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Antitrust Today

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...

DOJ Statement Is Ray Of Sunshine For Oracle’s Acquisition Of Sun

Posted  11/19/09
The outlook for Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems is only partly cloudy now that federal antitrust enforcers have announced that they will not be joining their European counterparts in opposing the acquisition. The Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice issued a statement on November 9, 2009, concluding that Oracle's proposed acquisition of Sun is unlikely to be...

FTC May Pluck CVS-Caremark Merger For A Second Bite Of Merger Review

Posted  11/18/09
The completed CVS-Caremark merger may be the first fruit to be plucked by federal antitrust enforcers who have indicated a willingness to take second bites at the apple of merger review. Antitrust enforcers in the new administration have expressed an interest in re-examining previously approved mergers to ensure that competition was not compromised.  Christine A. Varney, Assistant Attorney General in charge of...

Varney Talks Tough On Antitrust Enforcement In Health Insurance

Posted  11/17/09
Since her confirmation as the new Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division in April 2009, Christine Varney has delivered a series of speeches that has made clear that the Department of Justice intends to step up antitrust enforcement. One of the areas under increased scrutiny is industry-specific exemptions from the antitrust laws, including the health care insurance industry.  With the heated debate...

Three House Dems Heed Plaintiffs’ Pleading Pleas

Posted  11/13/09
Three Democrats in the House of Representatives are pushing to roll back heightened pleading standards adopted by the Supreme Court that have led to thousands of antitrust and other cases being dismissed at the pleading stage. The legislators are taking aim at two recent Supreme Court decisions that make it more difficult for plaintiffs to have their civil cases heard in federal court.  In an antitrust case, the...

Under China’s New Anti-Monopoly Law, Private Lawsuits Begin To Find Their Legs

Posted  11/12/09
Two recent antitrust cases in China indicate that country may be inching its way toward fulfilling its potential as a modern economy by embracing competition law. It was only in August 2008 that the world’s third largest economy joined the ranks of countries with private competition law regimes with China’s adoption of its new Anti-Monopoly Law (AML). The AML generally resembles the basic framework of the...

In A Twist, Patently Unenforceable Patent Gives Consumers Antitrust Claim

Posted  11/10/09
The Second Circuit’s recent decision in In re DDAVP Antitrust Litigation marks a significant development in the intersection of antitrust and patent law.  Consumers now have greater standing to assert antitrust claims involving unenforceable patents. The Court vacated and remanded a lower court’s dismissal of a purchaser’s antitrust claim against manufacturers for conspiring to keep generic versions of a...

Merck and Schering-Plough Plow Through Antitrust Concerns As They Target Merger By End Of Year

Posted  11/6/09
Merck’s acquisition of Schering-Plough is plowing ahead as the companies addresses competitive concerns raised by antitrust enforcers. In an October 29, 2009, Consent Order, the FTC is permitting the acquisition – which would result in the one of the world’s largest prescription drug companies – to go forward provided the two companies divest of certain assets.  The European Union granted a smooth approval...
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