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Full-Text Articles in Law

Recommendations And Comments On The Draft Vertical Merger Guidelines, Jonathan B. Baker, Nancy L. Rose, Steven C. Salop, Fiona Scott Morton Feb 2020

Recommendations And Comments On The Draft Vertical Merger Guidelines, Jonathan B. Baker, Nancy L. Rose, Steven C. Salop, Fiona Scott Morton

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

These recommendations and comments respond to the request by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division for public comment on the draft 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines. We commend the agencies for updating the 1984 non-horizontal merger guidelines by recognizing the substantial advances in economic thinking about vertical mergers in the thirty-five years since those guidelines were issued. Our comments emphasize four issues: (i) the treatment of the elimination of double marginalization (“EDM”), particularly that the draft vertical merger guidelines appear inappropriately to make proof of cognizability part of the agencies burden and that they appear ...


The Looming Crisis In Antitrust Economics, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2020

The Looming Crisis In Antitrust Economics, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

As in so many areas of law and politics in the United States, antitrust’s center is at bay. It is besieged by a right wing that wants to limit antitrust even more than it has been limited over the last quarter century. On the left, it faces revisionists who propose significantly greater enforcement.

One thing the two extremes share, however, is denigration of the role of economics in antitrust analysis. On the right, the Supreme Court’s two most recent antitrust decisions at this writing reveal that economic analysis no longer occupies the central role that it once had ...


On The Meaning Of Antitrust's Consumer Welfare Principle, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2020

On The Meaning Of Antitrust's Consumer Welfare Principle, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This brief essay addresses the ambiguities in the meaning of “consumer welfare” in antitrust, exploring the differences between the Williamson, Bork, and current understanding of that term. After weighing the alternatives it argues that the consumer welfare principle in antitrust should seek out that state of affairs in which output is maximized, consistent with sustainable competition


Google V. Oracle Amicus Merits Stage Brief: Vindicating Ip’S Channeling Principle And Restoring Jurisdictional Balance To Software Copyright Protection, Peter Menell, David Nimmer, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Jan 2020

Google V. Oracle Amicus Merits Stage Brief: Vindicating Ip’S Channeling Principle And Restoring Jurisdictional Balance To Software Copyright Protection, Peter Menell, David Nimmer, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Federal Circuit’s decisions in Oracle v. Google conflict with this Court’s seminal decision in Baker v. Selden, 101 U.S. 99 (1879), misinterpret Congress’s codification of this Court’s fundamental channeling principle and related limiting doctrines, and upend nearly three decades of sound, well-settled, and critically important decisions of multiple regional circuits on the scope of copyright protection for computer software. Based on the fundamental channeling principle enunciated in Baker v. Selden, as reflected in § 102(b) of the Copyright Act, the functional requirements of APIs for computer systems and devices, like the internal workings of ...


Justice Department's New Position On Patents, Standard Setting, And Injunctions, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2020

Justice Department's New Position On Patents, Standard Setting, And Injunctions, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A deep split in American innovation policy has arisen between new economy and old economy innovation. In a recent policy statement, the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department takes a position that tilts more toward the old economy. Its December, 2019, policy statement on remedies for Standard Essential Patents issued jointly with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Institute of Standards and Technology reflects this movement.

The policy statement as a whole contains two noteworthy problems: one is a glaring omission, and the other is a mischaracterization of the scope of antitrust liability. Both positions are ...


Mining The Harvard Caselaw Access Project, Felix B. Chang Jan 2020

Mining The Harvard Caselaw Access Project, Felix B. Chang

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

This Essay illustrates how machine learning can disrupt legal scholarship through the algorithmic extraction and analysis of big data. Specifically, we utilize data from Harvard Law School’s Caselaw Access Project to model how courts tackle two thorny question in antitrust: the measure of market power and the balance between antitrust and regulation.


Probability, Presumptions And Evidentiary Burdens In Antitrust Analysis: Revitalizing The Rule Of Reason For Exclusionary Conduct, Andrew I. Gavil, Steven C. Salop Jan 2020

Probability, Presumptions And Evidentiary Burdens In Antitrust Analysis: Revitalizing The Rule Of Reason For Exclusionary Conduct, Andrew I. Gavil, Steven C. Salop

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The conservative critique of antitrust law has been highly influential and has facilitated a transformation of antitrust standards of conduct since the 1970s and led to increasingly more permissive standards of conduct. While these changes have taken many forms, all were influenced by the view that competition law was over-deterrent. Critics relied heavily on the assumption that the durability and costs of false positive errors far exceeded those of false negatives.

