Archives: DOJ Developments

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Lessons Learned – The State of Affairs in US Merger Review

In the last year, the US antitrust regulators successfully challenged multiple transactions in court and forced companies to abandon several other transactions as a result of threatened enforcement actions. Looking back at the different cases, there are some trends that we see developing in the government’s positioning on mergers, and these should be kept in … Continue Reading

Baer to Serve as Acting Associate Attorney General

On Monday, April 11, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed in a press release that Bill Baer will serve in the DOJ’s third-highest ranking position effective April 17, 2016. Baer will be stepping in for Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery. Attorney General Loretta Lynch praised Baer’s record at the Antitrust Division, noting that … Continue Reading

House Passes GOP-Backed SMARTER ACT Aiming to Harmonize Merger Review Process for FTC and DOJ

On March 23, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules (SMARTER) Act by a vote of 235-171, despite strenuous objections from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  The FTC and the Department of Justice (DOJ) review proposed mergers and acquisitions.  Currently, the FTC can challenge transactions under … Continue Reading

Virginia’s Certificate of Need Laws May Stay, Fourth Circuit Says

On January 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld Virginia’s Certificate of Need (CON) laws, ruling that the scheme does not illegally discriminate against out-of-state health care providers. See Colon Health Ctrs. v. Hazel, No. 14-2283 (4th Cir. Jan. 21, 2015). In Virginia, and the 35 other states with CON laws, … Continue Reading

Has Antitrust Enforcement Been ‘Reinvigorated’ Under Obama?

In the 2008 presidential election campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama promised to “reinvigorate” antitrust enforcement. Over the last few years, several observers have concluded that the Obama administration’s antitrust record is not substantially different from that of his predecessor. Conventional wisdom suggests that antitrust enforcement is non-partisan. Some key statistics bear out this conclusion, but a … Continue Reading

Four FTC Commissioners Reject Wright’s Call for GUPPI Safe Harbor

Four members of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a statement on July 13, 2015, disputing claims by a fellow commissioner that the 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines include a “safe harbor” that is available in unilateral effects merger investigations. Commissioner Joshua Wright’s comments about the potential safe harbor arose in the context of the Commission’s … Continue Reading

FTC Comment: Minnesota Law Requiring Public Disclosure of Health Care Contract Data Increases Risk of Anticompetitive Behavior

On June 29, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) responded to a request for comment from two Minnesota state legislators concerning recently enacted amendments to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA). Under the amendments, the MGDPA would be expanded to cover all data collected by health maintenance organizations, health plans, and other health services … Continue Reading

Top Antitrust Enforcers Respond to Congressional Questioning

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Assistant Attorney General William Baer testified before the House Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law on May 15, 2015. The oversight hearing provided an opportunity for the heads of the U.S. antitrust enforcement agencies to survey their agencies’ priorities and recent … Continue Reading

Shipping Executive Acquitted of Antitrust Charge

On May 8, 2015, a jury in Puerto Rico acquitted Thomas Farmer (Farmer), the former vice president of price and yield management for Crowley Liner Services, Inc., of conspiring to suppress and eliminate competition in violation of Sherman Act, Section 1. The case is United States v. Thomas Farmer (3:13-cr-00162) in the United States District … Continue Reading

Antitrust Enforcers Discuss Recent Highlights, Ongoing Cases, Enforcement Priorities and General Trends at the 2015 ABA Section of Antitrust Law Spring Meeting

The American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Antitrust Law Spring Meeting concluded earlier this month with the traditional “Enforcers’ Roundtable,” an interview with leading competition authorities about recent highlights, ongoing cases, enforcement priorities and general trends. This year’s participants were Bill Baer, U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust; Edith Ramirez, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman; … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Asked to Clarify the Reach of U.S. Antitrust Laws to Foreign Conduct

