In the past year, a chorus of voices on the political left in the US has called for more aggressive competition enforcement as a means to help remedy the problem of inequality, while controversial political candidates in both parties have blamed lax international trade rules for unemployment and other voter woes. Pallavi Guniganti and Ron Knox explore what antitrust might be able to do for some of the concerns that drove the wildest presidential election in living memory.
It’s easy to be a doom-monger about Chinese competition enforcers’ approach to fairness and due process, and to bemoan their lack of sophistication. But they appear to be moving in the right direction – at least for now. Tom Webb reports
China’s competition enforcement regime is up and running, and a slew of lawyers have sprung up to take care of the toughest cases in a unique environment. Tom Webb meets the movers and shakers of the Chinese antitrust bar.
Big data first began to pique widespread curiosity in 2011 – at least as measured by Google Trends’ analysis of the search engine’s aggregated information, which shows the number of searches for the term on Google skyrocketing that year. The concept quickly appeared on the antitrust community’s radar as well, and by 2016, the interplay between big data and competition law had become all the rage.
The shipping liner industry faces a gloomy future. Earlier this year, the Oetker Group said several companies will be forced to take further steps for a sustained cost reduction, by continuing to exploit economies of scale and make further efficiency improvements to their processes. The nature of these changes, including further market consolidation, has the potential to reshape the battleground between competition enforcement and liner shipping.
The time has arrived. Directive 2014/104 on antitrust damages has been – or, at least, should have been – implemented in all EU member states as of 27 December 2016.
It was supposed to be the vote that guaranteed stability for businesses in Spain: the re-election of the country’s veteran prime minister, Mariano Rajoy of the People’s Party.
Of all the contrasts one can observe on the world’s largest continent, those among different jurisdictions’ judicial review of competition decisions are probably among the least remarked upon. Nonetheless, they are striking, particularly given that the constant refrain in antitrust is for global convergence rather than contradiction.
President Donald Trump’s greatest influence on private antitrust enforcement is likely to stem from the judicial appointments he makes over the course of his administration. Along with appointing a justice to the Supreme Court, Trump will immediately have the responsibility of filling over 100 vacant or soon-to-be vacant positions in the lower courts, which antitrust observers have said were becoming more plaintiff-friendly under the Obama administration.
Investors’ diversification of their portfolios by buying stakes in companies across industries and within the same industry is generally seen as a positive – a way to decrease the risk of putting too many eggs in one basket, while generating steady returns. Yet when an investor’s influence grows within a specific sector, it conjures competition concerns.
Agreements between branded and generic drug makers for the latter to stay off the market for a certain period have become the basis for hundreds of “pay for delay” antitrust cases in the US; one observer opines that there may be more pending now than ever before.
In April 2010, four days before the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released their proposed update to the horizontal merger guidelines, Judge Maxine Chesney dismissed a private antitrust challenge to the merger of drugmakers Pfizer and Wyeth. She cited Supreme Court and other appellate rulings in explaining that the plaintiffs had failed to allege appropriately defined product markets.
As the debate over internet regulation rages on, automated data processing systems in the online retail sector have received surprisingly little coverage. From Amazon to Skyscanner, price comparison softwares have become expected and even integral to modern living. But with the ease provided by the increasingly ubiquitous software has also come an easier pathway to collusion, and difficulties with regards to its prosecution.
For one of the world’s leading competition enforcers, handing down only two behavioural fines in 2015 wasn’t a great look, especially compared to the now-defunct UK Office of Fair Trading’s appetite for enforcement.
Over the last decade, Latin America has become a hotbed of antitrust. From stalwarts such as Brazil to up-and-comers like Chile or Colombia, a host of antitrust authorities across the continent have sought to make their mark through aggressive and increasingly sophisticated enforcement, close scrutiny of problematic deals and policy interventions designed to boost or even create competition culture.
Few antitrust enforcers can boast as pure a focus as Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (FCO).