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Full-Text Articles in Law

Resale Price Maintenance: Consignment Agreements, Copyrighted Or Patented Products And The First Sale Doctrine, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2010

Resale Price Maintenance: Consignment Agreements, Copyrighted Or Patented Products And The First Sale Doctrine, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The rule of reason adopted for resale price maintenance in the Supreme Court’s Leegin decision, which upset the century old Dr. Miles rule of per se illegality, requires some reconsideration of a number of issues about antitrust treatment of RPM. Under the old per se rule, bona fide “consignment” agreements were not covered by Section 1 of the Sherman Act at all because there was said to be no qualifying “agreement” between the supplier and the dealer. Rather the dealer was simply said to be acting as an agent of the seller. However, insofar as RPM produces competitive dangers ...


Leegin, The Rule Of Reason, And Vertical Agreement, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2010

Leegin, The Rule Of Reason, And Vertical Agreement, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Supreme Court’s Leegin decision overturned the longstanding rule of per se illegality for resale price maintenance and applied a rule of reason. One might think that the question whether a vertical “agreement” exists between a manufacturer and a dealer should not be affected by the mode of analysis to be applied after an agreement is found. First one asks whether an agreement exists, and determines whether the per se rule or rule of reason applies only after receiving an affirmative answer. Nevertheless, ever since Colgate the Supreme Court has generally taken a more restrictive approach on the agreement ...


Vertical Restraints, Dealers With Power, And Antitrust Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2010

Vertical Restraints, Dealers With Power, And Antitrust Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Supreme Court’s Leegin decision has now brought the rule of reason to all purely vertical intrabrand distribution restraints. But the rule of reason does not mean per se legality and occasions for anticompetitive vertically imposed restraints may still arise. Of all those that have been suggested the most plausible are vertical restraints imposed at the behest of a powerful dealer or group (cartel) of dealers.

Although a vertical distribution restraint resembles a dealer cartel in that both limit intraband competition, a manufacturer restraining the distribution of its product shuns the excess dealer profits a dealer cartel would seek ...


American Needle And The Boundaries Of The Firm In Antitrust Law, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Aug 2010

American Needle And The Boundaries Of The Firm In Antitrust Law, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In American Needle the Supreme Court unanimously held that for the practice at issue the NFL should be treated as a “combination” of its teams rather than a single entity. However, the arrangement must be assessed under the rule of reason. The opinion, written by Justice Stevens, was almost certainly his last opinion for the Court in an antitrust case; Justice Stevens had been a dissenter in the Supreme Court’s Copperweld decision 25 years earlier, which held that a parent corporation and its wholly owned subsidiary constituted a single “firm” for antitrust purposes. The Sherman Act speaks to this ...


American Needle: The Sherman Act, Conspiracy, And Exclusion, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jun 2010

American Needle: The Sherman Act, Conspiracy, And Exclusion, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay, part of a colloquium in the CPI Antitrust Journal, explores the meaning and significance of the Supreme Court’s decision in American Needle v. NFL. The Supreme Court held that for purposes of the dispute at hand the NFL should be treated as a collaboration of its member teams rather than a single entity. The factors that the Supreme Court considered most important were, first, that the NFL’s member teams are individually owned profit making entities who compete with each other in at least some economic markets, such as that for the sale of apparel bearing NFL ...


The Ftc's Anticompetitive Pricing Case Against Intel, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Feb 2010

The Ftc's Anticompetitive Pricing Case Against Intel, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The FTC’s wide ranging complaint against Intel Corporation indicates that the FTC intends to rely on the “unfair methods of competition” language in §5 of the FTC Act to reach beyond the proscriptions on unilateral conduct contained in §2 of the Sherman Act. The Supreme Court has expressly authorized such expansion, and statutory text, legislative history and legal policy all support it. While §2 reaches only conduct that threatens to “monopolize” a market, the “unfair methods of competition” language can reach improper abuses of a dominant position that fall short of creating monopoly. Further, the FTC has expertise that ...


Intra-Enterprise Activity, Joint Ventures And Sports Leagues: Identifying Unilateral Conduct Under The Antitrust Laws, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2010

Intra-Enterprise Activity, Joint Ventures And Sports Leagues: Identifying Unilateral Conduct Under The Antitrust Laws, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In the American Needle case the Supreme Court will consider whether the NFL’s decision to give an exclusive trademark license to one firm should be counted as “unilateral” on the NFL’s part, or rather as the concerted joint venture activity of the NFL’s individual member teams. The intellectual property in question is not trademarks in the NFL itself, but rather the trademarks and other intellectual property developed separately by each individual team, and which the teams in turn have licensed exclusively to the NFL.

