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Regulators in Brazil heed the call for restraint on the Ball-Rexam Merger; Will the European Commission and the FTC follow suit? PDF Print E-mail

Today, the International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE) released a research paper entitled, The Ball-Rexam Merger: The Case for a Competitive Can Market, co-authored by ICLE Executive Director Geoffrey A. Manne and Associate Director R. Ben Sperry.

Media sources this morning predicted that the EU would approve the deal subject to fine-tuning of the offered concessions. And yesterday the Brazilian competition commission, CADE, unanimously approved the merger, subject to very limited divestiture and contractual conditions, according to regulatory newswire MLex.

Last week, ICLE scholars Geoffrey Manne, Donald J. Boudreaux, and Paul H. Rubin sent a letter to the FTC urging the Commission to consider the dynamics of the marketplace in its review, and summarizing why the proposed merger was unlikely to raise anticompetitive concerns. This recommendation was based on an extensive, in-depth research project undertaken by ICLE to explore the beverage packaging industry in detail, applying law and economics methodologies to assess the competitive effects of the proposed merger.

The resulting paper highlights the seven specific market dynamics that lead us to the conclusion that the proposed merger is unlikely to have anticompetitive effects, and that any competitive concerns that do arise can be readily addressed by a few targeted divestitures.

Read our complete assessment of the merger’s effect here.

Selected merger analysis by ICLE scholars:

Geoffrey Manne on the Federal Circuit’s Error in ClearCorrect PDF Print E-mail

On December 9, 2015, Geoffrey Manne, Executive Director of the International Center for Law & Economics, was a panelist at the Cato Institute’s Policy Forum, “The ITC and Digital Trade: The ClearCorrect Decision” He was joined by Sapna Kumar, Associate Professor, University of Houston Law Center and Shara Aranoff, Of Counsel, Covington and Burling LLP, and former Chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”).

The forum was focused on a recent Federal Circuit decision, ClearCorrect v. ITC, in which a divided three judge panel overturned a 5-1 majority decision of the ITC holding that the Tariff Act granted it the power to prevent the importation of digital articles that infringe a valid U.S. patent. Key to the Federal Circuit’s decision was a hyper-textualist parsing of the term “article” as understood in 1929–a move that stands in stark contrast to the Federal Circuit’s recent en banc decision in Suprema, which was crucially based on a wider reading of the context of the Tariff Act in order to understand the the full meaning of the phrase “articles … that infringe” as contained therein.

Critics of the ITC’s interpretation in this matter contend that such jurisdiction would somehow grant the ITC the power to regulate the Internet. However, far from being an expansive power grab, the ITC’s decision was in fact well reasoned and completely consistent with the Tariff Act and Congressional intent. Nonetheless, this remains an important case because the cost of the Federal Circuit’s error could be very high given the importance of IP to the national economy.

Mr. Manne's slides from the event are available here.

The video (streaming below) can be downloaded here.

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