Evading Section Two, Two Ways: The Commission’s Cases Against McCormick and Intel
Yesterday, in my contribution to the Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog’s Section 5 symposium, I discussed the FTC’s use of Section 5 to evade the tough standards facing plaintiffs bringing Section 2 claims and how that evasion was likely to cost consumers by stripping out the error-cost protections embedded in modern monopolization law. I also argued that the Commission’s various justifications for bringing the case under Section 5 were both unpersuasive and unprincipled. Some of the justifications are to do with the general trend towards favoring Section 5 as a stand alone authority, others rely on the institutional expertise of the Commission relative to judges in federal district court, and still others on the nature of competition in the microprocessor market, e.g. Commissioner Rosch’s claim that the difficulty in distinguishing harm to competitors from harm to competition in this setting supports a Section 5 case.