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Network Effects In Action, Christopher S. Yoo Nov 2020

Network Effects In Action, Christopher S. Yoo

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This Chapter begins by examining and exploring the theoretical and empirical limits of the possible bases of network effects, paying particular attention to the most commonly cited framework known as Metcalfe’s Law. It continues by exploring the concept of network externalities, defined as the positive external consumption benefits that the decision to join a network creates for the other members of the network, which is more ambiguous than commonly realized. It then reviews the structural factors needed for models based on network effects to have anticompetitive effects and identifies other factors that can dissipate those effects. Finally, it identifies alternative …


Is The Digital Economy Too Concentrated?, Jonathan Klick Nov 2020

Is The Digital Economy Too Concentrated?, Jonathan Klick

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Concentration in the digital economy in the United States has sparked loud criticism and spurred calls for wide-ranging reforms. These reforms include everything from increased enforcement of existing antitrust laws, such as challenging more mergers and breaking up firms, to an abandonment of the consumer welfare standard. Critics cite corruption and more systemic public choice problems, while others invoke the populist origins of antitrust to slay the digital Goliaths. On the other side, there is skepticism regarding these arguments. This chapter continues much of that skepticism.


Competitive Harm From Vertical Mergers, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Oct 2020

Competitive Harm From Vertical Mergers, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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The antitrust enforcement Agencies' 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines introduce a nontechnical application of bargaining theory into the assessment of competitive effects from vertical acquisitions. The economics of such bargaining is complex and can produce skepticism among judges, who might regard its mathematics as overly technical, its game theory as excessively theoretical or speculative, or its assumptions as unrealistic.

However, we have been there before. The introduction of concentration indexes, particularly the HHI, in the Merger Guidelines was initially met with skepticism but gradually they were accepted as judges became more comfortable with them. The same thing very largely happened again …


Antitrust: What Counts As Consumer Welfare?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jul 2020

Antitrust: What Counts As Consumer Welfare?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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Antitrust’s consumer welfare principle is accepted in some form by the entire Supreme Court and the majority of other writers. However, it means different things to different people. For example, some members of the Supreme Court can simultaneously acknowledge the antitrust consumer welfare principle even as they approve practices that result in immediate, obvious, and substantial consumer harm. At the same time, however, a properly defined consumer welfare principle is essential if antitrust is to achieve its statutory purpose, which is to pursue practices that injure competition. The wish to make antitrust a more general social justice statute is understandable: …


Can Covid-19 Get Congress To Finally Strengthen U.S. Antitrust Law?, Robert H. Lande, Sandeep Vaheesan May 2020

Can Covid-19 Get Congress To Finally Strengthen U.S. Antitrust Law?, Robert H. Lande, Sandeep Vaheesan

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The COVID-19 pandemic could cause Congress to strengthen our merger laws. The authors of this short article strongly urge Congress to do this, but to do this in a manner that ignores 5 myths that underpin current merger policy:

Myth 1: Mergers Eliminate Wasteful Redundancies and Produce More Efficient Businesses
Myth 2: Current Merger Enforcement Protects Consumers
Myth 3: Merger Remedies Preserve Competition
Myth 4: The Current Merger Review System Offers Transparency and Guidance to Businesses and the Public
Myth 5: Corporations Need Mergers to Grow


House Judiciary Inquiry Into Competition In Digital Markets: Statement, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Apr 2020

House Judiciary Inquiry Into Competition In Digital Markets: Statement, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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This is a response to a query from the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, requesting my views about the adequacy of existing antitrust policy in digital markets.