In general, when a joint venture is engaged in its own business the ...


The Insurance Industry's Antitrust Immunity, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2010

The Insurance Industry's Antitrust Immunity, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act provides that federal legislation generally, including the antitrust laws, is “applicable to the business of insurance [only] to the extent that such business is not regulated by State law.” The statute was enacted after United States v. South Eastern Underwriters Assn. (1944), held that insurance transactions were “interstate commerce” and thus subject to the antitrust laws. That case had in turn undermined the traditional view expressed in Paul v. Virginia (1868), that insurance was not interstate commerce, but strictly local transactions. The South Eastern case followed in turn upon the Supreme Court's decision in Wickard ...


Ip And Antitrust: Reformation And Harm, Christina Bohannan, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2010

Ip And Antitrust: Reformation And Harm, Christina Bohannan, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust and intellectual property law both seek to improve economic welfare by facilitating competition and investment in innovation. At various times both antitrust and IP law have wandered off this course and have become more driven by special interests. Today, antitrust and IP are on very different roads to reform. Antitrust reform began in the late 1970s with a series of Supreme Court decisions that linked the plaintiff’s harm and right to obtain a remedy to the competition - furthering goals of antitrust policy. Today, patent law has begun its own reform journey, but it is in a much earlier ...


Harvard, Chicago And Transaction Cost Economics In Antitrust Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2010

Harvard, Chicago And Transaction Cost Economics In Antitrust Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Since Oliver Williamson published Markets and Hierarchies in 1975 transaction cost economics (TCE) has claimed an important place in antitrust, avoiding the extreme positions of the two once reigning schools of antitrust policy. At one extreme was the “structural” school, which saw market structure as the principal determinant of poor economic performance. At the other extreme was the Chicago School, which also saw the economic landscape in terms of competition and monopoly, but found monopoly only infrequently and denied that a monopolist could “leverage” its power into related markets. Since the 1970s both the structural and Chicago positions have moved ...


The Pleading Problem In Antitrust Cases And Beyond, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2010

The Pleading Problem In Antitrust Cases And Beyond, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In its Twombly decision the Supreme Court held that an antitrust complaint failed because its allegations did not include enough “factual matter” to justify proceeding to discovery. Two years later the Court extended this new pleading standard to federal complaints generally. Twombly’s broad language has led to a broad rewriting of federal pleading doctrine.

Naked market division conspiracies such as the one pled in Twombly must be kept secret because antitrust enforcers will prosecute them when they are detected. This inherent secrecy, which the Supreme Court did not discuss, has dire consequences for pleading if too much factual specificity ...


The Federal Trade Commission And The Sherman Act, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2010

The Federal Trade Commission And The Sherman Act, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The FTC has explicit antitrust authority to enforce the Clayton Act, although not the Sherman Act. More than a half century ago, however, the Supreme Court held that the FTC Act’s prohibition of “unfair methods of competition” reaches everything the Sherman Act reaches and also a “penumbra” of practices that are not technical Sherman Act violations. That view, which had fallen into disuse in recent decades, is now being revived.

This essay defends a limited version of that “penumbra” view and suggests several applications. First, while both Sherman Act provisions are open ended in their coverage, they have limitations ...


Tying Arrangements And Antitrust Harm, Erik Hovenkamp, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2010

Tying Arrangements And Antitrust Harm, Erik Hovenkamp, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A tying arrangement is a seller’s requirement that a customer may purchase its “tying” product only by taking its “tied” product. In a variable proportion tie the purchaser can vary the amount of the tied product. For example, a customer might purchase a single printer, but either a contract or technological design requires the purchase of varying numbers of printer cartridges from the same manufacturer.

Such arrangements are widely considered to be price discrimination devices, but their economic effects have been controversial. Tying has been attacked on the theory that price discrimination of this sort reduces consumer welfare. We ...


The Obama Administration And Section Two Of The Sherman Act, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2010

The Obama Administration And Section Two Of The Sherman Act, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

During the administration of President George W. Bush, the Antitrust Division was not enthusiastic about use of §2 of the Sherman Act to pursue anticompetitive single-firm conduct. Indeed, its most prominent contribution on the issue was the Antitrust Division’s §2 Report, which the Obama Antitrust Division withdrew only eight months after it was issued.This withdrawal was entirely in keeping with candidate Obama’s repeated promises to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement.

This essay analyzes the current state of antitrust and makes recommendations concerning structures and practices where increased §2 enforcement is warranted and those where it is not. Wise use ...