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Category Archives: DOJ Developments

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First Successful Extradition of Foreign National for Price-Fixing Violation

Posted in Cartel Enforcement, DOJ Developments, German Developments

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has successfully litigated an extradition of a foreign national on an antitrust charge.  This extradition shows that the DOJ is still pursuing individuals it charged several years ago with criminal price-fixing conduct and is a watershed moment in DOJ criminal enforcement of the antitrust laws. [...]

Call Waiting: DOJ to Maintain Scrutiny of Wireless Industry Consolidation

Posted in DOJ Developments, Mergers & Acquisitions

The wireless industry has seen steady consolidation since the late 1980s.  Recently, in late 2013, reports began circulating about a potential merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, the nation’s third and fourth-largest wireless carriers, respectively.  Last week, however, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, William Baer, the assistant attorney general for the antitrust division [...]

Judge Rules in Favor of DOJ Finding Bazaarvoice/PowerReviews Merger Anticompetitive

Posted in DOJ Developments, Mergers & Acquisitions

On January 8, 2014, Judge Orrick of the Northern District of California ruled that Bazaarvoice’s acquisition of competitor PowerReviews violated Section 7 of the Clayton Act.  The ruling was in favor of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).  The public version of the opinion was made available on January 10.  In its self-described “necessarily lengthy [...]

U.S. Senators Debate Toughening Cartel Penalties

Posted in Cartel Enforcement, DOJ Developments

On November 14, 2013, members of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights heard arguments regarding the effectiveness of current cartel prosecution and punishment strategies in deterring cartel conduct.  In her opening remarks, Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, called price-fixing the most egregious form [...]

Auction Rigger Enters Guilty Plea

Posted in DOJ Developments

A thirty-seventh individual pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California.  The guilty plea, entered on Monday, November 4, is yet another victory for the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division in its ongoing investigations into a bid rigging and [...]

Support for Airlines Merger Grows

Posted in DOJ Developments, Mergers & Acquisitions

Mayors from Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Miami-Dade County wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday, urging him to allow American Airlines Inc. and U.S. Airways Group Inc. to merge.  The mayors encouraged the Justice Department to “reconsider [the] ill-conceived lawsuit,” and asserted that the deal would benefit both consumers and [...]

Assistant Attorney General Addresses Antitrust Remedies in First Formal Remarks

Posted in Cartel Enforcement, DOJ Developments, Mergers & Acquisitions

On September 25, 2013, Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer gave his first formal remarks since becoming head of the Antitrust Division at the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) in January. Speaking at Georgetown Law’s Seventh Annual Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium, Baer’s address was entitled “Remedies Matter: The Importance of Achieving Effective Antitrust Outcomes.” Baer [...]

Takata Corp. Agrees to Pay $71.3 Million Fine for Its Role in Alleged Price-Fixing and Bid-Rigging in the Automotive Parts Industry

Posted in Cartel Enforcement, DOJ Developments

On October 10, 2013, Takata Corp. (Takata), a Japanese auto parts maker, agreed to pay a $71.3 million as part of a plea agreement for its role in an alleged conspiracy to fix prices on seat belts sold to car manufacturers.   In addition, Takata agreed that the Chairman-CEO, Shigehisa Takada, will take a 30 percent [...]

FTC Initiates Inquiry Into Patent Assertion Entities

Posted in DOJ Developments, FTC Developments, IP Antitrust

by William Diaz Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its decision to seek public comment on a proposal to gather information from approximately 25 patent assertion entities (PAE).  The agency defines a PAE as a company whose business model focuses primarily on purchasing patents and then attempting to generate revenue by asserting the [...]

FTC and DOJ Accepting HSR Filings During Shutdown

Posted in DOJ Developments, FTC Developments, Mergers & Acquisitions

by Gregory Heltzer The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) both announced that they will have limited staff on hand to accept Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) premerger notification filings during the U.S. federal government shutdown.  The HSR Act requires that parties subject to the Act must wait 30 days before closing their transaction.  This [...]

Department of Justice Launches an Antitrust Investigation into Pressure Pumping Services Used in Hydraulic Fracturing

Posted in DOJ Developments, Energy/Commodities

by Nicole Castle On July 24, 2013, Baker Hughes, Inc., the owner of the third-largest pressure pumping fleet in the United States, disclosed as part of its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had received a civil investigative demand (CID) from the Department of Justice (DOJ) on May 30, 2013.  The CID [...]

Judge Finds that Apple Conspired to Raise E-book Prices

Posted in DOJ Developments, Monopolization/Abuse of Dominance

by James Camden On July 10, 2013, Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York issued a 160-page opinion holding that Apple conspired with five book publishers to raise e-book prices and eliminate retail price competition in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act and several relevant state statutes.  United States v. [...]

