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

Digital Content Producers (Still) Lack Antitrust Standing to Sue Wireless Carriers Over MMS

In a prior post, I covered the district court’s decision in Davis v. AT&T Wireless Services, Inc.  There, the Central District of California dismissed antitrust claims against various wireless telephone companies and other defendants brought by a purported class of commercial producers of multimedia content. Plaintiffs claimed that when the wireless carriers created the Multimedia Messaging Service standard for sending multimedia data files, they agreed not to implement digital rights management measures that would have protected materials copyrighted by third parties. Allegedly, the carriers’ motive was to increase revenues and profits from the use of MMS. The court ruled that the plaintiffs had not alleged antitrust injury, and therefore lacked antitrust standing.

On April 17, 2014, in an unpublished, two-page opinion, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the antitrust claims, agreeing that plaintiffs lack standing.

Perhaps obvious moral of the story: in evaluating potential antitrust claims on either side of the “v.,” it’s vital to consider whether the plaintiffs have standing to assert them.

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Comments

  1. Thanks, Howard. That’s a very interesting case, and there’s some further coverage of it here. http://www.law360.com/articles/529400/9th-circ-sides-with-at-t-verizon-in-mms-antitrust-suit

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