Comparative Antitrust Law (FR 232)

 

With the globalization of the economy, an ever growing number of competitive issues have an impact in both the United States and Europe. Efforts to manage competition in one region will necessarily affect the other, and thus an understanding of comparative antitrust law is critical for a contemporary business lawyer. This class will introduce the basic antitrust legal and economic theory applicable in both the United States and the European Union. It assumes no prior knowledge of antitrust law. The core of antitrust law grows from the basic legal reasoning taught in the private, common law courses and basic economic analysis. As a result, this course will be accessible to students completing their first year of law school. Advanced business law courses are not necessary to take this class. After explaining the basic principles of antitrust law, the course will compare U.S. and E.U. enforcement policy with respect to monopolization, mergers, and other agreements in restraint of trade. Although the principles applied in the U.S. and E.U. are quite similar, their application in practice has proven to be more divergent. The U.S. aggressively prosecutes small scale price fixing and bid rigging cases, imposing criminal fines and imprisonment on the offenders. The E.U. places less emphasis on this type of case and has no criminal sanctions. Significant merger cases, including Boeing/Lockheed-Martin and GE/Honeywell have engendered conflict between the enforcement agencies in the two regions, sometimes requiring State Department intervention. With respect to monopolization, U.S. and E.U. enforcers have also taken different approaches in their prosecution large companies, such as Microsoft, that have allegedly engaged in anti-competitive unilateral practices. In short, the EU retains a greater aversion to the abuse of a large market share than the US.

 

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