Division Update Spring 2013

Division Update Spring 2013

Division Update Spring 2013
Photo of Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust William J. Baer

William J. Baer

Assistant Attorney General
Antitrust Division

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.

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Civil Program

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.

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Criminal Program

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.

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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.

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International Program

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.

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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.

Highlights

Division Challenges Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Acquisition of Grupo Modelo, Merger Would Result in Consumers Paying More for Beer, Less Innovation


Municipal Bonds Investigation Yields 20 Pleas or Convictions, Including Jury Convictions Against Executives from UBS AG and General Electric Co.; LIBOR Investigation Results in RBS Paying More Than $612 Million in Criminal Fines, Regulatory Penalties, and Disgorgement


AU Optronics Pays $500 Million Criminal Fine for Role in LCD Price-Fixing Conspiracy; Company Executive Convicted at Retrial


Automobile Parts Investigation Yields Charges Against Nine Companies and 12 Executives for Price-Fixing and Bid Rigging, Criminal Fines Total More Than $809 Million to Date—Including a $470 Million Fine for a Single Company


Division Files Suit to Block Bazaarvoice Inc.’s Acquisition of PowerReviews Inc.


Division’s Efforts to Combat Real Estate Foreclosure Auction Fraud Yields 51 Guilty Pleas to Date—29 in Northern California, 10 in Eastern California, 10 in Southern Alabama, and 2 in North Carolina


Division Sues and Reaches Settlements with Five of the Largest Book Publishers for Conspiring to Raise E-Book Prices to Consumers—Continues to Litigate Against Apple Inc. to Restore Competition


Division Required Changes to Verizon-Cable Company Transactions to Protect Consumers, Allowed Procompetitive Spectrum Acquisitions to Go Forward


Division Sues eBay Inc. Over Agreement Not to Hire Intuit Inc. Employees


More highlights

Contacts

See our Contact Information page to contact certain offices or individuals in the Division.