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FTC Competition Chief Defends Stand-Alone Section 5 Use in Unfair Competition Cases

In a blog post last Friday, Debbie Feinstein, Director of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), defended the agency’s use of FTC Act Section 5 to target unfair methods of competition outside the scope of the Sherman and Clayton Acts. While the use of Section 5 in consumer protection cases has long been established, many, including U.S. Congress members and FTC Commissioners, have urged the FTC in recent years to issue clearer guidelines on how Section 5 will be used to target conduct related to unfair methods of competition.  Feinstein suggested that those interested in the FTC’s future use of Section 5 “should look at what the Commission has done and the reason it gave for acting to stop the behavior. . . . The touchstone of every stand-alone Section 5 claim . . . is likely or actual harm to competition or the competitive process.” Feinstein pointed specifically to invitation to collude cases as a prime example of the type of conduct prosecuted...

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Judge Upholds Poaching Claims in Pharmaceutical Data Antitrust Case

On Friday, August 15, 2014, Judge Gerald McHugh of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania let stand several counterclaims that IMS Health Inc. (IMS) made against Symphony Health Solutions Corp. (Symphony) in connection with related to allegations that Symphony had poached IMS employees to steal trade secrets. In July 2013, Symphony brought a complaint against IMS, the largest pharmaceutical data and analytics company in the world, alleging that IMS unlawfully abused its monopoly power in pharmaceutical data markets and violated the antitrust laws through various types of horizontal and vertical exclusionary conduct, including entering into exclusive long-term agreements with data suppliers, requiring data suppliers to sign most-favored-nation clauses, acquiring rivals to eliminate competition, and bundling its products.  In response to the complaint, IMS filed multiple counterclaims alleging that Symphony poached IMS employees to steal IMS’s trade secrets....

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