Distribution, Competition, and Antitrust / IP Law

Price Erosion and Restricting Online Distribution Rights

A reader who works with clients who sell online asked me to address online distribution restrictions.  This is more-or-less the reverse of the question I addressed in “Can My Supplier Refuse to Sell Products to Me?”  As always, I offer general … [Continue reading]

“And the Plaintiffs Don’t Have to Sue My Competitors Because? . . . .”

One of the pet peeves of antitrust defendants is that the joint-and-several liability rule often means that plaintiffs can pick and choose which defendants to sue. (Plaintiffs will say – that’s a design feature of the antitrust laws, and not a bug.) … [Continue reading]

SCOTUS Reaffirms that in Antitrust Cases, It Gives Less Deference to Precedent

Yesterday, in Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the rule first announced in Brulotte v. Thys Co., 379 U.S. 29 (1964), that a patentee cannot collect royalties on sales made after expiration of the patent. The … [Continue reading]

Is Antitrust Relevant for Startups, Emerging, and Non-Dominant Firms?

The answer is (surprise!) “yes.” There are a number of ways in which antitrust law is relevant to emerging and non-dominant companies. Those firms may: Need to deal with the dominant firms in their markets, including by (i) responding to … [Continue reading]

Wholesale Grocery Products Case Raises Questions About How and When to Apply Per Se Rule and Rule of Reason

The Supreme Court today denied review in In re: Wholesale Grocery Products Antitrust Litigation, an action that came up from the District of Minnesota and the Eighth Circuit. Substantively, the case is a useful reminder about the potential dangers of … [Continue reading]

Do State Bar Associations Have Antitrust Risk?

It was only a matter of time after the Supreme Court's decision in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, 135 S. Ct. 1101 (2015) (*), that a state bar association would face an antitrust suit.  But the suit … [Continue reading]

Can Trademark Abuse Constitute Monopolization?

As far as antitrust law is concerned, trademarks are the unwanted stepchildren of intellectual property. The conventional wisdom is that trademarks – whose exclusionary effect is very attenuated, if it exists at all – do not confer market power, so … [Continue reading]

Pay-for-delay and the Rule of Reason

Last week, I co-authored an article in the Los Angeles/San Francisco Daily Journal on the California Supreme Court's recent decision in the Cipro Cases.  There, the Court held that so-called "reverse payment" patent settlements are evaluated under a … [Continue reading]

Can Computers Conspire to Fix Prices?

Strange as it sounds, maybe we're getting closer to the day we have to seriously consider liability for computer conspiracies. On April 6, David Topkins, a former executive of an e-commerce seller of posters, prints and framed art agreed to plead … [Continue reading]

SCOTUS Holds Natural Gas Act Does Not Preempt State Law Antitrust Claims

In Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc., Case No. 13-271 (Apr. 21, 2015), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Natural Gas Act did not preempt retail customers’ state law antitrust claims against interstate gas pipeline operators for price … [Continue reading]

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