US: Reach of antitrust law reinforced in AU Optronics ruling

Taiwan’s AU Optronics has failed in its bid to reverse a 2012 decision that imposed a $500 million fine on the company for fixing prices in the liquid crystal display panel industry.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled Thursday to reject the appeal after AU Optronics argued the fine was excessive because it took into account alleged financial gains to coconspirators, reports say. But the court found the fines to be in line with the law.

AU Optronics had also argued that it could not be brought to court in the US over the alleged anticompetitive behavior because much of that behavior occurred outside the US without direct effect on US consumers. But the appellate court’s ruling on Thursday reaffirmed the grip of US antitrust law, thwarting what experts said was a significant threat to enforcement.

US Department of Justice Antitrust Division head and Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer said Thursday’s ruling “demonstrates that price-fixing cartels that involve US imports and cause massive harm to US consumers cannot escape the reach of US antitrust enforcement by operating outside our boarders.”

Full content: Reuters

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