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Antitrust Law

Antitrust and Distribution Law Blog Antitrust and Distribution Law Blog

Following legal developments in the areas of antitrust, distribution, franchising, advertising, unfair competition, and other types of trade regulation.
By Jason Hicks, Esq.

Post Frequency: 1.6/day

Last Entry: August 20, 2014 at 11:20:00

Recent Entries: 83

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Womble Carlyle Sponsors Premier High-Growth Conference: MAVA Capital Connection 2012

Posted on April 18, 2012
Supporting a vibrant investment ecosystem in the Mid-Atlantic region is vital to the American economy. Presented by the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA), Capital Connection is one of the nation?s most respected industry conferences. The event brings together high-growth and innovative technology companies with the largest gathering of private financing sources and private equity investors in the country...


DOJ's E-Book Antitrust Suit Raises Interesting Issues

Posted on April 12, 2012
This CBS article about how the DOJ may lose the e-book antitrust suit against Apple raises some interesting issues about the government's case.The basic facts, as I understand it, are as follows: Amazon was selling e-books at a deep discount compared to hardcover books given the lower marginal cost associated with an e-book...


DOJ Sues to Stop AT&T and T-Mobile Merger

Posted on August 31, 2011
The Department of Justice has filed a civil antitrust suit to block AT&T's proposed $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA on the grounds that the deal would "substantially lessen competition." The deal would combine the second and fourth largest carriers to create a new market leader in the United States, ahead of current leader Verizon Wireless...


Jay Rogers Writes on Brazil?s New Positive Credit Registry

Posted on August 11, 2011
GREENVILLE, S.C.?Brazil?s new ?Positive Credit Registry? law appears to be an important, and promising, development in the Brazilian credit market. For the first time, the world?s fifth-largest country is allowing the collection and maintenance of positive credit histories of consumers and businesses...


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Reckless Abandon and the Mongol Rally

Posted on July 22, 2011
Womble Carlyle is a proud sponsor of Team Reckless Abandon in the Mongol Rally. The Mongol Rally is a diminutive-car road rally that begins in Europe and ends in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Our support of Team Reckless Abandon benefits Water.Org, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization committed to providing safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries...


California Court Relies on ?Common Sense? in Rejecting Twombley Challenge

Posted on July 21, 2011
Perhaps there is life for conclusory antitrust claims after Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). On May 24, the United States District Court for the Central District of California denied a motion to dismiss allegations that Duro Bag Manufacturing Company (?Duro?) put one of its primary competitors?plaintiff Western Pacific Kraft, Inc...


Google Investigation

Posted on July 21, 2011
After months of a rumors about government action against Google, there are reports that government agencies are begining to take action. On June 24, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FTC is primed to serve subpoenas on the internet giant.A July 19, 2011 Bloomberg article states that DOJ and FTC (the two federal agencies charged with enforcing antitrust law) have agreed to divide responsibilities related to Google...


FTC Announces Major Changes to Disclosure Requirements under HSR Antitrust Improvements Act

Posted on July 21, 2011
On July 7, the Federal Trade Commission (?FTC?) announced major changes to disclosure requirements under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act (?HSR?). Although intended to reduce the burden on the filing parties by eliminating certain disclosure requirements, the updated rules are likely to increase drastically the expense of HSR filings for most companies...


$35 Million Settlement For Baby Products Antitrust Litigation

Posted on April 20, 2011
So much for Leegin... As we have mentioned previously in the blog, companies still face real risks with respect to resale price maintenance despite the Supreme Court's 2007 ruling that such policies are not per se illegal. See Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc...


Black Friday For Online Poker?

Posted on April 19, 2011
American Lawyer reports that federal prosectures have inducted 11 people linked to some of the world's largest Web-based poker operations, such as PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker. Forbes reports that the online poker industry generated $30 billion in betting per year with $1...


Websites Report FTC Crack Down On Advertisements That Look Like Fake News Stories While Linking To Advertisements That Look Like Fake News Stories

Posted on April 19, 2011
Fox News reports that the FTC is cracking down on websites falsely advertising acai berry weight-loss pills. The FTC says the websites are deceiving consumers by emulating real news organizations.If you have not seen these ads, they look like investigative reporting and often contain tantalizing headlines such as "The HCA Diet Exposed: Miracle Diet or Scam" or "Acai Berry Diet UNCOVERED...


Event! Join NC Attorney General Roy Cooper & Womble Carlyle for the CLE Symposium for Top NC Legal Counsel on May 5

Posted on April 12, 2011
Womble Carlyle CLE Symposium for Top NC Legal CounselA full-day CLE event for in-house counselMay 5, 2011 -- 8:30-4:30 p.m.10 CLE Sessions, Lunch and Keynote Address by North Carolina Attorney General Roy CooperOn May 5, Womble Carlyle will offer CLE sessions on such topics as:political contributions/lobbying data managementeconomic developmentcrisis/catastrophic event planningemployee defection/personnel departuresoutsourcing agreementsintellectual property minefieldslegal project managementthe China market?green? strategies Event informationLocation: Proximity Hotel704 Green Valley RoadGreensboro, NC 27408(800) 379-8200http://www...


Resale Price Maintenance Remains Per Se Illegal In California

Posted on January 14, 2011
The California Attorney General announced a settlement agreement that prohibits a cosmetics company from agreeing with its retailers not to sell its products online at prices below the MSRP. In a stipulated court judgment, Bioelements agreed to permanently refrain from fixing resale prices and pay $51,000 in penalties and attorney fees...


