Exploring New Approaches to Unsettled Legal Questions

Tag: Global Antitrust Institute Invitational Competition

Deciphering Non-Discriminatory Licensing Terms Under a FRAND Commitment

by Arielle Kop­pell*

To what extent can a SEP hold­er can dis­crim­i­nate in how it licens­es to sup­pli­ers with­out vio­lat­ing its FRAND com­mit­ment? In this Con­tri­bu­tion, Arielle Kop­pell (’19) con­sid­ers whether and how SEP hold­ers can dis­crim­i­nate in licens­ing. Ulti­mate­ly, this Con­tri­bu­tion argues that a SEP hold­er should be able to arrange dif­fer­en­tial licens­ing terms for ver­ti­cal­ly inte­grat­ed and non-ver­ti­cal­ly inte­grat­ed licensee coun­ter­parts require its licensees to pur­chase tied non-SEP com­po­nents when those non-SEP com­po­nents are func­tion­al­ly related.

Always a Monopoly, Never a Monopolist: Why Antitrust is the Wrong Regulatory Scheme for Protecting Competition in Technical Standards

by Ran­di Brown*

When patent hold­ers gain stan­dard-essen­tial sta­tus, should antitrust law treat the monop­oly con­ferred on them like every oth­er monop­oly? In this Con­tri­bu­tion, Ran­di Brown (’19) argues that the best approach to such monop­o­lies is not to expose them to antitrust scruti­ny, but instead to allow con­tract and patent reme­dies to main­tain the ben­e­fits to com­pe­ti­tion and inno­va­tion afford­ed by standardization.

Buyers Beware: Lower Prices Can be Harmful to Consumers

by Megan Hare*

Does a bun­dled dis­count offered by a dom­i­nant firm in the mar­ket vio­late Sec­tion 2 of the Sher­man Antitrust Act? Megan Hare (’18) address­es this ques­tion based on her expe­ri­ence at the 2017 Glob­al Antitrust Insti­tute Moot Court Com­pe­ti­tion. Antitrust doc­trine strong­ly favors aggres­sive pric­ing and oth­er dis­count schemes that encour­age com­pe­ti­tion with­in a giv­en mar­ket. Bun­dled dis­counts fall square­ly with­in the pro­com­pet­i­tive pric­ing schemes praised by the Supreme Court’s antitrust doc­trine. These rebates com­pel firms to com­pete for con­sumers, there­by allow­ing con­sumers to pay low­er prices for prod­ucts than they oth­er­wise would pay with­out such mar­ket com­pe­ti­tion. This Con­tri­bu­tion argues, how­ev­er, that bun­dled dis­counts may be anti­com­pet­i­tive and unlaw­ful under the Sher­man Act when unjus­ti­fi­ably used by a dom­i­nant firm to gain addi­tion­al mar­ket share or to main­tain the firm’s exist­ing mar­ket power.

Growing Pains in EU Antitrust Enforcement

by Jonathan Het­tle­man*

Can antitrust law be made rig­or­ous in how it ana­lyzes whether a firm is harm­ing com­pe­ti­tion in a mar­ket? Jonathan Het­tle­man (’18) tack­les this ques­tion, which was at the cen­ter of the 2017 Prob­lem at the Glob­al Antitrust Insti­tute’s Invi­ta­tion­al Moot Court Com­pe­ti­tion in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. His­tor­i­cal­ly, EU law imposed height­en duties on firms con­sid­ered “dom­i­nant,” with­out look­ing to the mar­ket effects of par­tic­u­lar actions. By look­ing to recent devel­op­ments in how EU law con­sid­ers rebate schemes, this Con­tri­bu­tion argues that antitrust law should con­tin­ue to build on the bur­geon­ing effects-based approach to deter­min­ing whether a fir­m’s con­duct fore­clos­es competition.

The Status and Viability of the Efficiencies Defense in Antitrust Law

by Isaac Wein­gram*

Is the “effi­cien­cies” defense to an antitrust claim a prac­ti­cal option for defen­dants in merg­er cas­es, and, if so, are courts well equipped to suc­cess­ful­ly eval­u­ate its mer­its? Isaac Wein­gram (’17) exam­ines this ques­tion, pre­sent­ed by the 2016 Glob­al Antitrust Insti­tute Invi­ta­tion­al, held at George Mason Uni­ver­si­ty. The effi­cien­cies defense pro­vides that, to rebut the con­cern that the anti-com­pet­i­tive effects of a merg­er would harm con­sumers, com­pa­nies may show that reduc­tions in pro­duc­tion costs or gains in inno­va­tion from a merg­er will ulti­mate­ly ben­e­fit con­sumers in the form of low­er prices or high­er qual­i­ty goods and ser­vices. This Con­tri­bu­tion argues that, first, though sev­er­al Cir­cuit Courts of Appeals have sig­naled an open­ness to hear­ing the effi­cien­cies defense, chal­lenges asso­ci­at­ed with meet­ing its demand­ing stan­dard ren­ders the defense an imprac­ti­cal option for merg­er defen­dants; sec­ond, even if it were a viable prac­ti­cal option, courts are unlike­ly to accu­rate­ly cal­cu­late and eval­u­ate the effi­cien­cy gains at the cen­ter of the defense.

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