USA Tipline

No cure for the summertime blues: The Tipline for 20 September 2019

GCR USA - 20 September 2019

Monday marks the official end of summer in the northern hemisphere, but Washington, DC, already feels autumnal. Beyond the cooling temperatures, the city seems ready to get down to serious business, with members of Congress holding hearings and proposing legislation on pocketbook issues including prescription drugs. House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee chair David Cicilline has put forward an anti-product-hopping bill to match one already in the Senate – sponsored by Republican John Cornyn. Hopefully bipartisanship will last long enough for some legislative accomplishments to occur.

Playing nicely: The Tipline for 19 September 2019

GCR USA - 19 September 2019

Rohit Chopra wants to see more wage-fixing cases out of the Federal Trade Commission’s sister antitrust agency. The commissioner commended the Department of Justice for announcing it would conduct criminal investigations into possible collusion related to compensation or other employment terms. Chopra also urged his own agency to pass rules barring certain non-compete contract provisions, even as FTC chair Joseph Simons testified there was not enough economic literature to back any changes at this point.

Two Priuses and a Tesla: The Tipline for 18 September 2019

GCR USA - 18 September 2019

His agency is investigating whether an agreement between four car companies to limit carbon emissions violates antitrust law, but assistant attorney general Makan Delrhaim says he isn’t looking to increase air pollution. “I’m somebody who’s owned two Priuses and am one of the first owners of Tesla,” the head of the Department of Justice’s antitrust division told the Senate antitrust subcommittee during a rather impassioned oversight hearing yesterday. We’ve got all the antitrust squabbling that’s fit to print down below.

Get your popcorn ready: The Tipline for 17 September 2019

GCR USA - 17 September 2019

The heads of the squabbling US antitrust agencies head to Capitol Hill today to testify before a subcommittee chair that believes only one of the two agencies is needed for civil enforcement. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Federal Trade Commission chair Joseph Simons sent the Department of Justice a letter last week complaining about Antitrust Division’s behaviour. All of this comes following the DOJ’s intervention in the FTC’s Qualcomm lawsuit, and amid an expanding turf war over merger clearance agreements and what is likely the agencies’ highest-profile probes in decades. What better way to settle things than by sitting Simons and Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim side-by-side as part of a highly public family therapy session?

No chicken sandwich is worth the queue: The Tipline for 16 September 2019

GCR USA - 16 September 2019

We’re at the Antonin Scalia Law School today, as professor Joshua Wright discusses antitrust and tech with Cleveland-Marshall College of Law professor Chris Sagers in a lunchtime event hosted by the Federalist Society. If you don’t have the time or taste for Chick-Fil-A, try instead our extensive Q&A with Sagers on his new book, United States v Apple: Competition in America.

You’ve got a friend in me: The Tipline for 13 September 2019

GCR USA - 13 September 2019

The head of the Department of Justice’s antitrust division yesterday outlined past and future relationships among the international antitrust community, and said he had directed the agency to review its international guidelines – which in the current version are a joint production with the Federal Trade Commission – with an eye toward reflecting US legal precedents, the importance of comity and “the symmetry that we expect from our international counterparts.” Meanwhile, the DOJ and FTC have teamed up to push back on a dental board’s claims of state-action immunity, and Makan Delrahim takes to the pages of USA Today.

Two-sided, two-trialed: The Tipline for 12 September 2019

GCR USA - 12 September 2019

We hope travel technology company Sabre likes antitrust as much as we do. Three weeks after the Department of Justice sued to block its acquisition of Farelogix, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has vacated a jury verdict finding it liable for commissions charged to US Airways. That case is not settled though. The appellate court sent the case back to the district court with the possibility of a second trial to evaluate potential harm on both sides of the “two-sided” market.

GW and Georgetown and Fordham, oh my: The Tipline for 11 September 2019

GCR USA - 11 September 2019

In addition to what you see below, we will have more from the Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium at Georgetown Law Center in stories later today. But the scholarly conferences in Washington, DC, this week are pretty much behind us. Next up is the Fordham Competition Law Institute, which kicks off its 46th annual antitrust conference with an economics workshop today.

It’s a long way to DC (if you wanna rock Google): The Tipline for 10 September 2019

GCR USA - 10 September 2019

A dozen state attorneys general gathered before the steps of the Supreme Court on Monday to announce an antitrust probe into Google’s practices related to advertising and search. In front of swaths of sweaty reporters and photographers, the attorneys general commended the bipartisan nature of their investigation, which includes every state except California and Alabama. But that was not reflected by the event’s turnout. The lone Democrat in attendance, Karl Racine, travelled all the way from Washington, DC.

Three’s a party: The Tipline for 9 September 2019

GCR USA - 09 September 2019

The structure of US antitrust enforcement is a bit unusual in that there are two federal agencies responsible for applying the nation’s competition law. State attorneys general have always had their role in national enforcement, but they have often lined up beside either the Department of Justice or Federal Trade Commission. Now, a fierce streak of independence suggests states are certainly more than just an afterthought in the whole process – and perhaps are emerging as a third national enforcer to be reckoned with. That streak was on display through their challenges to an alleged cartel involving generic pharmaceuticals investigation and to the T-Mobile/Sprint merger. You can now add investigations into Facebook and Google to that list.