Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Podcast
With the Federal Communications Commission's recent net neutrality regulations, the FCC has potentially entered into the Federal Trade Commission's regulatory arena in the area of antitrust regulation and consumer protection. Are the FCC's net neutrality rules an impermissible intrusion on the FTC's portfolio, or is the regulatory tension between the FTC and FCC merely an accident of overlapping jurisdiction provided by Congress in the respective statutes creating each agency?
SCOTUScast 4-29-15 featuring Daniel Lyons
- Hon. Joshua D. Wright, Commissioner, United States Federal Trade Commission
Daniel Lyons April 29, 2015
On April 21, 2015, the Supreme Court decided Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet. The question in this case is whether the Natural Gas Act preempts state-law antitrust claims which challenge industry practices that directly affect the wholesale natural gas market when those claims are asserted by litigants who purchased gas in retail transactions.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the Court held by a vote of 7-2 that although the Natural Gas Act occupies the field of matters relating to wholesale sales and transportation of natural gas in interstate commerce, the state law antitrust claims in this case may nevertheless proceed and are not preempted. Justice Breyer’s opinion for the Court was joined in full by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan, and by Justice Thomas except as to Part I-A. Justice Thomas filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, which Chief Justice Roberts joined. The judgment of the Ninth Circuit was affirmed.
To discuss the case, we have Daniel Lyons, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Boston College Law School. SCOTUScast 3-12-15 featuring Daniel Lyons
Daniel Lyons March 12, 2015
On January 12, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet. The question in this case is whether the Natural Gas Act, which gives the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission jurisdiction to regulate natural gas sales in interstate commerce for resale (wholesale sales), preempts state-law antitrust claims which challenge industry practices that directly affect the wholesale natural gas market when those claims are asserted by litigants who purchased gas in retail transactions.
To discuss the case, we have Daniel Lyons, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Boston College Law School. SCOTUScast 3-9-15 featuring Sasha Volokh
On February 25, 2015 the Supreme Court heard oral argument in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission. The question in this case is whether the state-action exemption from federal antitrust laws applies to a state dental regulatory board when the majority of board members are dental professionals who are elected by other market participants--and thus potential competitors of anyone seeking entry into the dental industry. The Federal Trade Commission denied immunity to the Board and the Fourth Circuit affirmed that ruling on appeal
By a vote of 6-3, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Fourth Circuit. Because a controlling number of the Board’s decisionmakers are active market participants in the occupation the Board regulates, the Court explained, the Board can invoke state-action antitrust immunity only if it was subject to active supervision by the State--and that supervision is lacking here.
Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court, which was joined by Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, which Justices Scalia and Thomas joined.
To discuss the case, we have Prof. Alexander “Sasha” Volokh, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the Emory University School of Law. Professor Volokh received his JD and PhD in economics from Harvard University. Patents and Innovation: Addressing Current Issues
Parity between the treatment of intellectual property rights (IPRs) and real property is a core principle of the DOJ/FTC 1995 Guidelines on licensing patents, which provide that the “[a]gencies apply the same general antitrust principles to conduct involving intellectual property that they apply to conduct involving any other form of tangible or intangible property.” Are these guidelines still being followed, or have the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice have taken actions that signal a departure, and perhaps a skepticism about patent licensing activity, particularly with respect to technological standards? Under either scenario, what are the implications for innovative U.S. companies at home and abroad, including in China where regulators are using antimonopoly powers to extract commercial concessions from U.S. technology leaders? How can patent rights and competition policiesbest co-exist while preserving incentives for firms to invest in R&D and disseminate patented technologies through licensing, standard setting, and other voluntary arrangements?
This panel was part of a conference titled "Patents and Innovation: Addressing Current Issues". The conference was held on Tuesday, December 2, 2014, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.
- Mr. Alden F. Abbott, Deputy Director, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies; John, Barbara, and Victoria Rumpel Senior Legal Fellow, The Heritage Foundation; former Director of Patent and Antitrust Strategy, BlackBerry
- Hon. Joshua D. Wright, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
- Moderator: Hon. Paul Michel, former Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
- Introduction: Mr. Dean A. Reuter, Vice President & Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society