Many of the assumptions that guided this retrenchment of antitrust rules were mistaken and advances in the law and in economic analysis have rendered them anachronistic, particularly with respect ...


Do Legal Origins Predict Legal Substance?, Anu Bradford, Yun-Chien Chang, Adam S. Chilton, Nuno Garoupa Jan 2020

Do Legal Origins Predict Legal Substance?, Anu Bradford, Yun-Chien Chang, Adam S. Chilton, Nuno Garoupa

Faculty Scholarship

There is a large literature in economics and law suggesting that countries’ legal origins – whether a country’s legal regime was based on British common law or German, French, or Nordic civil law – profoundly impact a range of outcomes. However, the exact relationship between legal origins and legal substance has been disputed in the literature, and this relationship has not been fully explored with nuanced legal coding. We revisit this debate while leveraging extensive novel cross-country datasets that provide detailed coding of two areas of laws: property and antitrust. We find that having shared legal origins strongly predicts whether countries ...


Preventing The Bad From Getting Worse: The End Of The World (Trade Organization) As We Know It?, Bernard Hoekman, Petros C. Mavroidis Jan 2020

Preventing The Bad From Getting Worse: The End Of The World (Trade Organization) As We Know It?, Bernard Hoekman, Petros C. Mavroidis

Faculty Scholarship

Recent survey evidence and proposals made in long-running negotiations to improve WTO dispute settlement procedures illustrate that many stakeholders believe the system needs improvement. The Appellate Body crisis could have been avoided but for the use of consensus as WTO working practice. Resolving the crisis should prove possible because the matter mostly concerns a small number of more powerful WTO members. We make several proposals to revitalize the WTO appellate function but argue that unless the WTO becomes a locus for new rulemaking, re-establishing the appellate function will not prevent a steady decline in the salience of the organization. A ...


The "License As Tax" Fallacy, Jonathan M. Barnett Dec 2019

The "License As Tax" Fallacy, Jonathan M. Barnett

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Intellectual property licenses are commonly portrayed as a “tax” that limits access to technology assets, thereby stunting innovation by intermediate users and inflating prices for end-users. This presumptively skeptical view motivated postwar antitrust’s proliferation of per se rules against a wide array of licensing practices and, more recently, has driven recent Supreme Court decisions on IP licensing and enforcement actions by competition regulators in the U.S. and other commercially significant jurisdictions that would effectively rewrite licensing arrangements in wireless communication markets. Renewed skepticism toward IP licensing, and associated judicial and regulatory interventions, overlook the fact that IP licenses ...


Common Ownership And Executive Incentives: The Implausibility Of Compensation As An Anticompetitive Mechanism, David Walker Dec 2019

Common Ownership And Executive Incentives: The Implausibility Of Compensation As An Anticompetitive Mechanism, David Walker

Faculty Scholarship

Mutual funds, pension funds and other institutional investors are a growing presence in U.S. equity markets, and these investors frequently hold large stakes in shares of competing companies. Because these common owners might prefer to maximize the values of their portfolios of companies, rather than the value of individual companies in isolation, this new reality has lead to a concern that companies in concentrated industries with high degrees of common ownership might compete less vigorously with each other than they otherwise would. But what mechanism would link common ownership with reduced competition? Some commentators argue that one of the ...


Brief Of Amici Curiae Law And Economics Scholars In Support Of Appellee And Affirmance, Mark A. Lemley, A. Douglas Melamed, Steven C. Salop Nov 2019

Brief Of Amici Curiae Law And Economics Scholars In Support Of Appellee And Affirmance, Mark A. Lemley, A. Douglas Melamed, Steven C. Salop

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In reliance on Qualcomm’s FRAND promises, key SSOs incorporated its technologies into wireless standards. Qualcomm takes the position that its patented technologies are essential to those standards and, therefore, that any firm making or selling a standard-compliant product infringes its patents. As a result, the SSOs’ incorporation of Qualcomm’s patented technologies into wireless standards created a huge market for licenses to Qualcomm’s SEPs.

