Posts Tagged ‘antitrust’

Pharmacies sued over Pfizer-Wyeth merger

August 24, 2009

“In a federal antitrust complaint, pharmacies that buy drugs from Pfizer and Wyeth say their proposed $68 billion merger would give the new company control of 40 percent of the market, cost thousands of jobs and lead to lower quality drugs at higher prices.”


Babies ‘R’ Us antitrust case goes ahead

July 17, 2009

“A federal judge in Philadelphia certified a class action on Wednesday accusing a Toys “R” Us division of conspiring with baby-product makers to keep prices high in an effort to compete with online retailers.
     Faced with stiff competition from Web sales, Babies “R” Us allegedly strong-armed manufacturers into fixing prices on baby items, including strollers, high chairs and car seats. Online retailers typically have lower overhead costs and can deeply discount the merchandise and still make a profit.
     Consumers claimed the collusion between Babies “R” Us and manufacturers violated federal antitrust law and forced consumers to pay artificially inflated prices. ”


Apple, Google & Yahoo: collusion in hiring?

June 5, 2009

“The Department of Justice is investigating whether some of the largest tech firms in the world violated antitrust laws by coordinating their strategies for hiring top talent. Agreements not to steal one another’s key business and engineering employees could have unfairly stifled competition, according to the Washington Post’s sources.

The DoJ launched reviews of Apple, Genentech, Google, and Yahoo, according to these sources, none of which offered comment to the Post. Other firms could face similar scrutiny during the “industry-wide” investigation.

The problem, it would appear, lies in companies consulting each other on which employees should be recruited, and by whom. By trading one key employee for another (or by not trading them, as the case may be), these companies might be able to protect talent without resorting to expensive bidding wars or risking losing mission-critical personnel.


FTC wonders about antitrust issue with Google and Apple

May 6, 2009

“The Federal Trade Commission has begun an inquiry into whether two shared directors at Apple and Google amounts to an anti-trust violation, the New York Times reports.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt and former Genentech CEO Arthur Levinson are on the board of directors of the two Silicon Valley heavyweights. While this in itself is not illegal federal law dating back to 1914 prohibits a person from being on the board of two companies when that would reduce competition between them.

Google and Apple are not major competitors: the former is a search, software and advertising company and Apple is all about hardware. But they are both in the smartphone business, even though the HTC handset powered by Google Android OS is dwarfed in popularity by Apple’s iPhone. They each also both market a browser (Chrome vs. Safari) and, in a broad sense, YouTube could be seen as a rival to iTunes as a vendor or music and music videos.

The inquiry is apparently in very early stages, sources tell the Times, and neither the two companies nor the FTC would comment. The law in question is rarely invoked, and even if this inquiry starts to boil the “interlocking” directors could just resign and being replaced.”

Cisco sued for anti-competitive practices

December 4, 2008

Multiven, a independent service provider for router and networking products claims that Cisco which has a huge market share of the router business uses it’s Smartnet service and maintenance contracts for anti-competitive purposes by not providing bug fixes and updates to customers who don’t purchase these Smartnet contracts.  Multiven brought suit against Cisco in Federal District Court in San Jose, Northern Distric of California.

A couple interesting things:  The complaint does a good job of providing the range and scope of Cisco’s market with lots of revenue figures and information about its partners and other market players.  Also, in looking at recent SEC filings, I noticed that Cisco does a poor job of disclosing it’s litigation, mentioning a recent suit and then referencing risk factors as a place where it discusses additional legal issues.  My suspicion is that there are other antitrust lawsuits out there against Cisco but that’s not information gleaned from their recent 10-Q and 10-K.  It seems like that information should be disclosed but the SEC is pretty lax, to my mind, about what gets disclosed and in its specificity.

Complaint courtesy Courthousenews

Comcast sued for unlawful activities

November 26, 2008

The lawsuit filed in Eastern District of California claims that Comcast mandates that subscribers rent a box from them to view the Comcast cable offerings even though if there was competition, subscribers could rent or purchase such a box at a lower cost from someone else.

Complaintcourtesy Courthousenews

Antitrust suits not new for Qualcomm

November 20, 2008

Its been awhile since I’ve mentioned the power of SEC filings for analyzing a business from its litigation perspective so I thought I’d use the recent Qualcomm antitrust suit as an opportunity.

The company’s most recent 10-K was filed just in September and they do an excellent job of outlining their litigation, giving dates, courts, case names.  Two things standout; they are in fierce competition with Broadcom Corporation as they are involved in both patent infringement and antitrust lawsuits with them.  The second thing is that everyone is coming after them for antitrust violations in countries such as Japan and Korea.  The EU has also been handling claims made by a range of companies. 

They are also famous in legal circles as the poster child of what not to do in terms of e-discovery related to their litigation with Broadcom.  Sanctions anyone?  Ouch.

Lawsuit claims Qualcomm a monopoly

November 19, 2008

Because of their control over the CDMA market, the technology for most wireless communications, they can force manufacturers and others to adhere to long term anti-competitive contracts according to the lawsuit.   This isn’t a government investigation so it will be interesting to see the impact of the lawsuit.  Also, they aren’t suing under the federal Sherman act but the federal Clayton act and a bunch of state laws.    Not sure why the plaintiff is taking that approach.

Complaint courtesy Courthousenews