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Full-Text Articles in Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation

Frand And Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Aug 2019

Frand And Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper considers when a patentee’s violation of a FRAND commitment also violates the antitrust laws. It warns against two extremes. First, is thinking that any violation of a FRAND obligation is an antitrust violation as well. FRAND obligations are contractual, and most breaches of contract do not violate antitrust law. The other extreme is thinking that, because a FRAND violation is a breach of contract, it cannot also be an antitrust violation.

Every antitrust case must consider the market environment in which conduct is to be evaluated. SSOs operated by multiple firms are joint ventures. Antitrust’s role ...


What’S In Your Wallet (And What Should The Law Do About It?), Natasha Sarin May 2019

What’S In Your Wallet (And What Should The Law Do About It?), Natasha Sarin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In traditional markets, firms can charge prices that are significantly elevated relative to their costs only if there is a market failure. However, this is not true in a two-sided market (like Amazon, Uber, and Mastercard), where firms often subsidize one side of the market and generate revenue from the other. This means consideration of one side of the market in isolation is problematic. The Court embraced this view in Ohio v. American Express, requiring that anticompetitive harm on one side of a two-sided market be weighed against benefits on the other side.

Legal scholars denounce this decision, which, practically ...


Is Antitrust's Consumer Welfare Principle Imperiled?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2019

Is Antitrust's Consumer Welfare Principle Imperiled?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust’s consumer welfare principle stands for the proposition that antitrust policy should encourage markets to produce output as high as is consistent with sustainable competition, and prices that are accordingly as low. Such a policy does not protect every interest group. For example, it opposes the interests of cartels or other competition-limiting associations who profit from lower output and higher prices. It also runs counter to the interest of less competitive firms that need higher prices in order to survive. Market structure is relevant to antitrust policy, but its importance is contingent rather than absolute – that is, market structure ...


Intellectual Property And The Economics Of Product Differentiation, Christopher S. Yoo Jul 2018

Intellectual Property And The Economics Of Product Differentiation, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The literature applying the economics of product differentiation to intellectual property has been called the most important development in the economic analysis of IP in years. Relaxing the assumption that products are homogeneous yields new insights by explaining persistent features of IP markets that the traditional approaches cannot, challenging the extent to which IP allows rightsholders to earn monopoly profits, allowing for sources of welfare outside of price-quantity space, which in turn opens up new dimensions along which intellectual property can compete. It also allows for equilibria with different welfare characteristics, making the tendency towards systematic underproduction more contingent and ...


Antitrust Policy And Inequality Of Wealth, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Oct 2017

Antitrust Policy And Inequality Of Wealth, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Why would anyone want to use antitrust law as a wealth distribution device when far more explicit statutory tools are available for that purpose? One feature of antitrust is its open-textured, nonspecific statutes that are interpreted by judges. As a result, using antitrust to redistribute wealth may be a way of invoking the judicial process without having to go to Congress or a state legislature that is likely to be unsympathetic. Of course, a corollary is that someone attempting to use antitrust law to redistribute wealth will have to rely on the existing antitrust statutes rather than obtaining a new ...


Intellectual Property And Competition, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Aug 2017

Intellectual Property And Competition, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A legal system that relies on private property rights to promote economic development must consider that profits can come from two different sources. First, both competition under constant technology and innovation promote economic growth by granting many of the returns to the successful developer. Competition and innovation both increase output, whether measured by quantity or quality. Second, however, profits can come from practices that reduce output, in some cases by reducing quantity, or in others by reducing innovation.

IP rights and competition policy were traditionally regarded as in conflict. IP rights create monopoly, which was thought to be inimical to ...


Appraising Merger Efficiencies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2017

Appraising Merger Efficiencies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Mergers of business firms violate the antitrust laws when they threaten to lessen competition, which generally refers to a price increase resulting from a reduction in output. However, a merger that threatens competition may also enable the post-merger firm to reduce its costs or improve its product. Attitudes toward mergers are heavily driven by assumptions about efficiency gains. If mergers of competitors never produced efficiency gains but simply reduced the number of competitors, a strong presumption against them would be warranted. We tolerate most mergers because of a background, highly generalized belief that most or at least many produce cost ...


