FTC Requires Divestitures in Consummated Unreportable Transaction
On October 12, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint against Magnesium Elektron alleging that the company’s 2007 acquisition of a rival manufacturer of magnesium plates for photoengraving—a $15 million transaction that was well below the notification threshold of the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act—constituted a merger to monopoly, eliminating competition and increasing Magnesium Elektron’s ability to exercise market power unilaterally. The consent order settling the case requires Magnesium Elektron to divest intellectual property and technological know-how to a company that does not currently manufacture or sell magnesium plates, and to provide assistance to help that company become an effective
competitor in the market.
U.S. and Indian Antitrust Agencies Sign Cooperation Agreement
On September 27, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and FTC signed an antitrust memorandum of understanding with the Competition Commission of India and the Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs to promote increased cooperation and communication among the antitrust agencies in both countries. The agreement establishes a framework for technical cooperation and consultation on antitrust enforcement and competition policy issues.
Antitrust Officials Signal Broader Scrutiny of Patent Policies
Recent speeches by representatives of the FTC, DOJ and European Commission indicate that the antitrust agencies may intend to broaden their analysis of competitive harm relating to patents. In particular, the agencies appear focused on standard-setting activities and policies relating to standard-essential patents (SEPs), and are committed to ensuring that companies do not wield undue market power as a result of SEP abuse.
UK OFT Publishes Guidance on Fines
In September 2012, the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published new guidance on how it will calculate penalties for antitrust violations. Additional information is available in our October 2012 EU/UK Competition Law Newsletter.