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US: 7th circuit again limits reach of US antitrust law in Motorola suit

 |  November 26, 2014

Motorola Mobility was dealt a blow Wednesday when am appeals court rejected the company’s attempts to invoke US antitrust law against several foreign companies, say reports.

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that because its Asian subsidiaries were the “immediate victims” of a price-fixing cartel that manipulated the costs of LCD screens. Motorola, therefore, could not invoke US law against the foreign suppliers accused of that price-fixing.

”Motorola’s foreign subsidiaries were injured in foreign commerce – in dealings with other foreign companies,” Circuit Judge Richard Posner wrote. “To give Motorola rights to take the place of its foreign companies and sue on their behalf under US antitrust law would be an unjustified interference with the right of foreign nations to regulate their own economies.”

The case has been watched closely by experts who say the ruling will set an important precedent for the reach of US antitrust law in international competition matters. In this case, Motorola’s subsidiaries throughout Asia were said to be harmed by price-fixing allegedly conducted by companies including AU Optronics, Samsung electronics, Samsung SDI, and units of Panasonic.

Critics of Motorola’s legal plight argued that Motorola was trying to obtain US antitrust protection while looking to enjoy foreign tax breaks as a foreign company. Motorola has denied those allegations.

The appellate court previously ruled against Motorola, but agreed to rehear the case at the White House’s request.

Full content: Reuters

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