Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Competition Litigation in the United Kingdom: What Lies Ahead?

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Renato Nazzini (King's College, London) asks Competition Litigation in the United Kingdom: What Lies Ahead?


The process of reform of private actions in the United Kingdom has been a long one. Probably, rightly so. Any reforms aimed at making it easier to bring competition law claims by definition allow claims to be brought that would not have been brought otherwise. This increase in litigation imposes a cost on society that must be justified by a genuine broadening of access to justice for claimants having a meritorious case and, possibly, wider benefits such as enhanced deterrence of anticompetitive conduct and the associated improvement in economic welfare. Balancing the need to provide the right set of incentives and safeguards for claimants in competition cases while at the same time guarding against the risk of unmeritorious or unnecessary litigation is a complex exercise.

Over the years, however, since the inception of this debate by two papers published by the Office of Fair Trading in 2007, there has been a growing agreement around some general principles while others remain controversial. Perhaps the least controversial is the desirability that a specialist court of first instance have jurisdiction to hear competition cases.

Still fairly widely accepted is the idea that civil damages are designed to compensate the claimant, not to punish the defendant. As a consequence, damages must be primarily compensatory. This does not necessarily mean that damages claims do not have, and should not have, a deterrent effect. It means, however, that the quantification of damages must be guided by the objective of compensating the claimant. This rules out the award of multiple damages as a general rule in competition cases.

More controversial is the need for an opt-out collective action regime. Opinions remain sharply divided although the desirability of a more efficient way of ensuring collective redress where individual claims are not, in themselves, of sufficient magnitude to justify the cost of the proceedings is difficult to deny.

After extensive consultation, in January 2013 the U.K. Government announced its proposal to make significant changes to the procedures whereby competition cases are litigated in England and Wales. In Private Actions in Competition Law: A consultation on options for reform-government response ('Government Response'), the Government sets out the main pillars of the new regime. Some of the changes, such as the introduction of an opt-out collective action, appear significant. Others are incremental and an improvement of the current system rather than a "revolution." However, one striking feature of the proposals is their level of generality. Much of their impact will depend on how these general proposals are actually implemented.

May 4, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

US v. H&R Block: An Illustration of the DOJ's New, but Controversial Approach to Market Definition

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Joseph J. Simons, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Malcolm B. Coate, U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offer US v. H&R Block: An Illustration of the DOJ's New, but Controversial Approach to Market Definition.

ABSTRACT: Sometimes what appears to be a little, almost imperceptible change can have a huge impact on a policy regime. The recently revised DOJ/FTC Horizontal Merger Guidelines contain such a change, as the document recognizes the importance of Critical Loss Analysis in defining a market, but introduces an unsupported theoretical construct to control the analysis. This approach imposes a structure based on the economist’s Lerner index, and then applies a specific style of diversion analysis to compute the actual loss to a hypothetical price increase. We show that this methodology almost guarantees narrow markets, a change that would support a very significant increase in the level of merger enforcement. However, we also show how this aggressive policy result depends on specific assumptions that are generally not justified. Change these assumptions and the traditional implications of a critical loss analysis are restored. The recent Department of Justice (DOJ) challenge of H&R Block’s proposed acquisition of the TaxACT brand is used to illustrate the problem. Unjustified theoretical assumptions allowed the DOJ’s expert economist to testify to a narrow market that virtually guaranteed that the merger would be found anticompetitive. Had he been required to rely on testimony and other evidence of the likely actual loss in volume, the outcome of the merger challenge may have been different.

May 4, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Private Competition Actions for Damages Under Mexican Law

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Omar Guerrero Rodriguez & Alan Ramirez Casazza (Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa, S.C) analyze Private Competition Actions for Damages Under Mexican Law.

ABSTRACT: For almost 20 years private enforcement for damages of competition law in Mexico was non-existent. As discussed below, there have only been two cases tried before civil courts seeking individual redress for damages as a consequence of violation of Mexican competition law. One explanation for this low level is that, different from other jurisdictions (i.e. the United States), private enforcement in Mexico cannot commence until the competition agency has determined—by an unchallenged resolution—that a violation to competition law has occurred. In this regard, Mexican competition law has been more regulatory- than court-driven.

Some other features also important to keep in mind: (i) competition law in Mexico is reserved only for the Federal Competition Commission's jurisdiction; (ii) there are no state competition agencies and, therefore, no state antitrust private actions; and (iii) class actions for competition matters were non-existent before the 2011 amendment to the Federal Code of Civil Proceedings and the May 2011 amendment to the Mexican Competition Law.

