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New York, Listen to California: Antitrust Legislation Threatens Our Innovation Economy

California does not have a reputation for business-friendly legislation. This makes it all the more surprising that a California legislative report rejected a New York bill as too anti-business for the Golden State. That bill, the 21st Century Antitrust Act, championed by New York State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), would import European competition-policy principles and expand on them, ultimately making New York an outlier in U.S. antitrust enforcement.

In its current form, Gianaris’ bill would lead enforcers to punish the mere possession of monopoly power, rather than anti-competitive behavior that harms consumers. This marks a firm rejection of longstanding U.S. antitrust principles. Indeed, not punishing monopolization has been a longstanding concern of U.S. antitrust law. As Albany native and Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Learned Hand wrote in 1945: “The successful competitor, having been urged to compete, must not be turned upon when he wins.”