Corporations, Securities & Antitrust Practice Group Podcast
With a change in administration, businesses and consumers alike are searching the tea leaves for indications about how new policy setters will analyze market power, mergers and acquisitions. Will economic analysis play a greater or lesser role? Will the conventional distinctions between horizontal and vertical mergers persist? How will consumer interest be weighed? On the international front, is foreign countries’ use of competition laws to influence or judge American businesses on the rise and, if so, to what effect?
Intellectual Property Practice Group Podcast
- Hon. Joshua D. Wright, Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
On May 22, 2017, the Supreme Court handed down its unanimous opinion in the closely-watched TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC case. The patent venue statute provides that a domestic corporation may be sued for patent infringement anywhere the defendant “resides,” and the question before the Court was whether that rule incorporates the broader definition of corporate residence found in the general venue statute. The district court and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit both held that it did, thus giving patent owners more choices of where they could sue for infringement. However, the Supreme Court reversed, holding that a corporate defendant only “resides” in its state of incorporation.
While the Supreme Court rested its opinion solely on the statutory language and its own precedent interpreting it, many of the arguments raised in the amicus brief supporting both sides focused on the policy implications. In particular, the briefs argued that the Court should consider the effect its decision would have on certain patent assertion entities (PAEs) or “patent trolls”—non-practicing patent owners who litigate their patents, oftentimes in the Eastern District of Texas. Whether such arguments persuaded the Court is unclear, though it is clear that the Court’s narrow rule for where patent owners may sue will change the litigation landscape for practicing and non-practicing entities alike.
Litigation Practice Group Podcast
- Mr. William J. Brown, Jr., Managing Partner, Brown Wegner LLP
- Prof. J. Devlin Hartline, Assistant Director, Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP) and Adjunct Professor, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
Theodore H. Frank February 24, 2017
According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, over 97% of mergers and acquisitions result in "strike suits," litigation seeking to enjoin a merger that often quickly settles for attorneys' fees and supplemental disclosures to shareholders. In In Re: Walgreen Co. Stockholder Litigation, 832 F.3d 718, a recent case over such a settlement, Judge Richard Posner called the practice a "racket," and the Seventh Circuit rejected the lawsuit’s claims. Meanwhile, Delaware and New York courts have come out on opposite sides of the issue.
Ted Frank of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who successfully argued Walgreen and has multiple appeals on the subject pending in other jurisdictions, discussed developments in the area over the last year and answer questions.
Litigation Practice Group Podcast
- Theodore H. Frank, Senior Attorney & Director, Center for Class Action Fairness (CCAF), CEI
The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), passed in 1925, generally requires courts to look favorably upon all arbitration agreements. In 2011, the Supreme Court upheld an arbitration agreement in a contract for mobile phone services that contained a class action ban. The court ruled that a state law that prevented the class action ban from being enforced was “an obstacle to the accomplishment of the FAA’s objectives.”
However, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, which authorizes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to study arbitration agreements in consumer contracts and limit or prohibit them if doing so would be in the public interest and for the protection of consumers. In May 2016, the CFPB issued a proposed rule that would ban arbitration agreements that acted to prevent class action lawsuits and would further establish certain reporting requirements for other arbitrations that are filed between consumers and providers.
Our experts discussed this proposed rule, including the history that led us to this point and the potential impact it will have if it is finalized.
Litigation Practice Group Teleforum
- Prof. Jason Johnston, Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
- Thaddeus King, Officer, Consumer Banking,The Pew Charitable Trusts
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 instructs the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to study “the use of agreements providing for arbitration of any future dispute . . . in connection with the offering or providing of consumer financial products or services,” and to provide a report to Congress on the same topic. This past March, the CFPB issued its study, pursuant to the statutory requirement. Is the “arbitration study” an anti-arbitration study? Our experts discussed the report and its implications.
- Mr. Deepak Gupta, Founding Principal, Gupta Wessler PLLC
- Mr. Andrew J. Pincus, Partner, Mayer Brown LLP