Before then, the only entity with standing to bring class actions in competition matters was the Federal Consumer protection agency (Profeco); it has not brought any since 1993. This lack of activity provided an important impetus for the 2011 class action amendment.

The May 10, 2011 amendments to the FLEC set forth a questionable provision that would allow private actions without a prior unchallenged finding of the FCC. Practitioners have conflicting positions regarding the validity of this provision; nothing has been resolved because no private competition action has been submitted since the amendments entered into force. It seems also difficult to believe that, despite the new provision, private actions without an FCC's finding will flourish since-as explained below-there is a binding precedent of the Supreme Court that bans such possibility.

May 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Sound Basis” Exists for Revising the HSR Act’s Investment-Only Exemption

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Bilal Sayyed (Kirkland & Ellis) asks for "Sound Basis” Exists for Revising the HSR Act’s Investment-Only Exemption.

ABSTRACT: The Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 19762 (HSR Act) requires that acquisitions of voting securities, assets, or non-corporate entities be notified to the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice (the Agencies). The Act’s notification and waiting period requirements have fundamentally changed the process and substance of merger review—the manner in which the government investigates, remedies, and challenges mergers and acquisitions—since coming into force in September 1978. While the Act has had a positive effect on the Agencies’ ability to identify, remedy, and, if necessary, to enjoin anticompetitive mergers, it has also imposed costs, some of which are unnecessary for accomplishing the Act’s purpose. The most easily measurable costs are the filing fees, which are $45,000, $125,000 or $280,000, depending on the size of the transaction. Other important costs are not easily quantified, but arise from the delay inherent in the Act’s reporting and waiting period requirements. The Act may also restrict or discourage shareholders from interacting with management. Because of the narrow reading of the investment-only exemption, such interaction may preclude reliance on the exemption. This disincentive runs counter to policies that encourage more communication between shareholders and management. This article suggests, in accordance with President Obama’s call for regulatory reform, that the “investment-only” exemption should be replaced with a modest exemption for most acquisitions of a de minimis percentage of an issuer’s outstanding voting securities. Specifically, the investment-only exemption should be replaced with an alternative exemption for de minimis investments in issuers that are not competitors of the acquiring person, the acquiring person’s associates, or of entities in which the acquiring person or its associates have substantial holdings.

May 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Towards a Class Action Regime for Competition Litigation in the United Kingdom: An Assessment of the Government's Proposals

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Christopher Brown (Matrix Chambers) & Scott Campbell (Stewarts Law) discuss Towards a Class Action Regime for Competition Litigation in the United Kingdom: An Assessment of the Government's Proposals.

ABSTRACT: In April 2012, the U.K. Government launched a consultation on possible reform of the U.K. regime for private redress in respect of breaches of competition law. The consultation, which could be seen both as a belated response by the Government to the recommendations on private redress made to it by the Office of Fair Trading in 2007 and as an outflanking of the European Commission's White Paper on Damages Actions for Breach of the EC antitrust rules, was wide-ranging and included several radical proposals designed to facilitate redress for victims of anticompetitive conduct-most notably, the introduction of an "opt-out" collective actions mechanism. It is fair to say that this proposal was the one that generated the most fevered reaction among respondents. While the majority of respondents agreed with the Government's assessment that the current system of collective redress had failed, there were sharp divisions as to what steps should be taken to cure the problem.

In January 2013, the U.K. Government issued its response to the consultation. It is therefore possible to discern the concrete proposals that ought to make their way into draft legislation to be tabled during the present Parliament. Notably, the Government maintains the view that an opt-out mechanism should be introduced.

This article considers the Government's proposals on collective actions. It starts with a short précis of the current position, before providing an overview of the Government's proposed reform. It then addresses two particular issues which, it is submitted, will be critical to the success or failure of the reform: first, the proposed certification rules; and second, the funding of such actions

May 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Passive-Aggressive Investments: Minority Shareholdings and Competition Law

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Gian Diego Pini, University of Milan - Department of Public, Civil Procedure, International and European Law has written on Passive-Aggressive Investments: Minority Shareholdings and Competition Law.