On March 16, 2015, AU Optronics Corporation America Inc. (AU Optronics) and Motorola Mobility LLC separately asked the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (FTAIA) and the extent to which its language allows foreign conduct to be brought within the scope of the Sherman Act.  The requests for review follow … Continue Reading

Parking Heater Manufacturer Pleads Guilty to Price-Fixing

On March 12, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Espar Inc., pleaded guilty to one count of price-fixing under the Sherman Act in a scheme involving parking heaters for commercial vehicles that ran from October 2007 through December 2012.  Parking heaters heat the inside of a vehicle when the engine is not running. According … Continue Reading

Increasing Antitrust Risk in Non-Reportable Transactions – DOJ Obtains Disgorgement of Profits in Tour Bus Settlement

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently reached a settlement with Coach USA Inc. and City Sights LLC, breaking up their joint venture. The DOJ also employed the rarely used remedy of disgorgement to recover $7.5 million in profits from the defendants. This case demonstrates the aggressive posture the antitrust agencies are taking to challenge … Continue Reading

FTC and DOJ Host Workshop Examining Health Care Competition

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) held a public workshop on February 24–25, 2015, to examine recent trends and developments in health care provider organization and payment models, and their potential effects on competition in the provision of health care services. A main message from … Continue Reading

Federal Court Finds Amex’s “Anti-Steering” Merchant Rules Anticompetitive

After a seven-week bench trial in an enforcement action by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and 17 state attorneys general, U.S. District Judge Garaufis (Eastern District of New York) held that American Express Co.’s (Amex’s) “anti-steering” rules (Non-Discrimination Provisions or NDPs) are an unreasonable restraint of trade in violation of Section 1 of the … Continue Reading

Top Antitrust Watchdog to Merging Firms: DOJ Not Interested in Remedies that Require Ongoing Regulatory Oversight

Head U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) antitrust enforcer, Bill Baer, believes the Federal Trade Commission and DOJ are law enforcement agencies, not regulators.  In his recent speech at the Global Competition Review Fourth Annual Antitrust Leaders Forum, Baer stressed that antitrust regulation “is not what we do.  And it is not how we ought to … Continue Reading

DOJ Issues Business Review Letter Pertaining to SSO Policy on Standard-Essential Patents and RAND Commitments

The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently issued a business review letter stating that it would not challenge the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.’s (IEEE’s) proposed revisions to its patent policy. These patent policy revisions seek to address the “wide divergence” in expectations between holders of patents essential to … Continue Reading

Aerospace & Defense Series: Leading Antitrust Considerations for M&A Transactions

Aerospace and defense contractors engage in a wide range of mergers, acquisitions and joint venture transactions, which are often subject to heightened antitrust scrutiny. This article highlights some of the leading antitrust factors that contractors should consider when contemplating M&A transactions in their unique industry. Read the full article.… Continue Reading

DOJ Issues First Business Review Letter Following Agencies’ Joint Policy Statements on Cybersecurity

On October 2, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued its first business review letter since issuing jointly with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the Agencies’ Antitrust Policy Statement on Sharing of Cybersecurity Information in April 2014 (the Policy Statement).  The Policy Statement recognized that sharing cyber threat information is integral to defending against … Continue Reading

Japanese Shipping Company Rolls Over, Pleads Guilty to Price Fixing

On September 26, 2014 Japanese transportation company Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. (K-Line) agreed to plead guilty to price fixing, bid rigging and allocating customers for international ocean shipping services for “roll-on, roll-off” cargo. K-Line will be fined $67.7 million. Roll-on, roll-off cargo is a special type of ocean shipping for cars, trucks, agricultural and construction … Continue Reading

Agencies Sign New Cooperation Agreement with Colombia

The Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division announced on September 16 that the DOJ and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have entered into a new antitrust cooperation agreement with Colombia’s Superintendence of Industry and Commerce, stating that the “agreement will enable the antitrust agencies in the two countries to further enhance their law enforcement relationship.” According … Continue Reading
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