Distribution, Competition, and Antitrust / IP Law

Getty Images Complains About Google’s Image “Scraping”

Getty Images and a group of professional photographers sent a letter this week to the Senate Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee complaining about Google’s image “scraping.”  In a nutshell, Getty alleges that high-resolution images in Google’s image search results end up being the final destination for searchers, not a conduit that carries searchers to the image source (e.g., Getty).  As a result, Getty alleges, Google profits from search data while diminishing compensation to the websites that actually own the image rights.

The FTC previously investigated Google for scraping.  The FTC staff recommended that the full commission bring antitrust charges against Google for scraping and other practices.  (That recommendation was accidentally made public.)  The FTC, however, closed its investigation into Google’s search practices, and in 2012 Google issued a letter promising to create an online tool that would allow websites to opt out of having their scraped content displayed in search results on Google.  Getty maintains that the opt-out mechanism presents image rights owners with the Hobson’s choice of agreeing to scraping or becoming “invisible” online by opting out of Google’s search results.

The fact that Getty is attempting to leverage government intervention is interesting.  Does it not think it has antitrust standing itself to complain?  It does not seem to be a competitor or a customer of Google.

Court’s Denial of Summary Judgment on Price Discrimination Claims Reminds Suppliers to Properly Structure Discount Programs

In a recent decision, the Northern District of California denied Chrysler’s motion for summary judgment to defeat a Robinson-Patman Act price discrimination claim.  Mathew Enterprise, Inc. v. Chrysler Group LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108693 (N.D. … [Continue reading]

You Can’t Use the Sherman Act to Wrangle an Invitation to a Political Debate

So held the District Court for the District of Columbia in Johnson v. Commission on Presidential Debates, No. 15-1580 (RMC) (D.D.C. August 5, 2016).  There, the Libertarian and Green Parties challenged decisions of the Commission on Presidential … [Continue reading]

If You Discount It, And They Don’t Come . . . .

Researchers at my alma mater (including Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame) recently reported the results of an interesting study: discounts offered on virtual goods (i.e., in-app purchases in connection with online video games) did not stimulate … [Continue reading]

Supreme Court lets Fourth Circuit’s Articulation of Standard for Pleading a Sherman Act Conspiracy Stand – for Now

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the Fourth Circuit’s decision in SD3, LLC v. Black & Decker (U.S.) Inc., et al., 801 F.3d 412 (4th Cir. 2015), allowing the decision – and, arguably, a circuit split on the pleading standard for … [Continue reading]

Third Circuit Rejects Single-Product Bundling Claim – But Holds Its Fire on What Test to Apply

In Eisai, Inc. v. Sanofi Aventis U.S., LLC, No. 14-2017 (3d Cir. May 4, 2016), the Third Circuit addressed a mix of allegedly exclusionary conduct, including the defendant’s discounting of its anti-coagulant drug Lovenox, and held that the … [Continue reading]

Speaking About Discounted Pricing Clauses

I'm happy to be speaking on "Discounted Pricing Clauses: Drafting Enforceable and Compliant Provisions After Collins."  We'll be addressing potential pitfalls in drafting discounted pricing clauses in commercial contracts, particularly in light of … [Continue reading]

Sixth Circuit Opens a Pandora’s Box of Joint Venture Challenges

Say you’re a group of hospitals that get together under a Joint Operating Agreement.   You agree to form an integrated health system. You agree to total your net incomes into a single “network net income” that is allocated to the parties based on … [Continue reading]

Maryland Lawsuit Shows Resale Price Maintenance Claims Are Not Dead

On March 4, 2016, the Maryland Attorney General announced a civil suit for alleged unlawful resale price maintenance against Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. (“J&J”) in connection with its sale of contact lenses. The Maryland AG alleges … [Continue reading]

Antitrust Claims Against “Anti-Patent Troll” Dismissed

I previously covered the case of Cascades Computer Innovation LLC v. RPX Corp., (N.D. Cal.) (Gonzalez Rogers, J.).  As I wrote in connection with the court's refusal to dismiss the plaintiff's amended complaint in December 2013: Cascades is a … [Continue reading]

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