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Antitrust Today

Focus On Monsanto Highlights Growing DOJ Scrutiny Of Dominant Firms

Posted  12/11/09
It is well known in the antitrust community that the Justice Department is searching for cases to bring against dominant firms that have violated the antitrust laws.  One such firm may be Monsanto.  In fact, the prices of patented seeds sold by agribusiness giant Monsanto, which make up a majority of the seed market for some staple crops, have roughly doubled in the past decade, leading to new scrutiny by the...

House Passes Satellite Home Viewer Extension

Posted  12/11/09
On December 3, the House of Representatives passed a 5-year extension of the compulsory copyright license for satellite television providers.  The bill passed by a vote of 394-11.  The current license is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2009. Chairman John Conyers (D.-Mich.) of the House Judiciary Committee described the other major changes the bill makes:
In addition to simply reauthorizing the license, the...

U.S. Merchants To Receive $1.1 Billion Payment In Landmark Visa/MasterCard Antitrust Litigation

Posted  12/9/09
Yesterday, Constantine Cannon LLP, Lead Counsel for the Class of U.S. merchants in the case captioned In re Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation, announced that Class Members nationwide will be mailed checks this week totaling approximately $1.1 billion as part of a landmark antitrust settlement with Visa and MasterCard over practices related to their signature debit cards. This distribution represents the...

House Judiciary's Consideration Of Leegin Still Pending

Posted  12/7/09
The Committee did not reach the Leegin bill during its December 2 markup, but it has announced that it will be on the agenda again for its December 9 markup. For more information, click here.

News Giant Reuters Making News Of Its Own

Posted  12/2/09
Thomson Reuters is in the news, but probably not for a reason it’s happy about.  The European Commission has opened formal antitrust proceedings against the news and financial data giant concerning a potential infringement of EC Treaty rules on abuse of a dominant market position related to the company’s coding of its real-time market data feeds. Specifically, the EC will investigate whether customers or...

House Judiciary Committee To Consider Leegin Repeal Legislation

Posted  12/1/09

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers (D.-Mich.), has announced that the Committee will meet to consider H.R. 3190 (the “Discount Pricing Consumer Protection Act of 2009”) tomorrow.  The bill would reverse the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision in Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc., 551 U.S. 887 (2007)Leegin overruled a 1911 Supreme Court decision holding...

GAO Follows Congress's Punt On Interchange Fees With Its Own Punt

Posted  12/1/09
The question of whether Congress, or the Federal Reserve, is serious about taking steps to contain the escalating costs of interchange to merchants and consumers has resonated for years.  And for years the stock answer to that question was that such action was unlikely. The outlook for regulatory action seemed to improve last year when the regulatory climate in Washington changed.  It now appears that the...

From Russia, An Antitrust Cooperation Agreement

Posted  11/30/09
Russia’s head antitrust agency, the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (“FAS”), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the United States Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to promote greater cooperation between the two governments on antitrust issues. FAS Head Igor Artemyev, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, and Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Christine Varney signed...

Chase Rips Up Credit Card Arbitration Clauses To Settle Class Action

Posted  11/25/09
JPMorgan Chase bank, one of the world’s largest issuers of credit cards, has announced that it will abandon the controversial practice of mandatory arbitration of cardholder disputes.  The move is part of a settlement reached between Chase and consumers in an antitrust class action challenging the use of such clauses. Like many card issuers, Chase includes language in its cardholders’ contracts that requires...

Arranged Marriage Of Comcast And NBC Stumbles Over One Parent’s Dowry Demand

Posted  11/24/09
General Electric’s attempt to arrange a marriage for its 80-percent owned subsidiary NBC Universal is hitting a snag as NBC’s other parent, Vivendi, demands a greater dowry before it consents to Comcast’s proposal. Even if the marriage of these media giants is arranged, consummation of the deal will still be dependent on review by federal agencies, which will confront such issues as combined control over...
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