Antitrust

Hmmm … I Guess Two Weeks Notice is Enough

by Lee Gesmer on November 9, 2008

From a Department of Justice press release, November 7, 2008 –

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey issued the following statement on the resignation of Assistant Attorney General Thomas O. Barnett of the Antitrust Division:

“Tom Barnett has been an effective enforcer of the antitrust laws and a strong advocate for consumers. Under his leadership, the Antitrust Division has increased cartel enforcement to record levels with unprecedented fines and prison sentences, improved the efficiency and efficacy of its merger enforcement, and enhanced cooperation with our foreign counterparts.”

….

Barnett was confirmed by the Senate as Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division on Feb. 10, 2006. He became acting Assistant Attorney General on June 25, 2005, and previously served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General since April 18, 2004.

Barnett’s resignation is scheduled to be effective Nov. 19, 2008.

Click here for full press release.Read the full article

The Federal government has two antitrust enforcement authorities – the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. These two agencies have partially overlapping enforcement authority over civil cases, and they often collaborate in setting antitrust policy. Although the federal courts are the final arbiters of the federal antitrust laws (which are statutory, and therefore originate with Congress), the business community relies heavily on the Justice Department and the FTC to provide their views on the law. Accordingly, from time-to-time the Justice Department and FTC issue detailed joint guidelines. (Examples include: Collaborations Among Competitors, 2000; Antitrust and IP Rights, 2007; and Antitrust Licensing Guidelines, 1995).

The DOJ/FTC joint reports are a big deal – they often include lengthy hearings, prepared testimony and position papers from interested parties, proposed guidelines, revised guidelines, and so on, until (drum role ….) the big day when the final report is issued.… Read the full article

Here’s an interesting web page from Google entitled Facts About the Yahoo-Google Advertising Agreement. There, Google “makes the case” for its proposed deal with Yahoo, which it describes as follows:

On June 12, 2008, Yahoo! and Google announced an agreement that gives Yahoo! the ability to use Google’s search and contextual advertising technology through its AdSense™ for Search and AdSense for Content advertising programs.

Under the agreement, Yahoo! has the option to display Google ads alongside its own natural search results in the U.S. and Canada. In addition, Yahoo! can serve contextually targeted ads on its U.S. and Canadian web properties as well as on its current publisher partner sites. Yahoo! will continue to operate its own search engine, web properties and advertising services.

In addition, Yahoo! and Google agreed to enable interoperability between their respective instant messaging services bringing easier and broader communication to users.

On this web page Google presents a White Paper of sorts, in web format, with links to sections such as “what the deal means for advertisers” and “why the deal is good for competition.Read the full article

At least one FTC Commissioner recently stated that he would support an appeal:

As I said earlier, I personally support a petition for certiorari in Rambus. I think the D.C. Circuit’s decision is wrong and given the fact that it rests on important legal principles respecting causation in Section 2 cases. I think its implications are much broader than the standard setting context. The petition is due in mid- November and it is my hope that the Solicitor General weighs in to support us on this important effort.

Section 2 and Standard Setting: Rambus, N-Data & The Role of Causation
J. Thomas Rosch, Commisioner, Federal Trade Commission, Oct. 2, 2008

Click here for an earlier discussion of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in the FTC/Rambus litigation.… Read the full article