ASBTRACT: Minority share acquisitions between competitors have been mistakenly considered of concern only in case they result in a change of control. First the economic theory, closely followed by courts and doctrine, explained and demonstrated that even the acquisition of non-controlling shareholdings may distort competition and requires a close scrutiny by competition authorities. This article analyzes the impact of minority shareholdings on the incentives of rival firms and ascertains whether the authorities are provided with adequate tools to investigate and address the potential anticompetitive effects. The results of the economic theory are the starting point to assess whether the legal treatment of minority shareholdings under the EU and US antitrust systems is appropriate and adequate.

May 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Competitiveness and Competition: International Merger Control from the Business Prospective

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Alexandr Svetlicinii, European University Institute - Department of Law discusses Competitiveness and Competition: International Merger Control from the Business Prospective.

ABSTRACT: Increasing globalization of international markets has prompted development of economies of scale on the international level. Mergers and acquisitions is one of the ways for the multinational companies to increase their competitiveness and expand on the global market. This business strategy is limited by the existing merger control regulations on the national level. The multi-jurisdictional approval of trans-national mergers remains costly and lengthy procedure that negatively affects companies’ performance and growth. International antitrust, as it stands today hasn’t produced an optimal, universally accepted model to deal with the trans-national mergers. There are several alternative solutions in the form of bilateral cooperation of competition authorities, comity agreements, proposals to design an international competition treaty or delegate the merger control competence to an international organization like WTO. Special emphasis will be attributed to the example of the EU-US merger control cooperation as a model for other countries.

Present research is aimed at analysis of the trans-national merger control from the position of the business community. What is the role and the position of the business on this issue? What are the benefits and challenges that companies encounter within existing merger control frameworks? Comparative and interdisciplinary approach is used in order to analyze this multi-dimensional issue from the substantive and procedural points of view. Present work provides arguments in favor of the existing and evolving cooperation among competition authorities and its value to the business community and calls for increased involvement of business representatives in the policy development process.

May 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Perspectives on the In-House Practice of Antitrust Law

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Roy Hoffinger (Qualcomm) offers Perspectives on the In-House Practice of Antitrust Law.

ABSTRACT: After 30 years practicing antitrust law, 18 as in-house counsel, I think I can say that I have a fairly decent grasp of antitrust law-or at least what is known about antitrust law (more on that later). But in no way do I believe that my growth as an antitrust lawyer has ended or will end soon. I am continuously challenged and excited to apply the things I have learned in order to provide the legal services my clients expect and deserve. By this I mean providing antitrust advice that is not only correct from a legal perspective, but also understandable and useful to clients. After all, "correct" antitrust advice does no one any good if it is incomprehensible and/or impractical.

I am also referring to employing in my antitrust counseling practice the knowledge and experience I gain through management and involvement in antitrust litigation, and vice-versa. I may not be impartial, but in my experience there is no better way to get an understanding of the dimensions, scope, and intensity of competition than by advising clients on real transactions on a daily basis. This kind of knowledge is difficult as outside counsel to acquire in the same depth and within the same period of time. It improves not only the quality and usefulness of the day-to-day antitrust advice I provide, but also the arguments I help to formulate and make in antitrust litigation.

I will in the remainder of this article discuss some of the things that have worked for me in practicing antitrust law in-house, and why I have found this practice so fulfilling.

May 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Fashion Originators’ Guild of America: Self-Help at the Edge of IP and Antitrust

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

C. Scott Hemphill, Columbia University - Law School and Jeannie Suk, Harvard Law School tell the story of The Fashion Originators’ Guild of America: Self-Help at the Edge of IP and Antitrust.

ABSTRACT: The question of intellectual property for original fashion design has attracted enormous public attention in recent years. As we show in this chapter, the question has a storied past.

In the 1930s, as American fashion was coming into its own as a cultural force, designers worried about knockoffs. Then, as now, they lacked intellectual property protection for original fashion designs, and sought legislative protection. But they also pursued a regulatory solution, as part of New Deal responses to the Great Depression. They ultimately settled on an effective but controversial solution: a set of self-help measures targeting both copyists and retailers willing to merchandise knockoffs.

The resulting boycott, devised by the Fashion Originators’ Guild of America (“Guild”), was a massive private IP scheme. At its height, a staggering 4000 new designs were protected each month. The designers’ organized efforts at self-help to create design protection eventually gave rise to antitrust lawsuits in federal and state courts, culminating in a pair of 1941 Supreme Court cases.

This chapter tells the story of the Depression-era fashion designers, and the solutions they pursued to remedy the lack of intellectual property protection for their work. It describes the Guild’s formation and activities within the social, economic, and legal context of the Depression, and the fatal government scrutiny that eventually led to the Guild’s demise. Finally, it suggests some lessons as to both means and ends drawn from this story about fashion design protection: about self-help as a private solution to a public lack on the one hand, and about intellectual property protection for design on the other.