$720,000 Civil Penalty for Failure to File HSR

Posted in DOJ Developments, FTC Developments, Mergers & Acquisitions

by Carla A. R. Hine Today the Department of Justice (DOJ), on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), announced a settlement with MacAndrews & Forbes for failing to file Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) in connection with the acquisition of voting securities of Scientific Games (SG).  MacAndrews & Forbes, which is a wholly-owned holding company of Ronald [...]

FTC Issues Fiscal Year 2012 HSR Report

Posted in DOJ Developments, FTC Developments, Mergers & Acquisitions

by Carla A. R. Hine Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued its Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) report for fiscal year 2012 (FY2012), which summarizes enforcement actions and key statistics regarding number of filings, second requests and challenges.  The press release and a link to the report can be found here. Filings were relatively flat [...]

North Carolina Legislature Passes Prohibition on MFNs in Health Care Contracts

Posted in DOJ Developments, FTC Developments, Healthcare Antitrust

by Jeffrey Brennan and Carrie Amezcua On Tuesday, the North Carolina legislature has enacted into law, pending the governor’s signature, a prohibition on the use of most favored nations (MFN) clauses in contracts between commercial health insurers and providers.  The two-page bill, titled “Freedom to Negotiate Health Care Rates,” lists "prohibited contract provisions related to reimbursement [...]

Natural Gas Companies Settle Antitrust Suit Stemming from Joint Bidding

Posted in DOJ Developments, Energy/Commodities

by Jon B. Dubrow and Cerissa Cafasso On Monday, April 22, 2013, after rejecting the initial settlement agreement, Judge Richard Matsch (D. Colo.) approved a revised settlement of a suit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) against two energy companies for conspiring not to compete for mineral rights leases.  Gunnison Energy Corp. (GEC) [...]

DOJ Issues Business Review Letter Regarding Hospital-Physician Gainsharing Program

Posted in DOJ Developments, Healthcare Antitrust

by Stephen Wu On January 16, the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division issued a Business Review Letter in which it disclosed its intention not to challenge the Greater New York Hospital Association’s (GNYHA) voluntary "gainsharing" program for its hospital members and the physicians who practice at their hospitals.  GNYHA’s program is designed to encourage [...]

Joint DOJ-FTC Workshop Explores Competitive Impact of Patent Assertion Entities

Posted in DOJ Developments, FTC Developments, IP Antitrust

by Stefan M. Meisner and Daniel Powers Federal antitrust enforcement agencies are closely studying the growing activity of patent assertion entities (PAE).  At a recent joint workshop sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), participants from academia, industry and the legal world discussed the competitive impact of these organizations [...]

Proposed Remedies in the Midst of the Patent Wars: EU and US Antitrust Watchdogs Push to Strengthen FRAND in Standard Setting

Posted in DOJ Developments, FTC Developments, IP Antitrust

by David Henry, Wilko van Weert and Philipp Werner Chief Economists from the US Federal Trade Commission, the US Department of Justice and the EU Directorate General for Competition, have agreed on a set of four, non-binding suggestions that should—if followed by standard-setting organizations – increase the level of protection afforded to consumers and promote [...]

DOJ Chief Warns of Threats to Competition in Standard Setting and Patent Transfers

Posted in DOJ Developments, IP Antitrust

by Daniel Powers The Acting Assistant Attorney General Joseph Wayland delivered a speech on Friday regarding how antitrust enforcement agencies can “balance patent rights, competition and innovation in the information age.”  Wayland covered familiar ground on topics ranging from the dangers of patent hold-up to the importance of patent holders’ commitments to license essential patents [...]

Proposed Changes to HSR Rules for Pharmaceutical Companies

Posted in DOJ Developments, FTC Developments, IP Antitrust

by Jon B. Dubrow and Carla A. R. Hine Today the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced proposed changes to the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) premerger notification rules that will impact the types of transactions for which pharmaceutical companies will be required to file HSR notifications with the Department of Justice and FTC.  The proposed rulemaking is meant [...]

DOJ, FTC Testimony Before Congress Indicates Enforcement Focus on Standard-Essential Patents and Concern over ITC Exclusion Orders

Posted in DOJ Developments, FTC Developments

by Stefan M. Meisner and Daniel Powers Recent testimony from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) before the Senate Judiciary Committee focused on issues relating to standard-setting activities and competition policy.  Antitrust Division Acting Assistant Attorney General Joseph Wayland and FTC Commissioner Edith Ramirez discussed the issue of [...]

Alleged Agreement Between Chesapeake Energy and EnCana Corporation to Suppress Prices for Mineral Rights Highlights the Antitrust Risks Facing Energy Companies

Posted in DOJ Developments, Energy/Commodities, Joint Ventures/Competitor Collaboration

by Jon B. Dubrow and Shauna A. Barnes Recently published reports of land acquisition activities between Chesapeake Energy and EnCana senior executives will likely expose those companies to a Department of Justice (DOJ) antitrust investigation and challenge, as well as, if accurate, civil antitrust claims.  This matter highlights the risks that energy companies face when [...]