The district court held that Qualcomm used its chipset monopolies, not only to extract the high chip-set prices to which it was entitled, but also to perpetuate those monopolies by disadvantaging rival chip-makers and ...


Framing The Chicago School Of Antitrust Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp, Fiona Scott Morton Nov 2019

Framing The Chicago School Of Antitrust Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp, Fiona Scott Morton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Chicago School of antitrust has benefited from a great deal of law office history, written by admiring advocates rather than more dispassionate observers. This essay attempts a more neutral stance, looking at the ideology, political impulses, and economics that produced the Chicago School of antitrust policy and that account for its durability.

The origins of the Chicago School lie in a strong commitment to libertarianism and nonintervention. Economic models of perfect competition best suited these goals. The early strength of the Chicago School of antitrust was that it provided simple, convincing answers to everything that was wrong with antitrust ...


What Do Chinese Clients Want?, Ji Li, Wei Zhang Nov 2019

What Do Chinese Clients Want?, Ji Li, Wei Zhang

Research Collection School Of Law

The world’s two largest economies are locked in an escalating trade war, and caught in the crossfire are hundreds of Chinese multinational companies (MNCs) that have made substantial U.S. investments. Facing heightened legal risks in a less hospitable environment, the Chinese MNCs increasingly depend on local lawyers. Yet, their purchase of U.S. legal service, a topic of both practical and theoretical importance, has received little attention. To fill the gap, this article empirically investigates how Chinese companies in the United States select their U.S. legal counsel. By analyzing a unique dataset, the article finds that Chinese ...


Conflict Preemption Of State Net Neutrality Efforts After Mozilla, Daniel A. Lyons Oct 2019

Conflict Preemption Of State Net Neutrality Efforts After Mozilla, Daniel A. Lyons

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Earlier this week, the D.C. Circuit issued its long-awaited decision in Mozilla v. Federal Communications Commission. The court affirmed the Commission’s Restoring Internet Freedom (RIF) Order, identifying some flaws in the agency’s reasoning but finding the agency could likely correct those errors on remand without vacatur. While chastened by the ruling, some net neutrality advocates have identified a potential silver lining. The court vacated the portion of the RIF Order that expressly preempted state and local broadband regulations. Advocates have latched onto this holding as permission for legislatures to reimpose at the state level the restrictions that ...


Measuring Regulation: A Labor Task-Based Approach, Michael Simkovic, Miao Ben Zhang Aug 2019

Measuring Regulation: A Labor Task-Based Approach, Michael Simkovic, Miao Ben Zhang

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This paper uses occupational employment and wage data for over 270 industries from 1990 to 2017 to estimate the percentage of an industry's annual labor spending on performing regulation-related tasks. We hypothesize that this measure reflects the intensity of regulations that incentivize firm spending on compliance to avoid legal liability or regulatory sanctions. We study the sensitivity of this measure to shocks that change regulatory intensity in the finance and energy sectors. Compared to supply-side measures that count words in regulations, our response-based measure, Regulation Index, reflects broader sources of regulation, can better detect the impact of regulations, and ...


Frand And Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Aug 2019

Frand And Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper considers when a patentee’s violation of a FRAND commitment also violates the antitrust laws. It warns against two extremes. First, is thinking that any violation of a FRAND obligation is an antitrust violation as well. FRAND obligations are contractual, and most breaches of contract do not violate antitrust law. The other extreme is thinking that, because a FRAND violation is a breach of contract, it cannot also be an antitrust violation.

Every antitrust case must consider the market environment in which conduct is to be evaluated. SSOs operated by multiple firms are joint ventures. Antitrust’s role ...


Five Principles For Vertical Merger Enforcement Policy, Jonathan B. Baker, Nancy L. Rose, Steven C. Salop, Fiona Scott Morton Jul 2019

Five Principles For Vertical Merger Enforcement Policy, Jonathan B. Baker, Nancy L. Rose, Steven C. Salop, Fiona Scott Morton

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

There seems to be consensus that the Department of Justice’s 1984 Vertical Merger Guidelines do not reflect either modern theoretical and empirical economic analysis or current agency enforcement policy. Yet widely divergent views of preferred enforcement policies have been expressed among agency enforcers and commentators. Based on our review of the relevant economic literature and our experience analyzing vertical mergers, we recommend that the enforcement agencies adopt five principles: (i) The agencies should consider and investigate the full range of potential anticompetitive harms when evaluating vertical mergers; (ii) The agencies should decline to presume that vertical mergers benefit competition ...