Re-Imagining Antitrust: The Revisionist Work Of Richard S. Markovits, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2016

Re-Imagining Antitrust: The Revisionist Work Of Richard S. Markovits, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This review discusses Richard Markovits’ two volume book "Economics and the Interpretation" and "Application of U.S. and E.U. Antitrust Law" (2014), focusing mainly on Markovits’ approaches to antitrust tests of illegality, pricing offenses, market definition and the assessment of market power, and his important work anticipating unilateral effects theory in merger cases. Markovits argues forcefully that the Sherman and Clayton Acts were intended to employ different tests of illegality. As a result, even when they cover the same practices, such as mergers, exclusive dealing, or tying, they address them under different tests. He then shows how he would ...


Implementing Antitrust's Welfare Goals, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2014

Implementing Antitrust's Welfare Goals, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

United States antitrust policy is said to promote some version of economic welfare. Antitrust promotes allocative efficiency by ensuring that markets are as competitive as they can practicably be, and that firms do not face unreasonable roadblocks to attaining productive efficiency, which refers to both cost minimization and innovation. One important welfare debate is whether antitrust should adopt a “consumer welfare” principle rather than a more general “total welfare” principle.

The simple version of the consumer welfare test is not a balancing test. If consumers are harmed by reduced output or higher prices resulting from the exercise of market power ...


Merger Policy And The 2010 Merger Guidelines, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2014

Merger Policy And The 2010 Merger Guidelines, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

New Horizontal Merger Guidelines were issued jointly by the Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission in August, 2010, replacing Guidelines issued in 1992 that no longer reflected either the law or government enforcement policy. The new Guidelines are a striking improvement. They are less technocratic, accommodating a greater and more realistic variety of theories about why mergers of competitors can be anticompetitive and, accordingly, a greater variety of methodologies for assessing them.

The unifying theme of the Horizontal Merger Guidelines is to prevent the enhancement of market power that might result from mergers. The 2010 Guidelines state that “[a ...


Harm To Competition Under The 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2014

Harm To Competition Under The 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In August, 2010, the Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission issued new Guidelines for assessing the competitive effects of horizontal mergers under the antitrust laws. These Guidelines were long awaited not merely because of the lengthy interval between them and previous Guidelines but also because enforcement policy had drifted far from the standards articulated in the previous Guidelines. The 2010 Guidelines are distinctive mainly for two things. One is briefer and less detailed treatment of market delineation. The other is an expanded set of theories of harm that justify preventing mergers or reversing mergers that have already occurred.

The ...


Technological Determinism And Its Discontents, Christopher S. Yoo Jan 2014

Technological Determinism And Its Discontents, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This book review takes a critical review of the claim advanced by Susan Crawford in Captive Audience that the merger between Comcast and NBC Universal would harm consumers and that policymakers should instead promote common carriage regulation and subsidize municipal symmetrical gigabit fiber-to-the-home (FTTH). First it evaluates the extent to which next-generation digital subscriber lines (DSL) and wireless broadband technologies can serve as effective substitutes for cable modem service, identifying FCC data showing that the market has become increasingly competitive and likely to continue to do so. Furthermore, the market is not structured in a way that would permit the ...


Antitrust And Nonexcluding Ties, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2012

Antitrust And Nonexcluding Ties, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Notwithstanding hundreds of court decisions, tying arrangements remain enigmatic. Conclusions that go to either extreme, per se legality or per se illegality, invariably make simplifying assumptions that frequently do not obtain. For example, by ignoring double marginalization or tying product price cuts it becomes very easy to prove that a wide range of ties are anticompetitive. At the other extreme, by ignoring foreclosure possibilities one can readily conclude that ties are invariably benign.

Ties have historically been thought to produce two kinds of competitive harm: “leverage,” or extraction; and foreclosure, or exclusion. The two theories are not mutually exclusive. Indeed ...