May 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Compliance, Detection, and Mergers and Acquisitions

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Vivek Ghosal, Georgia Institute of Technology; Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research (CESifo) and D. Daniel Sokol, University of Florida - Levin College of Law; University of Minnesota School of Law; George Washington University Law School Competition Law Center have a new paper on Compliance, Detection, and Mergers and Acquisitions.

ABSTRACT: Firms operate under a wide range of rules and regulations. These include, for example, environmental regulations (in which some industries have increased regulatory exposure) and finance and accounting (where all industries have reporting requirements). In other areas, such as antitrust cartels, enforcement is unregulated and antitrust leaves the market as the default tool to police against anti-competitive behavior. In all of these areas, detection of non-compliance by a firm can result in significant penalties. This issue of non-compliance has implications in the merger and acquisitions (M&A) context. In a transaction between an acquiring firm (buyer) and a target firm (seller), there is asymmetric information about the target’s quality. In our framework, we link a target’s quality directly to the strength of its regulatory compliance. In an M&A transaction, an acquirer seeks information about the target’s compliance, as a compliance failure may result in substantial penalties and sanctions, post-acquisition. In the presence of quality (compliance) uncertainty about target firms, low quality targets can masquerade as high quality. This would tend to give rise to a M&A market with Lemons-like characteristics, resulting in low transactions prices and dampening of M&A activity. We examine how M&A transactions in such regulatory areas – environmental, finance and accounting, and antitrust compliance problems – might function to alleviate quality uncertainty.

May 2, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Comparative versus Informative Advertising in Oligopolistic Markets

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Maria Alipranti, University of Crete, Evangelos Mitrokostas, University of Portsmouth and Emmanuel Petrakis, University of Crete discuss Comparative versus Informative Advertising in Oligopolistic Markets.

ABSTRACT: The present paper examines endogenously the fi…rms ’incentives to invest in informative and comparative advertising, in an oligopolistic market with horizontally differentiated products where competition take place in quantities. We show that, in equilibrium the fi…rms undetake a mix advertising strategy that combines both informative and compara tive advertising investments. We further compare our results over the equilibrium market outcomes and the social welfare obtained under the endogenous advertising confi…guration with the benchmark case, without …firms’ advertising activities, and the cases of mere in formative and mere comparative advertising. We demonstrate that the equilibrium market outcomes, as well as, the welfare alter signi…ficantly depending on the type(s) of advertising that fi…rms have available in the market and the degree of the market competition.

May 2, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Competition and Antibiotics Prescription

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Sara Fogelberg (Department of Economics, Stockholm University and IFN) and Jonas Karlsson (The Institute for Social Research and SULCIS, Stockholm University) have written about Competition and Antibiotics Prescription.

ABSTRACT: The introduction of antibiotics as a medical treatment after World War II helped to dramatically increase life expectancy in the industrialized world. As a consequence of over-prescription the last decades have however seen a sharp increase in prevalence of multi-resistant bacteria, disarming once powerful anti-pathogens. This paper investigates the effect of increased competition between healthcare providers on prescription of antibiotics. We make use of a competition- inducing reform implemented in different counties in Sweden at different points in time during 2007 to 2010. Our dataset contains monthly data on all prescribed antibiotics in Sweden which makes us able to estimate the effects on all antibiotics prescribed, as well as different subcategories of antibiotics. The results indicate that increased competition had a positive and significant effect on antibiotics prescription.

May 2, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

European Competition and Consumer Day - Competition Policy and Consumer Protection: Challenges and Choices - 24 May 2013, Dublin Castle

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

European Competition and Consumer Day
Competition Policy and Consumer Protection: Challenges and Choices

24 May 2013, Dublin Castle

As part of Ireland's Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2013 the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency are jointly hosting a one day conference in Dublin Castle on 24 May 2013.  This timely programme will feature perspectives from leading authorities on issues central to the protection of consumers through competition enforcement and consumer protection.  It will be opened by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Richard Bruton, TD.

Capacity at the venue is strictly limited and therefore this event is invitation only. 

