Blog o’ Blogs October

With Summer ending and the Autumn eaves upon us, we find other Competition and Antitrust cycles coming to a close. With a particularly turbulent few weeks for the Health industry, the Energy sector… and some controversial positions coming out of Agribusiness’ latest looming consolidation. CPI also welcomes a couple of new Antitrust Blogs to our usual rotation of insightful and entertaining resources.

Enjoy the Fall!

General Court rules on the adequacy of commitments in abuse of dominance case
Chantal Lavoie (Lavoielegal)
In a judgment delivered on 15 September 2015 involving Morningstar vs European Commission, the General Court was asked to consider whether commitments offered by Thompson Reuters to the European Commission in the context of an abuse of dominance investigation were sufficient to address the competition concerns identified. The appeal provided the court with a rare opportunity to review the adequacy of commitments.

Antitrust Issues Facing Private Equity Entities
Jeffrey May (Antitrust Connect)
Within the last week, the federal district court in Washington, D.C. has approved a U.S. consent decree resolving Department of Justice Antitrust Division concerns over public relations software provider Cision’s acquisition of PR Newswire, a company that distributes company press releases to the media.

A Set-top Box Set-Back and an Opportunity for Good Government
Geoffrey Manne & Kristian Stout (Truth on the Market)
There must have been a great gnashing of teeth in Chairman Wheeler’s office this morning as the FCC announced that it was pulling the Chairman’s latest modifications to the set-top box proposal from its voting agenda. This is surely but a bump in the road for the Chairman; he will undoubtedly press ever onward in his quest to “fix” a market that is flooded with competition and consumer choice.

M&A prospects in the healthcare industry
Sean Williamson (Deal Law Wire)
RR Donnelley’s August 2016 VENUE Market Spotlight focused on the healthcare industry and the prospects for M&A activity in that space over the next 12 months. The report notes that there were 678 healthcare transactions in the first half of 2016…

DOJ Steps Up to the Plate and Protects Farmers
(Antitrust Lawyer Blog)
On August 31, the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division (“DOJ”) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to block Deere & Company’s (“Deere”) proposed $190 million acquisition of Precision Planting LLC (“Precision Planting”) from Monsanto Company in order to preserve competition in the market for high-speed precision planting systems in the United States.

Proposed amendments to Canadian corporate and competition laws
Tracey Kernahan (Norton Rose Fulbright)
A bill amending the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA), the Competition Act and federal cooperatives and not-for-profit legislation was tabled for first reading in the Canadian parliament on September 28, 2016. The changes proposed (the Amendments) are intended to ensure that Canada continues to have a modern economic framework that allows federally regulated corporations to operate flexibly and innovatively.

GC Judgment in Case T-472/13, Lundbeck v Commission: on patents and Schrödinger’s cat
Pablo Ibanez Colomo (Chilling Competition)
Last week, the General Court delivered its judgment in Lundbeck. It is the first ruling on the pay-for-delay saga. As most of you know, the GC dismissed the action for annulment. It confirmed that, in the specific circumstances of the case, the payments to generic producers amounted to a restriction of competition by object

The end of pay for delay? A bitter pill to swallow for Lundbeck and originator pharma companies
Chantal Lavoie (Lavoielaw)
In a series of much awaited judgments delivered on 8 September 2016 (referred to as the judgments or the Lundbeck judgments), the General Court has upheld the European Commission’s infringement decision under Article 101 TFEU regarding pay for delay patent settlement agreements entered into by originator pharmaceutical company Lundbeck with several generic drug manufacturers…

European Commission Extends Its Settlement Procedure to Abuse of Dominance Cases
Mark Powell (Antitrust Connect)
On 20 September 2016, the European Commission (“Commission”) issued its first settlement decision under Article 102 TFEU following the introduction of Regulation 1/2003 and reduced the fine of Altstoff Recycling Austria (“ARA“) by 30% in exchange for its cooperation. ARA’s fine was thus reduced to €6 million.

Presenting Public Knowledge: Leniency Programmes and Cartels
Till Schreiber and Vasil Savov (Competition Law Blog)
By his opinion of 21 July 2016 in Case C-162/15 P, Evonik Degussa, Advocate General (AG) Maciej Szpunar of the EU Court of Justice confirmed that information on the functioning of a clandestine cartel, even when it originates from the leniency statements, is not protected from publication in non-confidential versions of decisions by the European Commission.

Audio: Consolidation in the energy industry
Jay Levine and Brett Thornton (Orrick Antitrust)
Jay welcomes colleague Brett Thornton, chair of Porter Wright’s oil and gas practice, as they examine the oil and gas industry in the antitrust arena. Brett explains how consolidation can create competitive pressure and what issues are on the horizon for oil and gas companies.

Android and Microsoft: similarities and differences
Pablo Ibanez Colomo (Truth on the Market)
Our readers have asked me a few times about the similarities and differences between Android and Microsoft. The question makes a lot of sense. If Microsoft was a resounding victory for the Commission, and Android is also about tying (and about software), should we waste time and paper discussing it? Is the outcome not going to be exactly the same? I believe that there are genuine differences between the two. This first post addresses some of them.

Second Circuit Squeezes the Juice Out of Vitamin C Jury Verdict
Richard Goldstein and Stephen Bomse (Orrick Antitrust)
On September 20, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion in In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation, reversing the district court’s eight year-old decision not to grant a motion to dismiss the case, based on international comity. The Second Circuit vacated the $147 million judgment against the two defendants.