US Law

Competition and Antirust Law Enforcement Act Proposes Wholesale Changes to U.S. Antitrust Law

By Matthew F. Tilley & David B. Hamilton (Womble Bond Dickinson)

Congress is considering proposed legislation would substantially rewrite U.S. antitrust law. If approved, the “Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Act of 2021” would increase the compliance burden on many mergers to show they would not create a risk of reducing competition. The bill also would create a new federal office to enforce such regulation, as well as increasing civil penalties in antitrust litigation. 

Wasting no time as the incoming chair of the Senate antitrust subcommittee, on February 4, Sen. Amy Klobuchar introduced a comprehensive and sweeping bill targeting the tech industry that would make wholesale changes to antitrust jurisprudence.  The bill, entitled the “Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Act of 2021” most certainly aligns with the political agenda of Democrats and several Republicans, as evidenced by the House Antitrust Subcomittee hearings chaired in July and August by Rep. Dennis Cicilline. (Indeed, many of the suggestions in the House Subcommittee’s 450-page report are included in the bill.)  Whether the bill aligns with the purpose of competition and antitrust law, however, is debatable.  And, if an objective is to reduce or minimize antitrust litigation, the bill fails.

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