Registration and coffee
(8.30am to 9.00am)

Welcome Address (9.00am to 9.30am)

  • Mr Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Morning Session

Session 1: Key Note Speeches: Critical Issues for Consumer Protection and Competition Policy
(9.00am to 10.30am)

  • Mr Tonio Borg, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy
  • Mr Alexander Italianer, Director General Competition Policy, European Commission

Session 2: Interaction of Competition Policy and Consumer Protection - Panel Discussion (10.50am to 12.15pm)

Moderator: Professor Alex Schuster B.L., Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

  • Mr Philip Collins, Chairman of the Office of Fair Trading, UK
  • Mr Chris Fonteijn, Chairman of the Authority for Consumers and Markets, Netherlands
  • Mrs Agnete Gersing, Director General of the Danish Competition and Consumer Agency, Denmark
  • Ms Edith Ramirez, Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, USA

Lunch (12:15pm)

Afternoon Session

Session 3: Collective Redress
(13.05pm to 14.50pm)

Moderator: Ms Joanne Blennerhassett, Solicitor, University College Dublin, Ireland

  • Professor Christopher Hodges, Head of the CMS Research Programme on Civil Justice Systems, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford, UK
  • Professor Rachel Mulheron, Professor of Law, Queen Mary University of London and Council Member of the Civil Justice Council of England, UK
  • Mr Eddy de Smitjer, Private Enforcement Unit, DG Comp., European Commission

Session 4: Behavioural Economics: Consumers’ Use of Information and Decision Making (15.10pm to 16.40pm)

Moderator: Professor Liam Delaney, University of Sterling, UK 

  • Dr Pete Lunn, Economic and Social Research Institute, Ireland
  • Mr Bernard Sheridan, Central Bank of Ireland, Ireland
  • Professor Maurice Stucke, University of Tennessee, College of Law, USA

Closing remarks (16.40pm  to 16.50pm)


May 2, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Historic Preservation in DC - Not Antitrust Specific but please vote

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

I want to bring to the attention of the readers the Historic Synagogue at 6th & I in downtown Washington, DC. ( This is an historic building, for fifty years the home of Adas Israel, then for fifty an African American church, and now once again a synagogue but a special post-denominational one that has become a great cultural center. Sixth and I is one of 24 historic sites competing for $100,000 in restoration funds from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Voting goes on until May 10. Sixth and I is neck and neck with the National Cathedral and Mount Vernon, which of course have national constituencies (and therefore larger donor bases).

I want to encourage antitrust friends to vote at or follow the QR code to vote for Sixth and I.  The money would go to preserve the building's historic glass windows.  Go to the synagogue web site here for more details.

May 2, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Threshold of Preference for Collusion and Interconnection Fees in Different Market Structures : the Tunisian Mobile Market Case

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Sami Debbichi (AEDD - Universite de Tunis El Manar) and Walid Hichri (GATE Lyon Saint-Etienne) have written on Threshold of Preference for Collusion and Interconnection Fees in Different Market Structures: the Tunisian Mobile Market Case.

ABSTRACT: We present a Cournot model that compares the critical threshold of collusion in Duopoly and Oligopoly Markets where the actors are private, mixed or public. We assume that the incentive critical threshold for collusion depends on the interconnection fees. The different threshold values calculated in each Market structure are then estimated, using the OLS method, with variables related to the Tunisian market structures and prices. The Econometric estimation of the different threshold values is consistent with our theoretical results. Our findings can be used by the decision makers to control collusion, by acting on the level of interconnection fees for each market structure and by implementing the suitable market liberalization policies in this sector.

May 2, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Price Formation in Consumer Markets

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Ante Farm, Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Stockholm University addresses Price Formation in Consumer Markets.

ABSTRACT: This paper argues that a completely non-cooperative approach to pricing is neither necessary nor plausible in consumer markets. It proposes instead a model where firms decide non-cooperatively on production or marketing, while the market price is set by a competitive price leader, i.e. a firm preferring the lowest market price. Predictions include a revenuemaximizing market price and excess supply in markets where production precedes sales, and non-monopolistic pricing if firms are ‘sufficiently dissimilar’ in markets where sales precede production. The model also provides a simple and plausible explanation of why markets do not always clear.

May 2, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

University of East Anglia - INSTITUTIONS AND COMPETITION POLICY CCP Summer conference: 6-7 June 2013

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

The University of East Anglia presents INSTITUTIONS AND COMPETITION POLICY CCP Summer conference: 6-7 June 2013

PDF version of conference programme here

Always at the heart of competition policy, institutions have come under increased scrutiny in recent years. New agencies have been created in transition states, while established authorities in Europe have undergone change and reform. Curiously, the growing consensus on the principles and practice of competition policy has not been accompanied by a convergence on organizational form or legal frameworks. Bringing together economists, historians, legal scholars and political scientists, academics and practitioners, this conference assesses the importance of institutional design, looks at the impact of institutions, and investigates processes of organizational and legal change.  It addresses the following questions:

* Origins and spread: What explains the original design of competition authorities in the US and in Europe? What factors led to their creation, what ideas, doctrines or ideologies underlay their responsibilities, and to what extent were principles disseminated transnationally?

