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DOJ Loses Two Criminal Antitrust Labor Trials, Stymied by (Lack of) Evidence

April 19, 2022 | Blog | By Bruce Sokler, Tinny Song

Last week, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) was handed two losses after federal juries in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado acquitted defendants accused of violating the antitrust laws by fixing wages and conspiring to suppress competition through no-poach agreements, respectively.
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No Harm, No Foul, and No Standing for Would-be SEP Implementer: 5th Circuit Changes Narrative on Patent “Hold Up”

March 3, 2022 | Blog | By Daniel Weinger, Michael Renaud, Bruce Sokler, James Thomson

In its analysis of Cont’l Auto. Sys., Inc. v. Avanci, L.L.C.,, the Fifth Circuit made several interesting findings: (1) that potential pass-through non-FRAND royalties are too speculative to create an injury in fact; (2) that SEP holders can fulfill their obligations to SSOs, with respect to suppliers, by actively licensing SEPs to downstream OEMs; and (3) that not all implementers are intended beneficiaries entitled to FRAND licenses.
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Increased HSR Notification Thresholds for 2022

January 24, 2022 | Alert | By Bruce Sokler, Robert Kidwell, Farrah Short

This alert covers the FTC’s increased jurisdictional thresholds for premerger notification filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR Act), as amended.
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FTC, DOJ Launch Proceeding to Revise Antitrust Merger Guidelines

January 19, 2022 | Blog | By Bruce Sokler, Joseph Miller, Robert Kidwell, Farrah Short

As has been expected, on January 18, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced in a joint press conference an initiative to review and revise the antitrust merger guidelines.  In his competition Executive Order last summer, President Biden announced a policy calling for increased scrutiny of mergers.  Against this backdrop, one would expect the effort would result in the toughening of standards over what currently is found in the existing guidelines.
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FTC Issues Fines Totaling Nearly $2 Million For Failures To File HSR Notifications

December 27, 2021 | Blog | By Bruce Sokler, Farrah Short

The Federal Trade Commission is closing out the year with vigorous enforcement of the Hart Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (“HSR Act”) by imposing fines totaling nearly $2 million.  On December 22, 2021, the FTC settled charges in two separate matters for repeated violations of the HSR Act. In one, investment fund operator Biglari Holdings Inc. will pay $1.4 million to settle charges that it failed to file the required HSR notification for stock acquisitions it made in 2020.  In the other, Clarence L. Werner, founder of Werner Enterprises, Inc. will pay $486,900 to settle charges that he failed to file for acquisitions between May 2007 and February 2020 of his company’s stock.
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On December 6 and 7, 2021, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (“DOJ”) and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) hosted a virtual workshop to discuss competition issues in labor markets and plans to execute President Biden’s Executive Order to address competition issues in our modern economy.  The workshop, along with enforcement actions already underway, reinforces that this is a priority area for the Administration; marketplace participants are well advised to review their policies and compliance programs accordingly.
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Uncertain Seas for SEP Sailing In the US – New Guidance May Cause Stormy SEP Future

December 9, 2021 | | By Michael Renaud, Daniel Weinger, Bruce Sokler, James Thomson

The DOJ is requesting public comment on a new draft policy concerning licensing negotiations and remedies for standards-essential patents (SEPs) subject to voluntary F/RAND commitments recently jointly issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division (DOJ)(collectively, “the Agencies”).  The Agencies have requested comment on eleven questions until the comment period closes January 5, 2021.
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The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (“DOJ”) just announced that they will host a virtual workshop on December 6 and 7, 2021, to discuss the agencies’ efforts to promote competition in labor markets and worker mobility.
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Webinar Recording: Cutting Through the Antitrust Noise — What’s Actually Going On?

October 7, 2021 | Webinar | By Robert Kidwell, Joseph Miller, Farrah Short, Bruce Sokler

Mintz’s antitrust team discussed what you should know as you conduct your business and plan your transactions and investments.
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FTC Promises More Rigorous Merger Reviews

October 1, 2021 | Alert | By Bruce Sokler, Farrah Short

Read about the FTC Bureau of Competition’s new process reforms to make the merger review process more rigorous and streamlined amid the surge in mergers and HSR notifications.
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Podcast Viewpoint Image
Joe Miller returns to Integrity Through Compliance to share his perspective on what changes president Biden may make, or encourage Congress to make, regarding antitrust enforcement.
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Joe Miller and Bruce Sokler, Co-Chairs of Mintz's Antitrust Practice, discuss President Biden’s July 9 executive order, which called for a government-wide focus on antitrust competition issues and identified 72 initiatives across several industries.
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In this episode, AMI’s Dionne Lomax speaks with Joe Miller. They discuss recent developments in antitrust compliance — specifically, compliance with government consent decrees and what might be occurring behind the scenes at federal enforcement agencies once a company has settled antitrust charges.
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Busy Week for the FTC Shows Aspirations of and Limitations on Chair Khan’s Enforcement Agenda

July 9, 2021 | Blog | By Bruce Sokler, Joseph Miller, Alexandra Gallo-Cook

Last week was momentous for the Federal Trade Commission.  First, the campaign use antitrust to reign in “Big Tech” faced a setback as the United States District Court for District of Columbia dismissed the FTC’s suit against Facebook (as well as a similar suit brought by virtually all the State Attorney Generals).  In juxtaposition, on July 1, 2021, the FTC held an unusual open meeting of the Commission.  Clearly indicating that she intends to utilize her 3-2 Democratic majority while she has it1, Chair Lina Khan passed several agenda items foreshadowing broad, aggressive antitrust enforcement activity by the FTC.
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Read about President Biden’s July 9 Executive Order with 72 initiatives to promote competition in the U.S. economy, including through actions directed at labor markets and the health care, technology, agriculture, and banking sectors.
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On June 11, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dismissed the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) administrative order against 1-800 Contacts, Inc. The Second Circuit found that the online retailer’s trademark settlements with competitor online contact lens sellers were not “inherently suspect” and, instead, should be evaluated under the traditional rule of reason analysis. The trademark settlements specified, among other things, that 1-800 Contacts’ competitors would not bid on the company’s name as a keyword in online search advertising. This ruling has significant implications for the “inherently suspect” standard—according to the Second Circuit, “courts do not have sufficient experience with this type of conduct to permit [the FTC’s] abbreviated analysis.”
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