USA Tipline

Happy summer bank holiday: The Tipline for 24 May 2019

GCR USA - 24 May 2019

Both GCR USA and our London colleagues are on holiday on Monday, but we have plenty of reading to fill your Memorial Day weekend. Contrary to former acting Federal Trade Commission chair Maureen Ohlhausen, current bureau of competition director Bruce Hoffman insists that the agency’s case against Qualcomm does not involve trying to tell a patent-holder how high a royalty rate it can get. He spoke at the inaugural GCR Live conference on antitrust in the digital economy in Palo Alto on Wednesday, where labour economist Marshall Steinbaum made his GCR Live debut on a panel about technology platforms. Taking a break from the usual focus on GAFA – Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple – Steinbaum argued that Uber should be regarded as a price-fixer unless the company either recognises drivers as employees or allows them to compete against each other on price.

Happy birthday to Bill Barr: The Tipline for 23 May 2019

GCR USA - 23 May 2019

We’re not saying Judge Lucy Koh timed her Qualcomm ruling for the GCR Live conference in Silicon Valley yesterday, but it certainly made for good conversation. In a patent monopolisation case on the other side of the country, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral arguments about whether failing to correct a misapprehension constitutes fraud. Meanwhile, Congressman David Cicilline pushed back against the amicus programme at the Department of Justice’s antitrust division.

Brewing bipartisanship: The Tipline for 22 May 2019

GCR USA - 22 May 2019

In breaking news, the Federal Trade Commission last night won its monopolisation case against Qualcomm. Keep an eye out for our story later today. While Republicans and Democrats don’t always rail against large technology platforms for the same reasons, one Democratic presidential candidate sees the bipartisanship as a potential avenue for changes to US competition law. Also in today’s Tipline, three dental suppliers may be nearing the end of an administrative trial at the FTC before Judge D Michael Chappell, but that doesn’t spell the end of their antitrust woes.

Tobacco road settles “no-poach”: The Tipline for 21 May 2019

GCR USA - 21 May 2019

A class comprised of faculty at Duke University and the University of North Carolina had alleged that the legendary basketball rivalry between the two schools didn’t carry over to competition for medical staff. But unlike the athletes on the court, the class is getting paid. While UNC settled the “no-poach” allegations in 2017, Duke has now agreed to pay the plaintiffs $54.5 million to end four years of litigation. According to US Department of Education estimates, that amounts to about 18 months of team revenue for the men’s basketball programme.

And now our watch has ended: The Tipline for 20 May 2019

GCR USA - 20 May 2019

Unlike one of the most popular shows on US television, GCR USA isn’t going to bail on you after eight seasons. While we can’t offer you dragons, we’ve got a pair of stories – one detailing Huawei’s abandonment of a standard-setting group’s patent policies; and the other about a price-fixing lawsuit relating to HIV treatment.

There’s a lawyer for that: The Tipline for 17 May 2019

GCR USA - 17 May 2019

A class of iPhone users suing Apple for alleged monopolisation of its App Store still have a long way to go to prove their claims, but they’ve perhaps earned a short victory lap. Led by Kellogg Hansen Todd Figel & Frederick partner David Frederick, Apple survived a motion to dismiss following a five-to-four decision from the Supreme Court this week. Having argued 55 cases before the nation’s highest court, it’s quite possible Frederick won’t stop to admire this one. He may have already moved on to the next damages suit.

Follow the Illinois Brick road: The Tipline for 16 May 2019

GCR USA - 16 May 2019

Attorneys general from 30 states and the District of Columbia had urged the Supreme Court to revisit and overturn its 1977 decision in Illinois Brick, which drew a “bright-line” distinguishing who could sue for antitrust damages. But in issuing its ruling related to Apple on Monday, the majority said “there was no occasion” to consider the state’s arguments. In his dissent, Justice Neil Gorsuch pondered the questions about recovering damages under Illinois Brick, but determined this was not the case for it. We have much more on the court’s Apple v Pepper decision as well as a pair of stories out of the Stigler Center’s annual conference in Chicago.

Standard Oil celebrates 108: The Tipline for 15 May 2019

GCR USA - 15 May 2019

The US Supreme Court ordered Standard Oil to be broken up 108 years ago today. The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against John D Rockefeller’s company, alleging it had restrained trade in deals with railroads, its control of oil pipelines and by price-gouging smaller competitors. The court found that Standard Oil’s combinations qualified as an “unreasonable and undue restraint of trade” under the Sherman Act and ordered Standard Oil be separated into 33 different companies.

Drugs and Apple: The Tipline for 14 May 2019

GCR USA - 14 May 2019

The more than eight million viewers of Sunday’s episode of news magazine television programme 60 Minutes were given a treat – an inside look at the antitrust lawsuit brought on Friday by 44 states against generic drugmakers. We take a look at the latest from the states. Meanwhile, the two justices President Donald Trump appointed to the Supreme Court offered opposing views on whether iPhone users qualify as direct purchasers under Illinois Brick, and we got the details on the state of Washington’s settlement with Franciscan Health Systems.

Why can’t we be FRANDs: The Tipline for 13 May 2019

GCR USA - 13 May 2019

Federal Trade Commission staff lawyers have responded to the Department of Justice’s “untimely” call for a hearing on remedies in the Qualcomm litigation, suggesting that Judge Lucy Koh ignore the Antitrust Division’s statement of interest. Of course, that doesn’t tell us whether a majority of FTC commissioners disagree with the division’s leadership over obligations to license on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. Meanwhile, Commissioner Rohit Chopra said in Chicago that the agency is discussing how to root out potential enforcement shortcomings.