, its days as an antitrust neophyte appear to be ending. China’s National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) of China has levied fines and administrative penalties against more than 20 producers of rice noodles.  This enforcement action represents the first application of Article 13 of China’s Anti-Monopoly Law...

House-Senate Conferees Take Aim At Debit Cards

Posted  06/23/10
The House-Senate Conference Committee considering financial services reform legislation is on the verge of adopting provisions that could shake up the world of debit cards. After much controversy and intense lobbying by merchants and banks, key conferees have announced an agreement that preserves most of the Durbin Amendment and, remarkably, adds a critical and potentially groundbreaking new prohibition aimed at...

Banks Enlist Proxies To Fight Durbin Amendment’s Curb On Debit Card Fees

Posted  06/21/10
Recognizing that “credit card companies” and “Wall Street banks” may not have the most sympathetic political image these days, the payment card industry has enlisted small financial institutions as proxies to undercut support for Senator Dick Durbin’s (D.-IL) amendment giving the Federal Reserve the power to scrutinize fees imposed on merchants accepting debit cards. Durbin’s amendment was incorporated...

Gulf Crisis Trumps Antitrust Concerns

Posted  06/18/10
Cooperation among competitors is usually the kind of activity that raises antitrust concerns.  However, with thousands of barrels of dirty crude oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico on a daily basis, the head of Federal Trade Commission is seeking to ease concerns that cooperation among competing energy companies to help the federal government solve the crisis in the Gulf would face scrutiny under federal antitrust...

Canadian Supremes Nix DRAM Makers’ Appeal

Posted  06/16/10
The Supreme Court of Canada has denied defendants leave to appeal from the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s certification decision in Pro-Sys Consultants Ltd. v Infineon Technologies AG – the DRAM price-fixing class action. The B.C. Court of Appeal's earlier decision certifying a class of direct and indirect purchasers of DRAMs (semiconductor memory chips also known as “dynamic random access memory”)...
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