By on February 9th, 2015. This post currently has no responses.

3C’s: Why Motorola Mobility was a Good Decision for Global Cartel Enforcement

Why Motorola Mobility was a Good Decision for Global Cartel Enforcement

Back in September I wrote an article for Competition Policy International (CPI) on the FTAIA and the now vacated Motorola Mobility I decision.  That article can be read here.  I was honored to have that article quoted at length by Judge Posner in the subsequent decision:Motorola Mobility v. AU Optronics Corp, 2015 WL 137907 (7th Cir., decided Nov 26, 2015, amended January 12, 2015). In this decision, the Seventh Circuit held that purchases made by Motorola Mobility’s foreign subsidiaries of LCD panels, which the subsidiary then incorporated into products sold to the parent for sale in the U.S., did not give rise to a damage claim under the FTAIA. The Court found that the cartel victims were Motorola Mobility’s foreign subsidiaries. The key fact was Motorola Mobility’s claim that it purchased more than $5 billion worth of LCD panels from cartel members. The Court responded: “That’s a critical misstatement. All but 1 percent of the purchases were made by Motorola’s foreign subsidiaries.”

Since there is little doubt that the defendants did fix prices, the dismissal of 99% of Motorola’s claims seemed like a windfall for the cartelists, and a decision that could lead to under deterrence of global cartel enforcement. Motorola Mobility has expressed its intent to seek review in the United States Supreme Court. Because of the ambiguity of the FTAIA and the myriad fact patterns that can arise, policy consideration will play a large role in ultimately deciding the scope of the FTAIA. I thought Motorola Mobility was rightly decided and that the decision is actually pro-cartel enforcement. I explained why I thought that was so in a recent article CPI published as part of an “Motorola Mobility Redux” issue. My paper is titled: “Why the Motorola Mobility Decision Was Good For Cartel Enforcement and Deterrence” can be found here without charge.  (There are other excellent articles in the CPI issue but they require a subscription to view.). Below are excerpts of my thoughts on why I thought theMotorola Mobility decision was good for cartel enforcement.

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