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Federal Judge Finds Qualcomm Violated the FTC Act Through Monopolistic and Exclusionary Conduct

On May 21, a California federal judge ruled in favor of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in its suit against Qualcomm in a much-anticipated decision, concluding that Qualcomm violated the FTC Act by maintaining its monopoly position as a modem chip supplier through a number of exclusionary practices, including refusing to license standard essential patents (SEPs) on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. Qualcomm likely will appeal the decision to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, but in the meantime, the court’s sweeping decision is likely to affect the course of dealing between SEP-holders and licensees. The decision is likely to substantially affect the ways in which SEP-holders take their technology and associated components that they manufacture to market. Access the full article.

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THE LATEST: Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Antitrust Counterclaim against Labor Union Clarifying Scope of Noerr-Pennington Doctrine and the Implied Labor Exemption

On July 24, 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of an antitrust counterclaim brought by ICTSI Oregon, Inc. (ICTSI), the operator of a marine shipping facility, against the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). ILWU is a labor union that represents many ICTSI employees, including longshoremen and mechanics. PMA is a multi-employer collective bargaining association covering the West Coast of the United States, which represents employers, including ICTSI, in negotiations with labor unions. The opinion elucidates the current law surrounding the scope of Noerr-Pennington immunity and the implied labor exemption to antitrust liability. WHAT HAPPENED ICTSI’s antitrust counterclaim arose out of a labor dispute concerning ILWU’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with PMA, which required that all “reefer work” (i.e., plugging, unplugging and monitoring refrigerated...

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FTC Opinion Finds Domestic Pipe Fitter Unlawfully Maintained Its Monopoly

On February 6, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its opinion and final order against McWane Inc., finding the company unlawfully maintained its monopoly by excluding competitors.  McWane Inc. is the largest domestic supplier of ductile iron pipe fittings, which are used in municipal and regional water distribution systems to change water flow or allow connectivity for hydrants, valves and water meters. The administrative complaint alleged that McWane conspired with two of its competitors that altogether supply the majority of domestic fittings, to raise and stabilize prices.  Additionally, McWane was alleged to have excluded its competitors from the domestic pipe fittings market in order to unlawfully maintain its monopoly in violation of antitrust laws. The Commission found McWane liable for unlawfully maintaining its monopoly in domestic pipe fittings, which constitute a separate market because many local, state and federal regulations...

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Be Aware of the EU Watch Dog:  Commission Blocks Merger Between Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air

by Martina Maier and Philipp Werner In January 2011, the European Commission decided that the proposed merger between Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air should be prohibited because it would have resulted in a quasi-monopoly on the domestic Greek air transport market.  This decision shows that traditional airline merger remedies, such as slot releases, are sometimes insufficient to allay concerns of monopolization.  It also illustrates that the Commission will take a tough stance on competition policy, even when facing strong political pressure to clear the merger for the sake of the economy. To read the full article here, click here. 

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