Blog o’ Blogs November 2014

November 2014, Volume 4, Number 11
 
 
 
This month we have a grab bag of hot issues, including an insider’s story re price fixing, potential action from the new Congress, network neutrality, spicy documents, confidentiality, payments, State Aid, innovation, plausibility, insurance, and supply chains. 
 
 
 
Confessions of a Price Fixer
“The story goes like this: ‘I understand you can always say no, but if you accept the request to go to jail, we’ll support you 100 percent,'” he said. “If I fight and lose, I lose everything. But if I don’t fight the company, the company … will support me for the rest of my life.”
Hans Greimel (Automotive News)
 
 
 
A Challenge to FTC Methods
Republicans in the new Congress are expected to continue raising concerns about the scope of the FTC’s unique powers to police unfair methods of business competition that might not be covered by traditional antitrust law. 
Brent Kendall (Wall Street Journal)
 
 
 
Net Neutrality—What’s in a Name?
To commercial entrants and public interest groups, the defining issue is competition – whether entities with market power achieved through regulation will be permitted to use that power to choke off competitive threats in an unregulated space. 
Robert Schwartz (Antitrust Today)
 
 
 
The Politics of Net Neutrality: Five Things to Watch
Conventional wisdom is that the more authority the FCC asserts over broadband as part of net neutrality, the more likely the agency is to approve the Comcast-TWC merger.
Gautham Nagesh (The Law Blog)
 
 
 
Negative competition advocacy, or the importance of leading by inaction
What is not emphasised enough is that these same authorities have an equally important role to play when it comes to dismissing unsubstantiated concerns.
Pablo Ibañez Colomo (Chillin’ Competition)
 
 
 
Spicy Documents Serve up a Paltry Antitrust Meal
Antitrust case books are littered with cases that initially looked promising based on some supposed hot documents, but ultimately failed because the foundations of a sound antitrust case were missing.
David Balto (Truth on the Market)
 
 
 
High Court tests the limits of confidentiality in EC infringement decisions
It is difficult to disagree with his criticisms of the EC’s “one speed molasses like approach” to redacting its decisions, which he said was “completely unacceptable.”
Eesvan Krishnan (Competition Bulletin)
 
 
 
Annals of Antitrust Smells: Retailers dropping Apple Pay and Google Wallet
Big retailers have got together to develop a system that ostensibly competes with existing payments. So far so good. They all deserve more competition. But then they have acted to actually exclude new entrants into portions of those payment services.
Joshua Gans (Digitopoly) 
 
 
 
On selectivity and alleged fiscal State aid
The Judgments are important not only because of their economic significance (we’re talking of hundreds of affected companies and of billions of euros) but also because they are a welcome clarification on how to interpret the selectivity criterion in cases concerning alleged fiscal State aid.
Alfonso Lamadrid (Chillin’ Competition)
 
 
 
Antitrust Law and Effects on Innovation, Quality and the Labor Market
Antitrust lawyers and economists can myopically focus on static models of competition and obsess over price effects.
Steven Cernak (AntitrustConnect)
 
 
 
Getting the Judge to Budge on the Nudge from Conceivable to Plausible under Twombly
Courts are taking a more holistic view of the allegations and recognizing that just because each allegation on its own does not make the claim plausible, when viewed together as a cohesive story, the plausibility standard may be met.
Robert Connolly (Cartel Capers)
 
 
 
Is Insurance Really Exempt from the U.S. Antitrust Laws?
That is because the courts don’t just exempt insurance companies from antitrust scrutiny. No, the exemption only applies to the business of insurance and in certain circumstances.
Jarod Bona (The Antitrust Attorney Blog)
 
 
 
From the antitrust mailbag: manufacturer-imposed requirements
Any restriction in a supply chain relationship that is independently imposed (that is, not the result of an agreement among competing suppliers or competing retailers) is tested for reasonableness by analyzing in detail the overall interbrand market for the product.
Alan Friedman (FTC)
 
 
 
 
 
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