Apple V. Pepper: Rationalizing Antitrust’S Indirect Purchaser Rule, Herbert J. Hovenkamp May 2019

Apple V. Pepper: Rationalizing Antitrust’S Indirect Purchaser Rule, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In Apple v. Pepper the Supreme Court held that consumers who allegedly paid too much for apps sold on Apple’s iStore could sue Apple for antitrust damages because they were “direct purchasers.” The decision reflects some bizarre complexities that have resulted from the Supreme Court’s 1977 decision in Illinois Brick, which held that only direct purchasers could sue for overcharge injuries under the federal antitrust laws. The indirect purchaser rule was problematic from the beginning. First, it was plainly inconsistent with the antitrust damages statute, which gives an action to “any person who shall be injured in his ...


Health Care's Market Bureaucracy, Allison K. Hoffman May 2019

Health Care's Market Bureaucracy, Allison K. Hoffman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The last several decades of health law and policy have been built on a foundation of economic theory. This theory supported the proliferation of market-based policies that promised maximum efficiency and minimal bureaucracy. Neither of these promises has been realized. A mounting body of empirical research discussed in this Article makes clear that leading market-based policies are not efficient — they fail to capture what people want. Even more, this Article describes how the struggle to bolster these policies — through constant regulatory, technocratic tinkering that aims to improve the market and the decision-making of consumers in it — has produced a massive ...


Competition Policy For Labour Markets, Herbert J. Hovenkamp May 2019

Competition Policy For Labour Markets, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Competition law in many jurisdictions defines its consumer welfare goal in terms of low consumer prices. For example, mergers are challenged when they threaten to cause a price increase from reduced competition in the post-merger market. While the consumer welfare principle is under attack in some circles, it remains the most widely expressed goal of antitrust policy.

We would do better, however, to define consumer welfare in terms of output rather than price. Competition policy should strive to facilitate the highest output in any market that is consistent with sustainable competition. That goal is in most ways the same as ...


Scrutinizing Anticompetitive State Regulations Through Constitutional And Antitrust Lenses, Daniel A. Crane May 2019

Scrutinizing Anticompetitive State Regulations Through Constitutional And Antitrust Lenses, Daniel A. Crane

Articles

State and local regulations that anticompetitively favor certain producers to the detriment of consumers are a pervasive problem in our economy. Their existence is explicable by a variety of structural features—including asymmetry between consumer and producer interests, cost externalization, and institutional and political factors entrenching incumbent technologies. Formulating legal tools to combat such economic parochialism is challenging in the post-Lochner world, where any move toward heightened judicial review of economic regulation poses the perceived threat of a return to economic substantive due process. This Article considers and compares two potential tools for reviewing such regulations—a constitutional principle against ...


What’S In Your Wallet (And What Should The Law Do About It?), Natasha Sarin May 2019

What’S In Your Wallet (And What Should The Law Do About It?), Natasha Sarin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In traditional markets, firms can charge prices that are significantly elevated relative to their costs only if there is a market failure. However, this is not true in a two-sided market (like Amazon, Uber, and Mastercard), where firms often subsidize one side of the market and generate revenue from the other. This means consideration of one side of the market in isolation is problematic. The Court embraced this view in Ohio v. American Express, requiring that anticompetitive harm on one side of a two-sided market be weighed against benefits on the other side.

Legal scholars denounce this decision, which, practically ...


Occupational Licensing And The Limits Of Public Choice Theory, Gabriel Scheffler, Ryan Nunn Apr 2019

Occupational Licensing And The Limits Of Public Choice Theory, Gabriel Scheffler, Ryan Nunn

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Public choice theory has long been the dominant lens through which economists and other scholars have viewed occupational licensing. According to the public choice account, practitioners favor licensing because they want to reduce competition and drive up their own wages. This essay argues that the public choice account has been overstated, and that it ironically has served to distract from some of the most important harms of licensing, as well as from potential solutions. We emphasize three specific drawbacks of this account. First, it is more dismissive of legitimate threats to public health and safety than the research warrants. Second ...


