. @JusticeATR just filed to block Aon's $30 billion merger with Willis Towers Watson, a deal between the no. 2 and no. 3 insurance brokers that would create the world's biggest insurance brokerage. More TK.
For the TL;DR set: combining the no. 2 and no. 3 insurance brokerage would lead to higher prices for the 1,000 largest U.S. companies, who use Aon and WTW to help them set up and manage insurance plans for employees and retirees.
This story started it's life as this chart. I wanted to look at how the House bills zoomed in on the companies (ALSO special thanks to @wordsbykam for listening to me ramble on a Friday afternoon and then making it into something understandable)
The Justice Department and the FTC designate “covered online platforms” for enhanced enforcement only if the companies meet certain thresholds: The business’ parent company must have a market value of at least $600 billion -- something only 10 corporations worldwide meet
There's been a lot of antitrust news today. Sen. Mike Lee and Chuck Grassley also dropped their own antitrust overhaul. Here's the one-pager: lee.senate.gov/public/_cache/…
There's stuff in here that's DOA for Dems -- like eliminating the FTC's antitrust jurisdiction and giving it to @JusticeATR. But there are other things that could gain some consensus.
@JusticeATR Civil fines for knowing violations of the antitrust laws of up to 15% of a company's annual revenues for each year in which the violation occurred. That's in line with EU fines, which can be big $ (see Google's $10B or so)
The FTC improperly held that 1-800 Contacts trademark agreements violated the antitrust law, the 2nd Circuit held this AM. They reversed the FTC decision and ordered the complaint be dismissed. Big loss for FTC. More TK.
. @energycommerce voted 30-22 to advance a bill to restore the @FTC ability to seek restitution and disgorgement from companies that break the law in the wake of the Supreme Court's AMG decision that the agency didn't have that authority
Before moving the bill, Democrats defeated, 25-28, an amendment offered by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) that would have reduced to 5 years from 10 years the period of time for which they could seek monetary remedies.
The amendment would also have changed the bill so it would only apply to FTC cases going forward, not any of its pending ones.
Five bills: each covering a slightly different aspect of antitrust/tech platforms.
1) Line of business restrictions. This is the "Glass-Steagall of the Internet" idea that Cicilline has talked up. The legislation takes aim at companies (like Amazon) that operate a dominant platform and promote their own goods or services on it.
One R voted in favor of the bill: Sen. Andrew Lanza, who represents Staten Island. One D voted against the bill: Sen. John Brooks, who reps Long Island/South Shore
From Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who is championing the bill in that chamber: "Massive corporations must not be empowered to use their sheer size to circumvent the anti-trust regulations that have been put in place in New York for many years. /1
YGR: the market has to include some substitutes.
Bornstein: It's critical to decide what the product is before you can decide substitutes. The market we defined is the market for app distribution. It's not the in-app purchase.
Bornstein: It's getting the app on your phone.
YGR: Is there any definition that gets to the problem where the market has economic substitutes.
Bornstein: Our view is there is no economic substitute for getting an app on the phone. There are substitutes for the App Store.
YGR: Your market definition doesn't include substitutes because that doesn't reflect reality.
Bornstein: The substitutes would be direct distribution or alternative app stores. We do not believe that distribution of an app on Android or console is an economic substitute.
Our hybrid closings in #epicvapple start in a bit. Today's in-court reporters are @doratki and @mslopatto. I'll be following along again today in case YGR gives some more clues about her thinking.
For Epic, Gary Bornstein will be doing all the talking. For Apple, Richard Doren will discuss remedies; Daniel Swanson will talk about market definition; and Veronica Moye will talk about conduct and effects.
YGR asks each side to give her their top two areas: Bornstein says market definition and remedy; Doren says those are good for Apple to start.
Day 14 of #epicvapple. I feel a bit like a marathon runner entering the last few miles. The end is in sight, just have to get there.
Today's reporters are @mslopatto and @Siliconlaw. We're getting a few more expert witnesses from Apple today: UCLA's Dominique Hanssens; James Malackowski, CEO of Ocean Tomo; and Aviel Rubin from Johns Hopkins
YGR says she felt "too much stress" to watch the Warriors-Lakers game last night.
Apple’s Michael Schmid, who works with game developers, will be back up on the stand this AM. After he’s done, Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, will testify followed by Dominique Hanssens, Apple’s marketing/survey expert
YGR says she works every weekend during trial because she has "hundreds of other cases" and those do not end at the end of the trial day.
Doren returns to the sexual terms. There are categories of things we don't want on our store like pornography, Schiller says. When you have categories of apps, like dating apps, developers will try to find where the line is. "It's not an easy task," he says.
It would be inappropriate for Apple to reject dating apps because of the people who use them, Schiller said.
Nudity is allowed for medical apps, but pornography is not permitted, Schiller says. "It's been a very difficult topic," he says of porn. Apple sets rules like the display of genitalia to help the app reviewers, Schiller says.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled #epicvapple coverage. Apple's Phil Schiller will be back up on the stand this morning. Expect him to have a tougher reception today as Epic's Katherine Forrest gets her chance at questioning.
And lastly, my fave topic of all: SEPs. Last night, @JusticeATR filed a letter with the 5th Circuit.
Some background: the Trump admin DOJ AAG Makan Delrahim had strong views on the intersection of antitrust and IP, views that contradicted those held by the Obama DOJ.
Under Delrahim, DOJ weighed in on a number of private #antitrust cases with "Statements of Interest" expressing views on antitrust-IP. One such case involved Continental Automotive, which had sued Avancii a patent company that owns SEPs needed for connected car tech
@OversightDems Among the findings, Abbvie knew Humira, a blockbuster arthritis drug, would face biosimilar competition in 2017, so it took steps to delay that until 2023. The company's internal documents estimate that cost the U.S. health care system $19B
Abbvie has sought or obtained 250 patents related to Humira, the report found. The company has invested a lot of its R&D into a Humira “enhancements” program to protect against biosimilar competition.