William J. Baer
Assistant Attorney General
It is an honor to be part of the Antitrust Division, to lead its talented and dedicated staff in protecting competition and consumers, and to share with you the Division’s annual spring newsletter.
The Division has had an eventful year. We continue to use all the tools available to us to achieve good outcomes for U.S. consumers, including merger and civil nonmerger investigations and litigations, criminal enforcement, international and domestic cooperation, and competition advocacy.
The Division’s civil enforcement program continues to vigorously protect competition for the benefit of consumers, as evidenced by the six civil cases the Division currently is litigating, and its focus on safeguarding competition in industries that directly affect day-to-day lives, including health care, telecommunications and technology, transportation, office supplies, and other consumer products.
The Antitrust Division’s vigorous criminal enforcement efforts continued in 2012. This year, the Division obtained significant fines and prison sentences, and won jury trial victories relating to the liquid crystal display (LCD), municipal bonds, and coastal freight investigations. The Division also continued to achieve convictions in investigations of cartels involving auto parts, real estate foreclosure auctions, and tax liens.
Competition Advocacy and Policy
The Division has an important competition advocacy mission—it helps Federal and state government policymakers, courts, international enforcers, the antitrust bar, the business community, and the general public better appreciate the ways in which competition leads to healthy markets and protects consumers.
Over the past year, the Antitrust Division continued to broaden and deepen its international initiatives, including through international enforcement and policy cooperation, bilateral and multilateral activities, and technical assistance work.
Publications and Speeches
The Division publishes speeches, guidelines and policy statements, and other documents in order to provide clear guidance as to the legal and economic analytical framework under which it operates. This provides for more predictable antitrust enforcement and benefits business and consumers alike.
Recent speeches include Deputy Assistant Attorney General Renata B. Hesse’s February 8, 2013, IP, Antitrust, and Looking Back on the Last Four Years. Recent publications include the joint Department and United States Patent and Trademark Office Policy Statement on Remedies for Standards-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary F/RAND Commitments (January 8, 2013) and the joint Department and Federal Trade Commission comments In the Matter of Notice of Roundtable on Proposed Requirements for Recordation of Real-Party-in-Interest Information Throughout Application Pendency and Patent Term (February 1, 2013).
In addition, the Economic Analysis Group (EAG) of the Antitrust Division disseminates research to inform interested individuals and institutions of EAG’s research program and to stimulate comment on economic issues related to antitrust policy and regulation. A full listing of those documents is available from the Economic Analysis Group Papers page.