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Antitrust Insights and Analysis

States Take Charge In Seeking to Block Merger of T-Mobile and Sprint

Posted  06/25/19
By James J. Kovacs
The unusual effort by more than a dozen state attorneys general to stop T-Mobile’s acquisition of its rival Sprint is perhaps most noteworthy for the antitrust enforcer that is not in the courtroom—the U.S. Department of Justice. As he was scheduling trial for October 7, 2019, United States District Court Judge Victor Marrero said what was on everyone’s mind:  “The elephant not in the room is the Justice...

The First Blockchain Antitrust Case. Or Is It?

Posted  05/29/19
By Kristian Soltes
Legal professionals paying close attention to the still nascent world of blockchains and cyptocurrencies are following what is considered to be the first antitrust case involving cryptocurrencies. For enthusiasts, United American Corp. v. Bitmain, Inc. involves the self-described inventor of bitcoin on one side, the operator of bitcoin.com on the other side, the world’s largest mining pools, and the Bitcoin Cash...

The FTC’s Victory in the Qualcomm Case Highlights the Big Competition-Policy Issue at the Center of the DOJ’s and FTC’s Tiny Spat

Posted  05/22/19
By Ankur Kapoor
A San Francisco federal court ruled yesterday that Qualcomm’s decades-long “no license, no chips” business practices violated federal antitrust law. The case promises to be a watershed moment for what it means for tech companies to license standard-essential patents on a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (“FRAND”) basis. Judge Lucy Koh’s decision is also likely to be a watershed moment for what...

Will Apple’s Crackdown On Third-Party Apps Continue With iOS 13?

Posted  05/16/19
By Grant Petrosyan
Over the past year, Apple has removed or imposed restrictions on at least 11 of the 17 most downloaded screen-time and parental-control apps on the iOS App Store. Apple began its “crackdown” on this category of apps around the same time it released iOS 12, which introduced Apple’s own screen-time tracking tool, Screen Time. Next month, Apple will debut iOS 13. Bloomberg, CNET, and others have already provided...

Apple v. Pepper: Supreme Court Rejects Attempt to Block Consumer Claims Under Indirect-Purchaser Rule

Posted  05/15/19
By Harrison J. McAvoy
The Supreme Court on Monday issued a much-anticipated decision in the Apple v. Pepper case, where iPhone owners are accusing Apple of monopolizing the retail market for iOS applications, or apps. The Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, holding that iPhone owners have standing to pursue a claim for damages against Apple under the federal antitrust laws. The decision has significant implications in terms of both...

Federal Court Extends Tunney Act Review to Embrace Mini-Trial on DOJ Settlement of CVS-Aetna Merger

Posted  05/3/19
By James J. Kovacs
In a rather extraordinary move, United States District Court Judge Richard J. Leon has ordered a mini-trial to determine whether the  U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) settlement green-lighting the merger of CVS Health and Aetna is in the public interest. To date, no federal court has ordered a Tunney Act hearing with testimony from various concerned non-parties.  While it remains to be seen whether the...

Plaintiffs Targeting Biologic-Biosimilars Settlements with Pay-for-Delay Antitrust Claims

Posted  04/18/19
By James J. Kovacs
Antitrust principles that can invalidate certain pay-for-delay settlements will be expanding into the new frontier of biologic and biosimilar drugs if plaintiffs in several new suits are successful. Recently-filed antitrust lawsuits against AbbVie, manufacturer of a leading biologic drug, Humira, and numerous biosimilar manufacturers are alleging that settlements between the AbbVie and various biosimilar...

Duke Settles Class Action Alleging “No-Poach” Conspiracy with UNC

Posted  04/11/19
By Ethan E. Litwin and J. Wyatt Fore -- While Duke University and the University of North Carolina (“UNC”) may be fierce sporting rivals on “Tobacco Road,” their alleged agreement not to compete for medical school faculty demonstrates how easily competing employers can find themselves ensnared in an antirust briar patch. It is now being reported that Duke has settled Seaman v. Duke University, a class...

Visa’s Proposed Acquisition of Earthport – A Good Test for Antitrust in the 21st Century

Posted  04/10/19
By Jeffrey I. Shinder
As the 2020 Presidential election begins to heat up, something unusual is happening – antitrust policy is being bandied about as an election issue.  The reason for this is simple.  We live in an era of increasing concentrations of wealth and industrial power.  While the impulse to look at antitrust as part of the solution makes perfect sense, many of the proposals on the table, including the suggestion by one...

Avoiding the Antitrust Pitfalls of No-Poach Agreements: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Posted  04/10/19
By J. Wyatt Fore
As federal antitrust enforcers have targeted so-called “no-poach” agreements in recent years, it has become increasingly important for employers in all industries to learn about the risks of entering into agreements that limit their competition for employees.  Here are the answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the exposure of such no-poach agreements to antitrust enforcement. We have prepared...
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