As this year’s roundtable of enforcers demonstrated, big business is probably antitrust enforcers’ greatest fear. Spring in Washington means Cherry blossoms and antitrust. And last week, 3,700 antitrust lawyers and government officials from around the globe descended on Washington to visit the Cherry blossoms and discuss how they need more government intervention to make the economy work for everybody and need to bring ever more “plausible” cases in order to nudge and push the courts along.
The answer? Not much, in itself. If one patent is good, 132 is probably fine too. That was Judge Easterbrook’s reasoning in a recent decision addressing indirect purchasers’ antitrust challenge to AbbVie’s so-called “patent thicket” of 132 patents around the blockbuster drug Humira, arguing the sheer number of patents blocked…
The Sherman Act was passed in 1890. The Clayton Act in 1914. And they have hardly changed since. Last month, Senator Amy Klobuchar, the new chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, proposed an overhaul of the antitrust laws: CLERA, the Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Reform Act. If passed, CLERA would constitute the most significant change to antitrust law in a least a generation. In particular, it would also pose substantial new antitrust concerns for technology companies seeking to engage in what have been standard mergers and acquisitions.
If the September 2020 Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. opinion is any indicator, the answer seems to be “yes,” at least where an alleged violation of fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (“FRAND”) terms and conditions is concerned. Following on the heels of F.T.C. v. Qualcomm Inc., the Northern District of Texas dismissed a complaint in which Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. (“Continental”) alleged, among other things, that Nokia Corporation and other technology companies (together, “Licensor Defendants”) violated Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act by pooling their standard essential patents (“SEP”) in joint licensing entities called Avanci, LLC and Avanci Platform International Limited (together, “Avanci”). Continental Auto. Sys., Inc. v. Avanci, LLC
As annual supply contracts come up for renewal, businesses may be wondering whether price increases for annual contracts are permitted under the panoply of price gouging laws currently in effect. Parties may want to negotiate contracts with “normal” price increases, operating under the assumption that, at some point during the contract year, price controls will expire. But if states of emergency remain in effect when the new contract prices become effective, parties can find themselves facing questions about how the agreement can be carried out.
On June 3, 2020, Proskauer’s Antitrust Group hosted a webinar on what supply chain businesses should know about price gouging laws and regulations, and, during and after the webinar, we fielded some thoughtful follow-up questions from clients and friends who attended. We have collected and provided answers to the questions we received below in an effort to further inform and share insights on price gouging concerns raised by attendees. Thank you to all who joined us for the webinar.
Proskauer’s antitrust practice group has developed a State Price Gouging Laws: A Coast-to-Coast Reference Guide to help your business manage price gouging compliance during the COVID-19 emergency. State price gouging measures cast a wide and varied range of coverage, such that compliance at the national level means knowing each state’s…
In early March, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a consumer alert on price gouging. Two weeks later, police in San Diego arrested eight people for price gouging. The same week, investigations by Sacramento authorities prompted new warnings from local authorities. Since then, both the Governor and Attorney General have indicated price gouging will remain top of mind. Typically, price gouging laws extend for short periods — weeks or a month — but we now know that California price gouging rules will remain in effect through September.