Antitrust And The Costs Of Movement, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Oct 2012

Antitrust And The Costs Of Movement, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust is rightfully concerned about the structure of markets as well as the bargaining that occurs in them. As a result, the absolute cost of redeploying resources can be just as important as the transaction costs of arranging for their movement. This paper examines several broad themes in antitrust, considering the role of various assumptions about the costs of getting resources moved toward superior positions and the ability of the antitrust system to facilitate this movement. Part II very briefly examines structuralism as a theory underlying antitrust enforcement, particularly its assumptions about the difficulty and costs of moving resources. Harvard ...


Competition In Information Technologies: Standards-Essential Patents, Non-Practicing Entities And Frand Bidding, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Oct 2012

Competition In Information Technologies: Standards-Essential Patents, Non-Practicing Entities And Frand Bidding, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Standard Setting is omnipresent in networked information technologies. Virtually every cellular phone, computer, digital camera or similar device contains technologies governed by a collaboratively developed standard. If these technologies are to perform competitively, the processes by which standards are developed and implemented must be competitive. In this case attaining competitive results requires a mixture of antitrust and non-antitrust legal tools.

FRAND refers to a firm’s ex ante commitment to make its technology available at a “fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory royalty.” The FRAND commitment results from bidding to have one’s own technology selected as a standard. Typically the FRAND ...


Antitrust And The Movement Of Technology, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2012

Antitrust And The Movement Of Technology, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Patents create strong incentives for collaborative development. For many technologies fixed costs are extremely high in relation to variable costs. A second feature of technology that encourages collaborative development is the need for interoperability or common standards. Third, in contrast to traditional commons, intellectual property commons are almost always nonrivalrous on the supply side. If ten producers all own the rights to make a product covered by a patent, each one can make as many units as it pleases without limiting the number that others can make. That might seem to be a good thing, but considered ex ante it ...


Markets In Merger Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2012

Markets In Merger Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust merger policy suffers from a disconnect between its articulated concerns and the methodologies it employs. The Supreme Court has largely abandoned the field of horizontal merger analysis, leaving us with ancient decisions that have never been overruled but whose fundamental approach has been ignored or discredited. As a result the case law reflects the structuralism of a bygone era, focusing on industrial concentration and market shares, largely to the exclusion of other measures of competitive harm, including price increases. Only within the last generation has econometrics developed useful techniques for estimating the price impact of specific mergers in differentiated ...


Markets In Ip And Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2011

Markets In Ip And Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The purpose of market definition in antitrust law is to identify a grouping of sales such that a single firm who controlled them could maintain prices for a significant time at above the competitive level. The conceptions and procedures that go into “market definition” in antitrust can be quite different from those that go into market definition in IP law. When the issue of market definition appears in IP cases, it is mainly as a query about the range over which rivalry occurs. This rivalry may or may not have much to do with a firm’s ability to charge ...


Mergers, Market Dominance And The Lundbeck Case, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2011

Mergers, Market Dominance And The Lundbeck Case, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In Lundbeck the Eighth Circuit affirmed a district court’s judgment that a merger involving the only two drugs approved for treating a serious heart condition in infants was lawful. Although the drugs treated the same condition they were not bioequivalents. The Eighth Circuit approved the district court’s conclusion that they had not been shown to be in the same relevant market.

Most mergers that are subject to challenge under the antitrust laws occur in markets that exhibit some degree of product differentiation. The Lundbeck case illustrates some of the problems that can arise when courts apply ideas derived ...


Quasi Exclusive Dealing, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Aug 2011

Quasi Exclusive Dealing, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A firm's discounting policies over a single product raise concerns analogous to exclusive dealing in two situations. First, the firm may offer conditional discounts structured in such a way as to induce customers to take most of their requirements for a given product from the defendant. In addition, a firm may employ “slotting” fees or similar allowances paid by manufacturers to retailers, with the possible result that rivals have difficulty obtaining access to shelf space. Neither practice is literally "exclusive dealing," because neither involves a condition that the purchaser not deal in the goods of a rival, although they ...


