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Whatever Did Happen To The Antitrust Movement?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2018

Whatever Did Happen To The Antitrust Movement?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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Antitrust in the United States today is caught between its pursuit of technical rules designed to define and implement defensible economic goals, and increasing calls for a new antitrust “movement.” The goals of this movement have been variously defined as combating industrial concentration, limiting the economic or political power of large firms, correcting the maldistribution of wealth, control of high profits, increasing wages, or protection of small business. High output and low consumer prices are typically unmentioned.

In the 1960s the great policy historian Richard Hofstadter lamented the passing of the antitrust “movement” as one of the “faded passions of …


Prophylactic Merger Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2018

Prophylactic Merger Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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An important purpose of the antitrust merger law is to arrest certain anticompetitive practices or outcomes in their “incipiency.” Many Clayton Act decisions involving both mergers and other practices had recognized the idea as early as the 1920s. In Brown Shoe the Supreme Court doubled down on the idea, attributing to Congress a concern about a “rising tide of economic concentration” that must be halted “at its outset and before it gathered momentum.” The Supreme Court did not explain why an incipiency test was needed to address this particular problem. Once structural thresholds for identifying problematic mergers are identified there …


Regulation And The Marginalist Revolution, Herbert J. Hovenkamp May 2018

Regulation And The Marginalist Revolution, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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The marginalist revolution in economics became the foundation for the modern regulatory State with its “mixed” economy. Marginalism, whose development defines the boundary between classical political economy and neoclassical economics, completely overturned economists’ theory of value. It developed in the late nineteenth century in England, the Continent and the United States. For the classical political economists, value was a function of past averages. One good example is the wage-fund theory, which saw the optimal rate of wages as a function of the firm’s ability to save from previous profits. Another is the theory of corporate finance, which assessed a corporation’s …


Hipster Antitrust: New Bottles, Same Old W(H)Ine?, Christopher S. Yoo Apr 2018

Hipster Antitrust: New Bottles, Same Old W(H)Ine?, Christopher S. Yoo

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Although the debate over hipster antitrust is often portrayed as something new, experienced observers recognize it as a replay of an old argument that was resolved by the global consensus that antitrust should focus on consumer welfare rather than on the size of firms, the levels of industry concentration, and other considerations. Moreover, the history of the Federal Trade Commission’s Section 5 authority to prevent unfair methods of competition stands as a reminder of the dangers of allowing enforcement policy to be guided by vague and uncertain standards.


The Merger Incipiency Doctrine And The Importance Of "Redundant" Competitors, Peter C. Carstensen, Robert H. Lande Jan 2018

The Merger Incipiency Doctrine And The Importance Of "Redundant" Competitors, Peter C. Carstensen, Robert H. Lande

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The enforcers and the courts have not implemented the merger incipiency doctrine in the vigorous manner Congress intended. We believe one important reason for this failure is that, until now, the logic underlying this doctrine has never been explained. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that markets’ need for “protective redundancy” explains the incipiency policy. We are writing this article in the hope that this will cause the enforcers and courts to implement significantly more stringent merger enforcement.

To vastly oversimplify, the current enforcement approach assumes that if N significant competitors are necessary for competition, N-1 competitors could …


Brief Amici Curiae Of Intellectual Property Professors In Support Of Petitioner, No. 18-600, Texas Advanced Optoelectronic Solutions, Inc. V. Renesas Electronics America, Inc., Timothy R. Holbrook, Ann Bartow, Andrew Chin, David C. Hricik, Yvette Joy Liebesman, Lucas Osborn Jan 2018

Brief Amici Curiae Of Intellectual Property Professors In Support Of Petitioner, No. 18-600, Texas Advanced Optoelectronic Solutions, Inc. V. Renesas Electronics America, Inc., Timothy R. Holbrook, Ann Bartow, Andrew Chin, David C. Hricik, Yvette Joy Liebesman, Lucas Osborn

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To comply with the obligations of the Uruguay Round Agreements, particularly the Agreement on the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS), Congress amended 35 U.S.C. § 271(a) to make it an act of infringement to “offer to sell” a patented invention within the United States. See Uruguay Round Agreements Act, Pub. L. No. 103-465, §§ 531-533, 108 Stat. 4809 (1994).

