I’m pleased to have spoken today to a group of law students at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law on the intersection of antitrust and IP law. It was nice to see an almost-full lecture hall — lots of interest in the topic.
On February 19, 2014, I’ll be speaking on hot topics at the intersection of antitrust and IP law. See this link for more information about the webinar.
I’m pleased to be speaking at the “Advanced Antitrust U.S.” Conference on February 6, 2014 in San Francisco. I’ll be speaking on “Antitrust and Intellectual Property,” along with my co-panelists, Dean Pinkert, U.S. International Trade Commissioner, Greg Sivinski, Assistant General Counsel Antitrust for Microsoft, and John Scribner of Weil.
FYI, I will be speaking on “Antitrust Issues in Intellectual Property Licensing Transactions” on November 6, 2013 at 1:00 P.M. Eastern Time. Here is a link to the webinar program. I will be covering the Nine “No-Nos” of antitrust/intellectual property licensing, which I’ve written about previously in this blog.
I think the award for most creative market definition (at least for 2013) has to go to the plaintiff in Between the Lines Productions, LLC v. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., Case No. 13-cv-3584 (S.D.N.Y. May 30, 2013). There, the producers of a parody film called “Twiharder” recently filed suit against Lion Gate, the makers of, among other things, the popular Twilight movie series.
“Defendants’ anticompetitive conduct sets the benchmark example for why James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were apprehensive in the months leading up to the Philadelphia Convention about granting authors even limited copyright monopolies over their works,” Between the Lines writes in its complaint.
According to the (219!) page complaint, the defendants have sought to monopolize the “conversation” in “adjacent” or downstream markets, i.e., in markets downstream of the primary market “of original intention targeted to consumers of teen fantasy romance.” One of the downstream markets is the “Z Market,” defined as the market for the creation of novel works that are repulsed by the Twilight movies. Allegedly, defendants have achieved the monopolization of these “Fair Use Zones” through a highly oppressive intellectual property enforcement policy that uses sham cease and desist notices and a compendium of prohibited trademark / service mark registrations to chill speech and exclude all competition from the “Z Market.”
The complaint actually details five (!) different relevant antitrust markets and contains a full-page chart (at page 112) detailing them all.
The plaintiff seeks $375 million in damages for alleged breaches of federal antitrust laws.
Look, this is fun and creative. It illustrates nicely what happens when Hollywood bumps into antitrust law. But all I can say about these market definitions is: good luck with that. To the extent the plaintiff was hoping to get some publicity for its creativity, kudos.
My article on the ten things to do if you ever receive a DOJ antitrust subpoena is now up over at InHouse Blog.