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Merchants On Verge Of Big Win In Debit And Credit Card Fee War

Posted  05/25/10
Merchants in the United States are on the verge of a significant victory in their long struggle to limit credit and debit card fees. The Senate has approved an amendment to its financial reform bill that curtails the power of the card issuers in significant ways, including requiring that the “interchange fees” charged by banks on fees on debit card transactions be “reasonable and proportional to the actual”...

EC Overhauls Horizontal Agreement Guidelines And Safe Harbor Exemptions

Posted  05/10/10
The European Commission has unveiled new draft rules for horizontal cooperation agreements as part of the EC’s Horizontal Guidelines and Research & Development and Specialization Agreement Block Exemption Regulations (BERs). The new rules aim to clarify when companies’ horizontal agreements will be deemed to restrict competition and when such agreements will qualify for an exemption.  The rules include a new...

Obama Administration Poised To Answer Question: Where’s The Antitrust Beef?

Posted  05/6/10
Federal regulators are on the verge of answering the question of “Where’s the beef?” in the Obama administration’s regulation of competition the meat industry. The United States Department of Agriculture will soon release new proposed antitrust rules for the meat industry that could significantly alter the balance of power between farmers and the big companies that buy their meat.  Although the USDA has...

FCC Not Likely To Surrender Following Comcast Defeat

Posted  04/14/10
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decision in Comcast v. FCC – striking down the FCC’s Order prohibiting Comcast from discriminating against customers that download large video files – may seem like a significant defeat for the FCC, but it might turn out to be just the first skirmish in an escalating war. The Court’s decision dealt a decisive blow to an argument used (once too often) by...

Senate Judiciary Committee Votes To Overturn Supreme Court On Resale Price Maintenance

Posted  03/26/10
The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to overturn the Supreme Court decision that gave the green light to resale price maintenance. The Committee has passed S. 148, the “Discount Pricing Consumer Protection Act.”  This bill would reverse 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 that...

Federal Circuit Mulls Diving Into Patent Pool Case With Antitrust Analysis

Posted  03/10/10
Will a federal court of appeals send modern antitrust analysis diving into the deep end of a patent pool case to determine whether a jointly-developed standard should be considered patent misuse? On March 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit sat en banc to consider how to apply the patent misuse doctrine to patent pooling arrangements for standardized technologies, including the significance of...

Hearing Date Set for Comcast-NBC Universal Deal

Posted  01/20/10
The Senate Judiciary's Antitrust Subcommittee has announced that it will hold a hearing on the Comcast-NBC Universal deal on February 4.   The notice of hearing is available here. For additional information on this pending hearing, please see our earlier post here.

House Judiciary Committee to Consider Antitrust Status of National Football League

Posted  01/16/10
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers (D.-Mich.), has announced that on January 20, the Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy will hold a hearing on the Supreme Court’s pending decision in American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League. The notice of the hearing can be found here: In the case below, the...

Congress To Consider Comcast-NBC Deal

Posted  01/5/10
News reports indicate that the Senate Judiciary’s Antitrust Subcommittee will vet the Comcast-NBC Universal joint venture in late January or early February.  The reports indicate that Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts and NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker will testify at the hearing. Comcast and NBC Universal announced the $30 billion deal on December 3, 2009.  Because it combines substantial assets in...

Connecticut AG Eyes UnitedHealthcare-Health Net Merger

Posted  12/21/09
While consideration of health care may be dominating the halls of Congress, state officials are reminding health insurers that the Feds don’t have a monopoly in regulation. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has announced that his office is investigating the merger of UnitedHealthcare and Health Net Inc. UnitedHealthcare agreed in July to pay approximately $510 million to buy Health Net’s...