Tying Arrangements And Lawful Alternatives: Transaction Costs Considerations, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Aug 2011

Tying Arrangements And Lawful Alternatives: Transaction Costs Considerations, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Tying arrangements often increase welfare by promoting product quality and protecting the supplier's goodwill in the tying product. When the tying product works effectively only with ancillary materials or accessories or services of a particular kind or quality, its supplier can assure the requisite quality of the ancillary product only by supplying that product itself. The cost savings defense and the defenses of quality control or good will are the most widely recognized and accepted tying defenses.

One characteristic of manufactured products is differentiation among the offerings of various brands. This in turn produces a need for more specialized ...


Tying Noncompetitive Goods, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jul 2011

Tying Noncompetitive Goods, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Many of the classic tying cases involved tied products that were common staples such as button fasteners, canned ink, dry ice, or salt. These products were sold in competitive markets, presumably at prices very close to cost. For most of them the most likely explanations for the tie were quality control or price discrimination, both with competitively benign results in the great majority of situations. When the tied good is sold in a noncompetitive market, however, an additional consumer welfare enhancing result is likely to obtain – namely, the elimination of double marginalization, which occurs when separate sellers of complementary products ...


Competition Law And Sector Regulation In The European Energy Market After The Third Energy Package: Hierarchy And Efficiency, Michael Diathesopoulos Apr 2011

Competition Law And Sector Regulation In The European Energy Market After The Third Energy Package: Hierarchy And Efficiency, Michael Diathesopoulos

Michael Diathesopoulos

The aim of this research is to provide the basic parameters for a model for the definition of the relation between the general competition and sector specific frameworks and rules regarding the regulation of the Internal Energy Market, especially after the Third Energy Package. The research considers the recent sector specific framework in relation to a series of recent competition law cases of the Energy Market where structural remedies were applied under the commitments procedure. Essential facilities doctrine and generally competition law tools do not seem to provide a suitable framework for effectively addressing the dynamic competition concept, treating the ...


Tying And The Rule Of Reason: Understanding Leverage, Foreclosure, And Price Discrimination, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Mar 2011

Tying And The Rule Of Reason: Understanding Leverage, Foreclosure, And Price Discrimination, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Many tying arrangements are used by firms that do not have substantial market power in either of the two markets linked together by the tie. Their function must be something other than the enlargement or perpetuation of power. A few ties do involve fairly explicit exercises of market power, but they need not be used for a different purpose than the ties imposed by more competitive firms. This paper considers firms’ use of ties to exploit whatever power they already have over the tying product. The "leverage" theory sees ties as exploiting customers as a group via higher prices, whether ...


A Primer On Antitrust Damages, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Mar 2011

A Primer On Antitrust Damages, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper considers the theory of antitrust damages and then discusses some simple models for proving them. Antitrust damages theory begins with the premise that many practices alleged to violate the antitrust laws cause no consumer harm. Others are inefficient and have few socially redeeming virtues. Still others may simultaneously increase both the efficiency of the participants and their market power. A perfectly designed antitrust policy would exonerate the first set of practices, condemn the second set, and condemn the third set only when the social cost of the restraint exceeds its social value or they produce net harm to ...


Quantification Of Harm In Private Antitrust Actions In The United States, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Feb 2011

Quantification Of Harm In Private Antitrust Actions In The United States, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper discusses the theory and experience of United States courts concerning the quantification of harm in antitrust cases. This treatment pertains to both the social cost of antitrust violations, and to the private damage mechanisms that United States antitrust law has developed. It is submitted for the Roundtable on the Quantification of Harm to Competition by National Courts and Competition Agencies, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Feb., 2011.

In a typical year more than 90% of antitrust complaints filed in the United States are by private plaintiffs rather than the federal government. Further, when the individual states ...