The Federal Circuit has interpreted this provision in a manner contrary to the presumption against the extraterritorial reach of United States laws. The Federal Circuit has held that location of the ultimate sale contemplated in the offer controls the …


The Rule Of Reason, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2018

The Rule Of Reason, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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Antitrust’s rule of reason was born out of a thirty-year (1897-1927) division among Supreme Court Justices about the proper way to assess multi-firm restraints on competition. By the late 1920s the basic contours of the rule for restraints among competitors was roughly established. Antitrust policy toward vertical restraints remained much more unstable, however, largely because their effects were so poorly understood.

This article provides a litigation field guide for antitrust claims under the rule of reason – or more precisely, for situations when application of the rule of reason is likely. At the time pleadings are drafted and even up …


Horizontal Mergers, Market Structure, And Burdens Of Proof, Herbert J. Hovenkamp, Carl Shapiro Jan 2018

Horizontal Mergers, Market Structure, And Burdens Of Proof, Herbert J. Hovenkamp, Carl Shapiro

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Since the Supreme Court’s landmark 1963 decision in Philadelphia National Bank, antitrust challengers have mounted prima facie cases against horizontal mergers that rested on the level and increase in market concentration caused by the merger, with proponents of the merger then permitted to rebut by providing evidence that the merger will not have the feared anticompetitive effects. Although the way that concentration is measured and the triggering levels have changed over the last half century, the basic approach has remained intact. This longstanding structural presumption, which is well supported by economic theory and evidence, has been critical to effective …


Horizontal Shareholding And Antitrust Policy, Fiona M. Scott Morton, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2018

Horizontal Shareholding And Antitrust Policy, Fiona M. Scott Morton, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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“Horizontal shareholding” occurs when one or more equity funds own shares of competitors operating in a concentrated product market. For example, the four largest mutual fund companies might be large shareholders of all the major United States air carriers. A growing body of empirical literature concludes that under these conditions market output in the product market is lower and prices higher than they would otherwise be.

Here we consider how the antitrust laws might be applied to this practice, identifying the issues that courts are likely to encounter and attempting to anticipate litigation problems. We assume that neither the mutual …


Progressive Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2018

Progressive Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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Several American political candidates and administrations have both run and served under the “progressive” banner for more than a century, right through the 2016 election season. For the most part these have pursued interventionist antitrust policies, reflecting a belief that markets are fragile and in need of repair, that certain interest groups require greater protection, or in some cases that antitrust policy is an extended arm of regulation. This paper argues that most of this progressive antitrust policy was misconceived, including that reflected in the 2016 antitrust plank of the Democratic Party. The progressive state is best served by a …


Reasonable Patent Exhaustion, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2018

Reasonable Patent Exhaustion, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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A lengthy tug of war between the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals may have ended when the Supreme Court held that the sale of a patented article exhausts the patentee seller’s rights to enforce restrictions on that article through patent infringement suits. Further, reversing the Federal Circuit, the parties cannot bargain around this rule through the seller’s specification of conditions stated at the time of sale, no matter how clear. No inquiry need be made into the patentee’s market power, anticompetitive effects, or other types of harms, whether enforcement of the condition is socially costly or …


Antitrust And The Design Of Production, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2018

Antitrust And The Design Of Production, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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Both economics and antitrust policy have traditionally distinguished “production” from “distribution.” The former is concerned with how products are designed and built, the latter with how they are placed into the hands of consumers. Nothing in the language of the antitrust laws suggests much concern with production as such. Although courts do not view it that way, even per se unlawful naked price fixing among rivals is a restraint on distribution rather than production. Naked price fixing assumes a product that has already been designed and built, and the important cartel decision is what should be each firm’s output, or …