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US: Belgium, Japan call for limits on reach of US antitrust law

 |  October 19, 2014

As a federal appeals court considers the reach of US antitrust law across the globe in Motorola Mobility LLC v. AU Optronics Corp. et al., Belgium and Japan are reportedly seeking to limit that reach.

According to reports, the Belgian Competition Authority and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan have sought to file amicus briefs in the case warning against a too-liberal interpretation of the US’s Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act will interfere with the sovereignty of other nations’ antitrust regulation.

Reports say the Belgian Competition Authority argued that Belgium “has a substantial interest in ensuring that companies acting within Belgium and the EU comply with Belgian and EU competition laws, and ensuring that US antitrust laws … do not interfere with Belgian and EU enforcement efforts.”

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry similarly wrote that “in civil lawsuits based on injuries alleged to have been incurred as a result of foreign anticompetitive activities, plaintiffs often tend to insist on the remarkably enlarged scope of extraterritorial application.”

The Seventh Circuit is currently hearing an appeal by makers of LCD screens found to have conspired to manipulate LCD prices. But the defendants argue that any transaction that occurred wholly outside the US cannot be governed under US antitrust law.

The Seventh Circuit agreed and dismissed the case in March, but agreed to a rehearing of the case earlier this year.

The US Department of Justice offered input to the court in favor of the plaintiff, Motorola, which argues that because there is a link between the foreign conduct and the US market, US antitrust law can apply to that foreign conduct.

Full content: JD Supra

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