Antitrust And Patent Law Analysis Of Pharmaceutical Reverse Payment Settlements, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2011

Antitrust And Patent Law Analysis Of Pharmaceutical Reverse Payment Settlements, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Patent settlements in which the patentee pays the alleged infringer to stay out of the market are largely a consequence of the Hatch-Waxman Act, which was designed to facilitate the entry of generic drugs by providing the first generic producer to challenge a pioneer drug patent with a 180 day period of exclusivity. This period can be extended by a settlement even if the generic is not producing, and in any event all subsequent generic firms are denied the 180 day exclusivity period, significantly reducing their incentive to enter.

The Circuit Courts of Appeal are split three ways over such ...


Creation Without Restraint: Promoting Liberty And Rivalry In Innovation, Christina Bohannan, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2011

Creation Without Restraint: Promoting Liberty And Rivalry In Innovation, Christina Bohannan, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This document contains the table of contents, introduction, and a brief description of Christina Bohannan & Herbert Hovenkamp, Creation without Restraint: Promoting Liberty and Rivalry in Innovation (Oxford 2011).

Promoting rivalry in innovation requires a fusion of legal policies drawn from patent, copyright, and antitrust law, as well as economics and other disciplines. Creation Without Restraint looks first at the relationship between markets and innovation, noting that innovation occurs most in moderately competitive markets and that small actors are more likely to be truly creative innovators. Then we examine the problem of connected and complementary relationships, a dominant feature of high technology markets. Interconnection requirements, technological compatibility requirements, standard setting, and the relationship between durable products and aftermarkets all involve interconnection, or “tying.” Some see tying as inherently anticompetitive, while others view it as unexceptionally benign. In fact, bundling products or technologies is essential in high technology markets and most of it is socially beneficial, but possibilities of abuse nevertheless remain.

Identifying good substantive legal rules for facilitating innovation is often very difficult. Two generations ago antitrust law addressed problems of complexity by shifting the focus to harm. The courts reasoned that they could often avoid unmanageable substantive doctrine by considering whether the plaintiff had suffered the appropriate kind of injury. Plaintiffs who are injured by more rather than less competition should be denied a remedy. In the case of patent and copyright law, the appropriate question is whether an infringer’s conduct served to undermine the right holder’s incentive to innovate, with incentives measured from before the innovation occurred. Some IP infringements do no harm to the incentive to innovate; others actually make the right more rather than less valuable. In these situations relief should be denied.

Patent and copyright law are both in crisis today – major problems include overissuance, overly broad and ambiguously defined protections, and rules that permit both patentees and copyright holders to make broad claims on unforeseen innovations. The result has been that many patents are valueless, while others have very considerable value precisely because they enclose ideas or technologies that rightfully belong in the public domain. Patent law could be ...


Antitrust And Innovation: Where We Are And Where We Should Be Going, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2011

Antitrust And Innovation: Where We Are And Where We Should Be Going, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For large parts of their history intellectual property law and antitrust law have worked so as to undermine innovation competition by protecting too much. Antitrust policy often reflected exaggerated fears of competitive harm, and responded by developing overly protective rules that shielded inefficient businesses from competition at the expense of consumers. By the same token, the IP laws have often undermined rather than promoted innovation by granting IP holders rights far beyond what is necessary to create appropriate incentives to innovate.

Perhaps the biggest intellectual change in recent decades is that we have come to see patents less as a ...


Vertical Restraints, Dealers With Power, And Antitrust Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2010

Vertical Restraints, Dealers With Power, And Antitrust Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Supreme Court’s Leegin decision has now brought the rule of reason to all purely vertical intrabrand distribution restraints. But the rule of reason does not mean per se legality and occasions for anticompetitive vertically imposed restraints may still arise. Of all those that have been suggested the most plausible are vertical restraints imposed at the behest of a powerful dealer or group (cartel) of dealers.

Although a vertical distribution restraint resembles a dealer cartel in that both limit intraband competition, a manufacturer restraining the distribution of its product shuns the excess dealer profits a dealer cartel would seek ...