| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 1994
ANTITRUST CHIEF PLEDGES TO PROTECT COMPETITION IN TECHNOLOGY
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Assistant Attorney General Anne K. Bingaman in charge of the Antitrust Division today pledged that the Division will use its available law enforcement tools to protect competition that fosters new and improved technologies. Bingaman made the statement at a symposium commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division.
Bingaman said that innovation is vital to the nation as it competes in a global economy, and to individual consumers- because it creates better quality and lower priced products. Enforcing the antitrust laws is critical to maintenance of the competitive environment that maximizes innovation, she added.
As a result, the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division is taking steps to ensure that antitrust enforcement is focused on the protection of competition in the innovation process.
Bingaman stressed that when reviewing proposed mergers, the Antitrust Division includes innovation as a dimension of competition to examine. Enforcement in the 1990's will increasingly focus on the protection of competition in technology and the Antitrust Division is ready and able to deal with this significant new factor, she added. An example of this type of enforcement is the Division's November 16, 1993, complaint charging that ZF Friedrichshafen's acquisition of the Allison Division of GM lessened competition in an innovation market for heavy-duty truck transmissions.
Bingaman also noted that antitrust policies will continue to play an important role in telecommunications, a high-tech industry subject to rapid change. The Division's role in the next telecommunications revolution is clear--to promote innovation by eliminating both private and governmental restrictions on competition, she added.
Bingaman also announced that she has established a task force to review and reformulate the Division's policies on intellectual property and antitrust that will be chaired by Economics Deputy Richard Gilbert. The task force will consult with leading academics, practitioners, and industry experts. Bingaman added that it is important to reevaluate intellectual property laws to provide the appropriate level of protection for computer software and related inventions in high technology industries.
In a move that takes advantage of technology, Bingaman announced that the Division has established a computer mail box system to receive comments from all over the world about possible antitrust violations. In an age where everyone uses a personal computer, it is essential for the Division to be accessible to the world electronically, she added. The Antitrust Division's Internet mail box identification number is: ANTITRUST@JUSTICE.USDOJ.GOV
Bingaman noted that the Division's break-up of AT&T in 1984 spurred an unprecedented era of innovation in telecommunications. In this spirit, the Division's antitrust enforcement policy is intended to foster new and improved technologies.
The symposium, held at the Andrew W. Mellon auditorium, included remarks by Attorney General Janet Reno; Congressman Jack Brooks; federal Trade Commission Chairman Janet Steiger; former Antitrust Assistant Attorneys General William F. Baxter, James F. Rill and John Shenefield; and other antitrust experts.