The statutory text of the United States antitrust laws is very broad, condemning all anticompetitive restraints on trade, monopolization, and mergers and interbrand contractual exclusion whose effect “may be substantially to lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly.” Federal judicial interpretation is much narrower, however, for several reasons. One is the residue of a reaction against excessive antitrust enforcement in the 1970s and earlier. However, since that time antitrust …


Submission Of Robert H. Lande To House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee Investigation Of Digital Platforms, Robert H. Lande Apr 2020

Submission Of Robert H. Lande To House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee Investigation Of Digital Platforms, Robert H. Lande

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The House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee asked me to submit suggestions concerning the adequacy of existing antitrust laws, enforcement policies, and enforcement levels insofar as they impact the state of competition in the digital marketplace. My submission recommends the following nine reforms:

1. A textualist analysis of the Sherman Act shows that Section 2 actually is a no-fault monopolization statute. At a minimum Congress should enact a strong presumption that every firm with a 67% market share has violated Section 2. This would move the Sherman Act an important step in the right direction, the direction Congress intended in 1890. My …


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

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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

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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 other machines, are …


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

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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 strongly …


Preventing The Curse Of Bigness Through Conglomerate Merger Legislation, Robert H. Lande, Sandeep Vaheesan Jan 2020

Preventing The Curse Of Bigness Through Conglomerate Merger Legislation, Robert H. Lande, Sandeep Vaheesan

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The antitrust laws, as they are presently interpreted, are incapable of blocking most of the very largest corporate mergers. They successfully blocked only 4 of the 61 largest finalized mergers and acquisitions (defined as the acquired firm being valued at more than $10 billion) that occurred between 2015 and 2018. The antitrust laws also would permit the first trillion-dollar corporation, Apple, to merge with the third largest corporation, Exxon/Mobil. In fact, today every U.S. corporation could merge until just 10 were left – so long as each owned only 10% of every relevant market.

Even though the Congresses that enacted …


The Sherman Act Is A No-Fault Monopolization Statute: A Textualist Demonstration, Robert H. Lande, Richard O. Zerbe Jr. Jan 2020

The Sherman Act Is A No-Fault Monopolization Statute: A Textualist Demonstration, Robert H. Lande, Richard O. Zerbe Jr.

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The drafters of the Sherman Act originally designed Section 2 to impose

sanctions on all monopolies and attempts to monopolize, regardless whether the

firm had engaged in anticompetitive conduct. This conclusion emerges from the

first ever textualist analysis of the language in the statute, a form of interpretation

originally performed only by Justice Scalia but now increasingly used by the

Supreme Court, including in its recent Bostock decision.

Following Scalia’s methodology, this Article analyzes contemporaneous

dictionaries, legal treatises, and cases and demonstrates that when the Sherman

Act was passed, the word “monopolize” simply meant that someone had acquired

a monopoly. …


Frand And Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2020

Frand And Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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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 is to …


The Post-Chicago Antitrust Revolution: A Retrospective, Christopher S. Yoo Jan 2020

The Post-Chicago Antitrust Revolution: A Retrospective, Christopher S. Yoo

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A symposium examining the contributions of the post-Chicago School provides an appropriate opportunity to offer some thoughts on both the past and the future of antitrust. This afterword reviews the excellent papers with an eye toward appreciating the contributions and limitations of both the Chicago School, in terms of promoting the consumer welfare standard and embracing price theory as the preferred mode of economic analysis, and the post-Chicago School, with its emphasis on game theory and firm-level strategic conduct. It then explores two emerging trends, specifically neo-Brandeisian advocacy for abandoning consumer welfare as the sole goal of antitrust and the …


Regulatory Malfunctions In The Drug Patent Ecosystem, Ana Santos Rutschman Jan 2020

Regulatory Malfunctions In The Drug Patent Ecosystem, Ana Santos Rutschman

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Patent protection for several of the world’s best-selling and most promising drugs — biologics — has begun waning. Over the next few years, many other drugs in this category will lose critical patent protection. In principle, this should open the United States market to competition, as more manufacturers are now able to produce relatively cheaper versions of these expensive drugs, known as biosimilars. That, however, has not been the case. This Article examines this problem in the context of the articulation between anticompetitive behaviors and regulatory interventions in the biopharmaceutical arena, and argues for a novel solution: a timelier response …


What’S In Your Wallet (And What Should The Law Do About It?), Natasha Sarin Jan 2020

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

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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, …


Framing The Chicago School Of Antitrust Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp, Fiona Scott Morton Jan 2020

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

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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 …