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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