Analyzing Vertical Mergers To Avoid False Negatives: Three Recent Case Studies, Steven C. Salop Apr 2019

Analyzing Vertical Mergers To Avoid False Negatives: Three Recent Case Studies, Steven C. Salop

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article analyzes three recent vertical mergers: a private antitrust case attacking the consummated merger of Jeld-Wen and Craftmaster Manufacturing Inc. (“CMI”) that was cleared by the DOJ in 2012 but subsequently litigated and won by the plaintiff, Steves & Sons in 2018; and two recent vertical merger matters investigated and cleared (with limited remedies) by 3-2 votes by the Federal Trade Commission in early 2019 -- Staples/Essendant and Fresenius/NxStage. There are some factual parallels among these three matters that make it interesting to analyze them together. First, the DOJ’s decision to clear Jeld-Wen/CMI merger appears to be a clear false ...


Toward A Realistic Comparative Assessment Of Private Antitrust Enforcement, Daniel A. Crane Apr 2019

Toward A Realistic Comparative Assessment Of Private Antitrust Enforcement, Daniel A. Crane

Book Chapters

Over the course of her extraordinary career, Eleanor Fox has contributed in many vital ways to our understanding of the importance of institutional analysis in antitrust and competition law. Most importantly, Eleanor has become the leading repository of knowledge about what is happening around the globe in the field of competition law and its enforcement institutions. At a time when much of the field of antitrust was moving in the direction of theoretical generalization, formal modeling, game theory, and the like, Eleanor tirelessly worked the globe to discover the actual practice of competition law in the world. She left no ...


Digital Platforms And Antitrust Law, Keith Hylton Apr 2019

Digital Platforms And Antitrust Law, Keith Hylton

Faculty Scholarship

This is a paper about “big data” and antitrust law. For my purposes, big data refers to digital platforms that enable the discovery and sharing of information by consumers, and the harvesting and analysis of data on those consumers by the platform. The obvious example of such a platform is Google. The big platforms owe their market dominance not to anticompetitive conduct but to economies of scale. I discuss three types of anticompetitive conduct associated with digital platforms: kill zone expropriation, acquisition of nascent rivals, and denial of access to data. There is nothing so unusual about digital platforms that ...


Does Crime Pay? Cartel Penalties And Profits, John M. Connor, Robert H. Lande Apr 2019

Does Crime Pay? Cartel Penalties And Profits, John M. Connor, Robert H. Lande

All Faculty Scholarship

This article seeks to answer a fundamental antitrust question: does crime pay? Do the current overall levels of U.S. cartel sanctions adequately discourage firms from engaging in illegal collusion? Seven years ago our research showed that the unfortunate answer was clearly that, yes, criminal collusion usually is profitable! The expected costs (in terms of criminal fines and prison time, civil damages, etc.) was significantly less than expected gains to the price fixers. Sadly, the most recent data re-affirm this conclusion.

The great majority of companies participating in illegal cartels make a profit even after they pay all the penalties ...


A Knowledge Theory Of Tacit Agreement, Wentong Zheng Apr 2019

A Knowledge Theory Of Tacit Agreement, Wentong Zheng

UF Law Faculty Publications

A persistent puzzle in antitrust law is whether and when an unlawful agreement could arise from conduct or verbalized communications that fall short of an explicit agreement. While courts have found such tacit agreements to exist in idiosyncratic scenarios, they have failed to articulate a clear and consistent logic for such findings. This Article attempts to fill this gap by proposing a unified theory of tacit agreement. It defines a tacit agreement as an agreement formed by non-explicit communications that enable the alleged coconspirators to have constructive knowledge of one another's conspiratory intent. This approach to tacit agreement is ...


The Warren Campaign’S Antitrust Proposals, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Mar 2019

The Warren Campaign’S Antitrust Proposals, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust policy promises to be an important issue in the 2020 presidential election, and for good reason. Market power measured by price-cost margins has been on the rise since the 1980s. Presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren has two proposals directed at large tech platforms. One would designate large platform markets such as Amazon “platform utilities,” and prohibit them from selling their own merchandise on the platform in competition with other retailers. The other proposes more aggressive enforcement against large platform acquisitions of smaller companies.

This paper concludes that the first proposal is anticompetitive, leading to reduced output and higher prices ...