Blog Posts: Antitrust
Aggressive enforcement tactics of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have yielded $1.02 billion in fines in fiscal year 2013 — the second year in a row DOJ has collected over $1 billion in antitrust fines. In 2012, the Department collected a record $1.14 billion in fines.
Nine Japan-based auto-parts companies and two executives have agreed to pay a total of more than $740 million in fines in connection with conspiracies to fix the prices of 30 different products sold to U.S. car manufacturers, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced recently. The agreements are the latest and most significant developments in the largest criminal antitrust investigation in DOJ history.
A review of the performance of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division for 2012 shows a continued increase in the successful enforcement of antitrust laws. The EU successfully enforced its competition laws as well.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted unanimously to drop its 19-month antitrust investigation into Google's search practices without bringing charges. During the exhaustive investigation, FTC staff reviewed over nine million pages of documents from Google and other parties, in addition to conducting numerous interviews and hearings.
Last week the Senate confirmed William Baer as the new chief of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division. Baer, formerly a prominent antitrust lawyer at the law firm of Arnold & Porter, also served as director of the Competition Bureau of the Federal Trade Commission in the 1990s.
The giant corporations of the technology world are clashing over so-called “patent trolls” — companies that buy up patents that they didn't create and that they don't plan to use themselves — in order to receive licensing fees and royalties. Google recently complained to regulators in the European Commission and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, accusing Microsoft and Nokia of colluding with patent trolls in order to discourage device makers from using Android, the operating system that Google uses in its mobile devices. Microsoft and Nokia both use Windows as the operating system on their phones.
Businesses beware: The Department of Justice is on a roll with antitrust enforcement activity. Justice Officials are building on a banner year in 2011 by pursuing criminal convictions and civil litigation in industries ranging from automotive parts to mobile communications networks.