* Institutional design: What difference does institutional design make? How do institutions affect market outcomes? Is the one-authority model best or are there reasons to prefer a two-institutional model? What can be learned from comparing national competition policy regimes?

* Organization and expertise: What form of internal organization is the most effective? Should lawyers and economists work in separate teams? What is the impact of the organization of expertise on decisions?

* Enforcement: What difference do courts and legal cultures make? Is the inquisitorial or the prosecutorial model proved more effective?

* Change: How best to theorise institutional change? Are generalizations about what drives change sustainable? What are the relative roles played by internal factors (ideology, party competition, the demands of regulates) and external influences (networks, such as the International Competition Network)? Is institutional reform in multi-level jurisdictions different?

* Competition policy and consumer protection: Should responsibility reside in a single or in separate institutions?

* Competition policy and regulation: How should competencies be divided between competition authorities and regulatory agencies? How can their work best be coordinated?

For further information email

May 2, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Herb Hovenkamp teaching a mini-course in London in June on Antitrust-IP

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol


Innovation, Competition Law and IP Rights by Professor Herbert Hovenkamp in June 2013

About the course

In the modern knowledge economy companies are striving to achieve competitive advantage by expanding their IP rights portfolio. For this companies are employing IP as a way to harm their competitors or as a monetary exchange in IP related transactions. However as recent litigation in the pharmaceutical sector demonstrates competition law and IP law disputes are interconnected.

The course will analyse the value of competition law in addressing a variety of practices used in innovation-intensive markets. These include the interconnection of networks, ‘duties to deal’, the licensing and distribution of IP rights (standard setting organisations and patent pools) and reverse settlements as adopted by firms active in the manufacturing and delivery of services or non-practising entities, drawing from examples in both EU and US law.

The course will also consider the uses and limitations of competition law and policy as a vehicle for promoting innovation. It will also examine realistic reforms that can be undertaken in IP law and competition law across various sectors of the economy as well as the practical implications of that interaction for a number of commercial practices.

Accreditation: This course is accredited with 16 CPD hours by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board. It also constitutes relevant CPD by IPReg.

Book online or download the course brochure

Fees: £450 for the full course

May 2, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Advertising and Competition in Privatized Social Security: The Case of Mexico

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Justine S. Hastings (Brown), Ali Hortacsu (Chicago), and Chad Syverson (Chicago) describe Advertising and Competition in Privatized Social Security: The Case of Mexico.

ABSTRACT: This paper examines how advertising impacts competition and equilibrium prices in the context of a privatized pension market. We use detailed administrative data on fund manager choices and worker characteristics at the inception of Mexico’s privatized social security system, where fund managers had to set prices (management fees) at the national level, but could select sales force levels by local geographic areas. We develop a model of fund manager choice, price and advertising competition (in terms of sales force deployment), nesting models of informative and persuasive advertising. We find evidence in favor of the persuasive view; exposure to sales force lowered price sensitivity and increased brand loyalty, leading to inelastic demand and high equilibrium fees. We simulate oft-proposed policy solutions: a supply-side policy with a competitive government player, and a demand-side policy which increases price elasticity. We find that demand-side policies are necessary to foster competition in social-safety-net markets with large segments of inelastic consumers.

May 1, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Entrepreneurial Commercialization Choices and the Interaction between IPR and Competition Policy

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Joshua S. Gans (Toronto) and Lars Persson explore Entrepreneurial Commercialization Choices and the Interaction between IPR and Competition Policy.

ABSTRACT: This paper examines the interaction between intellectual property protection and competition policy on the choice of entrepreneurs with respect to commercialization as well as the rate of innovation. We find that stronger intellectual property protection makes it more likely that entrepreneurs will commercialize by cooperating with incumbents rather than competing with them. Consequently, we demonstrate that competition policy has a clearer role in promoting a higher rate of innovation in that event. Hence, we identify one reason why the strength of the two policies may be complements from the perspective of increasing the rate of entrepreneurial innovation.

May 1, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)