Antitrust is dynamic. In regulating business strategy, competition law is only as effective as its understanding of each industry’s idiosyncrasies. Novel business practices reflect changing technologies, market conditions, and strategies. Antitrust lawyers do not simply master doctrine. Fluent in the basic principles of antitrust law and economics, they understand industry conditions and the enforcement agencies’ agendas. Above all, they stay abreast of cutting-edge developments in the law.
This seminar bestows that understanding. We will discuss today’s most hotly debated antitrust questions, explore how foreign jurisdictions’ competition laws and enforcement ideals deviate from U.S. practice, and delve into the industry-specific issues that arise in fields ranging from healthcare to wireless technology.
Major points of focus include the evolving relationship between antitrust law and intellectual-property rights. We shall discuss post-Actavis issues in the pay-for-delay space, including no-authorized-generic promises by pioneer-drug manufacturers and whether the continuation of infringement litigation immunizes a reverse payment. Outside of the life sciences, urgent questions involve antitrust limits on IP aggregation by patent-assertion entities and practicing firms. Further, when does a “privateering” agreement between a practicing entity and a PAE implicate competition law? Does the owner of a standard-essential patent violate antitrust law in seeking to enjoin a technology user despite its prior assurance to license on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms? We shall also address antitrust limits on patent licensing and refusals to deal. Agency guidelines overseas, such as in China, and enforcement actions in Asia more broadly hint at the direction of international antitrust in this area.
In the larger field of antitrust and technology, some commentators argue that big data and privacy may implicate competition policy. In 2016, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office accused Facebook of abusing its dominance based on privacy and big-data theories. Do those allegations hold water? A recurring problem in antitrust, which has emerged anew in the pharmaceutical industry, is predatory innovation. A separate development goes to the nature of actionable conspiracies where the lines between vertical and horizontal agreements become blurred. The Apple e-Books saga, which came to an end in March 2016 when the Supreme Court denied cert., has important repercussions for the law in this space. We shall also address the ongoing debate about the reach of Section 5 of the FTC Act, which allows the FTC to reach beyond the Sherman Act to condemn unfair methods of competition. The FTC’s controversial 2015 statement of enforcement principles on Section 5 features here, and we shall ask whether it makes sense that the Justice Department and FTC can subject firms to distinct liability standards. We shall touch on pending legislation, the SMARTER Act, which touches upon those issues. A critical antitrust issue that remains unresolved is the scope of Noerr-Pennington immunity. Finally, we will discuss contemporary issues in healthcare-merger oversight.