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Antitrust Enforcement Under the Trump Administration

 |  April 19, 2018

Antitrust Enforcement Under the Trump Administration

By Elvira Aliende Rodriguez, Brian G. Burke & John F. Cove, Jr (Shearman & Sterling LLP)

Divining trends in antitrust enforcement in a given presidential administration can take some time. Many commentators didn’t notice material changes in antitrust enforcement in the Obama administration – at least in merger enforcement – until the summer of 2011, when the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) brought suit challenging AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile, more than two years into President Obama’s term. However, in the early tenures of antitrust enforcers appointed by President Trump, there are indicators worth watching to see whether and to what extent they are harbingers for antitrust enforcement.

At the DOJ, newly appointed Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Makan Delrahim has provided some clues about how the DOJ under his leadership will approach antitrust issues at the intersection of antitrust and intellectual property, merger enforcement and the DOJ’s use of consent decrees generally. At the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the direction of change will be less certain until a Trump nominee has been confirmed.

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