Distribution, Competition, and Antitrust / Intellectual Property (IP) Law

U.S. Criminal Antitrust Enforcement in 2012 Was Robust

The U.S. DOJ recently reported its 2012 enforcement statistics.  In FY 2012, the Antitrust Division recovered over $1.1 billion (yes, billion with a “b”) in criminal fines.  See here.  That figure does not include alternative penalties, disgorgement, and restitution — e.g., the more than $200 million secured for state and federal agencies in the municipal bonds investigation.  So all told, DOJ recovered over $1.3 billion in 2012.  This appears to be an all-time record (at the least, it’s the highest number since 2003).

The link above also reveals that the average prison sentence for individuals has been steadily increasing (up to 25 months for the 2010-2012 period). 

Interestingly, although total fines were at a record level, the number of criminal cases dropped — from 90 in 2011 to 67 in 2012.  But that appears to be statistical noise;  in most years since 2003, the number of cases has fluctuated between 32 and 72.

Two companies account for the lion’s share of the 2012 fines: Yazaki Corporation (auto parts) — $470 million, and AU Optronics (LCD screens) — $500 million.  Furukawa Electric Co. (automotive wire harnesses) was fined $200 million.   See here.

Price fixing is not cool.

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