Thursday, November 11, 2004
Nicholas Francis, a consultant with London-based Reckon, passed on this news story about the dismissal of a suit against Apple brought VirginMega, a French download site. The suit was an attempt to pierce the armor of Apple's digital rights management (DRM), specifically Apple's proprietary FairPlay technology, with competition law. The French Competition Council dismissed the suit on the grounds that the technology was not "indispensible" and the failure by VirginMega to establish a causal link between Apple's dominant position and the use of DRM.
Thanks, Mr, Francis, for passing on the story and I encourage other readers of this blog to pass on relevant posts.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
The Supreme Court left standing the 4th Circuit's decision in Trigon, dismissing antitrust claims brought by chiropractors against a health care insurance provider. The American Chiropractic Association had filed suit against Trigon in 2000, alleging that the Virginia company had conspired with its health care advisory board, consisting of physicians, to steer patients away from chiropractic care. The district court granted summary judgment to Trigon, and the 4th Circuit affirmed this past Spring. One of the reasons for the dismissal was that the physicians could not have conspired with Trigon because they were employees of the provider, and that the monopolization claim made no economic sense since chiropractic care was generally cheaper.
Tuesday, November 9, 2004
Generic Line reports that Organon and its parent company, Akzo Nobel, entered into $ 36 million settlement with the AG's of all 50 states to resolve state antitrust claims stemming from anticompetitive acts related to its anti-depression drug Remeron. The claims alleged that the two companies took steps to block the entry of generic competition, including fraudulent claims about its patents made to the FDA.
The Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail both reported on the US$ 536 million settlement today. While this closes the challenge from Novell in the EU, the company stated that it intends to file an antitrust suit against Microsoft later this week in Utah.
Monday, November 8, 2004
Two working papers of note, recently posted on SSRN:
(1) Professor John M. O'Connor of Purdue University writes on the need for more effective domestic legislation and international enforcement of judgments to combat international cartels. The paper is particularly relevant in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Hoffman-La Roche this summer, a decision that potentially limits the application of US antitrust law to international cartels.
(2) Professor Michael Waldman of Cornell University provides a nice survey of the economic theory of durable goods and some proposals on antitrust policy in durable goods markets. Particular focus is on the problem of mergers, elimination of second hand markets, tying arrangements, and after-market monopolization.
According to a recent report, draft antitrust legislation in China has been submitted to to the State Council for review. The draft apparently does not include provisions for an independent agency to oversee implementation of the legislation, the first antitrust law for the country if implemented. Also in the news, the Fair Competition and Market Economy 2004 Shanghai International Forum will be held this Wednesday in Shanghia. This multicountry forum, including legal experts and ministers from 12 countries, will discuss issues of global competition and competition policy.