Twombly Plus Leegin Equals Dismissal of Price Fixing Claims By Eleventh Circuit

Posted on January 02, 2011
On December 2, 2010, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of vertical and horizontal price fixing claims against Tempur-Pedic Intern., Inc. based on plaintiff's failure to allege a plausible relevant product market or horizontal conspiracy. See Jacobs v...


FTC Releases Proposed Updates To "Green Guides"

Posted on October 09, 2010
On October 6, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission released proposed revisions to the guidance it gives marketers to help them avoid making misleading environmental claims -- called the "Green Guides." The original Green Guides were introduced in 1998 and have not been updated since...


Antitrust and Credit Card Steering

Posted on October 06, 2010
The Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust suit against Visa, Master Card and American Express challenging their policies that prohibit merchants from steering customers to other forms of payment. Credit card companies earn fees from credit card transactions, and these transaction fees are higher on some types of cards than others...


Juiced Advertising or Persecution of the Pomegranate?

Posted on September 29, 2010
On Monday, September 27, 2010, the FTC brought charges against Pom Wonderful for making false and unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits of their pomegranate juice. The New York Times explains: "Pom Wonderful, the pricey and popular pomegranate juice sold in the distinctly curvaceous bottle, is advertised as helping to reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and impotence...


Obama's Antitrust Policy: Speak Loudly and Carry A Big Stick

Posted on September 09, 2010
Obama's antitrust enforcement (or percieved lack thereof) is the subject of a frontpage story in today's Washington Post. The story begins: "When President Obama took office, he promised to undo eight years of what he called the weakest antitrust enforcement in half a century...


Scope of Patent Misuse Doctrine Sparks Debate In Federal Circuit

Posted on September 02, 2010
On August 30, 2010, the Federal Circuit issued an en banc decision in Princo Corporation v. International Trade Commission --- F.3d ---, 2010 WL 3385953 (C.A. Fed. 2010). As described in the concurring opinion, "[t]his case arises at the uneasy intersection of antitrust and patent law, in essence posing the novel question of whether (and if so, to what extent) patentee competitors may enter an agreement regarding the licensing of their patents...


New Horizontal Merger Guidelines

Posted on September 01, 2010
On August 19, 2010, the DOJ and FTC issued new Horizontal Merger Guidelines. The Guidelines were updated to reflect current agency practice. One of the changes in the new Guidelines is less reliance on market shares/concentration and more emphasis on the likely competitive effects of a transaction...


Supreme Court Rules Second Amendment Applies Against States In McDonald v. City of Chicago

Posted on June 29, 2010
On Monday June 28, 2010, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago.The issue in the case was whether the Second Amendment private right to bear arms, recognized in Heller, was applicable against States and localities. In Heller, the Court addressed the scope of the Second Amendment as it applies against the federal government (i...


DOJ/FTC Workshop on Updating the Horizontal Merger Guidelines

Posted on December 04, 2009
On December 3, 2009, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission held a joint public workshop to explore the possibility of updating the Horizontal Merger Guidelines used by both agencies to evaluate potential competitive effects of mergers and acquisitions...


US Antitrust Policy Enters a New Phase

Posted on November 05, 2009
Financier Worldwide published an article that I co-authored on recent developments in US antitrust law. You can read the article here.


Senate Bill Limiting Reverse Payment Settlements

Posted on October 16, 2009
Reverse payment settlements occur when a brand-name drug manufacturer makes a "reverse" payment to settle a patent dispute with a generic drug manufacturer. In exchange for this payment, the generic drug manufacture agrees to delay its entry into the drug market...


DOJ Proposes Structured Rule of Reason Analysis for RPM

Posted on October 14, 2009
Christine A. Varney, the Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice, gave a speech in which she proposed a ?structured rule of reason analysis? for analyzing resale price maintenance. See Christine A. Varney, ?Antitrust Federalism: Enhancing Federal/State Cooperation,? Remarks as Prepared for the National Association of Attorneys General (October 7, 2009)...


House Acts To Restore Per Se Rule Against Resale Price Maintenance Overruling Recent Supreme Court Decision

Posted on August 25, 2009
On Tuesday, July 30, 2009, the House Judiciary Courts and Competition Policy Subcommittee approved the Discount Pricing Consumer Protection Act of 2009 (HR 3190). The bill would make all resale price maintenance agreements per se illegal under the Sherman Act, thus overruling the Supreme Court?s decision in Leegin Creative Leather Products v...


Constructive Termination Actionable Under New Jersey Franchise Practices Act

Posted on August 25, 2009
The New Jersey Appellate Division has ruled that constructive termination is actionable under the New Jersey Franchise Practices Act. See Maintainco, Inc. v. Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America, Inc., 975 A.2d 510 (N.J. App. 2009). The Act prohibits a franchisor from "terminating" a francisee without "good cause" and also prohibits the franchisor from imposing "unreasonable standards of performance" on a franchisee...


House Introduces Bill To Reinstall Per Se Rule Against Resale Price Maintenance

Posted on July 16, 2009
On Monday, July 13, 2009, the Discount Pricing Consumer Protection Act of 2009, H.R. 3190, was introduced in the House of Representatives. The bill would essentially overturn the Supreme Court's 2007 decision in Leegin Creative Leather Products v. PSKS, Inc...


Maryland Daily Record Article About Leegin Repealer

Posted on June 18, 2009
The Maryland Daily Record published this article about resale price maintenance under Maryland's recently revised Antitrust Laws. The article was written by David Hamilton and Jason Hicks, antitrust and business litigation attorneys at Womble Carlyle...


Feds Freeze Accounts of On-Line Poker Players

Posted on June 10, 2009
The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York has frozen or seized $34 million in bank accounts belonging to 27,000 on-line poker players. The accounts are managed by Allied Systems, Inc. and Account Services, which handle transactions for several popular online poker sites...


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