Justia Antitrust & Trade Regulation Opinion Summaries

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Plaintiffs are oil-field manufacturing and services companies (collectively, “Chandler”) who brought Walker Process fraud and sham patent litigation claims against defendants Phoenix Services, LLC, and its CEO, Mark Fisher (collectively, “Phoenix”). The patent at issue here is U.S. Patent No. 8,171,993 (the “’993 Patent”), which was issued to Mark Hefley, founder of Heat On-The-Fly, LLC (“HOTF”). The district court dismissed some of the claims for lack of standing and others as time-barred. The case was then appealed to the Federal Circuit, but the Federal Circuit found the case had no live patent issues and so transferred the case to the Fifth Circuit.Both parties moved for summary judgment, to support its claims, Chandler alleged Phoenix was liable as HOTF’s parent company for two anticompetitive acts involving the ’993 Patent. Chandler and Phoenix cross-moved for summary judgment. The Fifth Circuit accepted the case and affirmed the district court’s judgment. The court explained that it cannot find the Federal Circuit’s decision implausible. Next, turning to the merits, the court found that the district court correctly found a lack of substantial evidence that the cease-and-desist letter materially caused Supertherm’s lost profits. Finally, because the district court correctly ruled that tolling does not apply, Chandler’s claims are time-barred. View "Chandler v. Phoenix Services" on Justia Law

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) initiated an enforcement action against several entities and individuals. The district court granted the unopposed motion and appointed Appellee as receiver, authorizing him to “take custody, control, and possession of all Receivership Entity records, documents, and materials” and to “take any other action as necessary and appropriate for the preservation of the Receivership Entities’ property interests.” Defendants didn’t appeal the order appointing Appellee as receiver. The district court granted the motion. Defendants appealed, contending that they weren’t afforded an adequate opportunity to be heard before the receivership estate’s expansion. Appellee has moved to dismiss Defendants’ appeal for lack of jurisdiction.The Eleventh Circuit dismissed the appeal. The court found that neither Section 1292(a)(2) nor Section 1292(a)(1) grants the court jurisdiction to consider the appeal because the expansion order was neither an order appointing a receiver nor an order granting (or modifying) an injunction. The court explained that to the extent that the appointment of the receiver or the expansion of his duties could be viewed as an injunction at all, the district court possessed freestanding authority to enter it. Given that the district court had both statutory and residual equitable authority to establish and expand the receivership, it had no cause to invoke the All Writs Act to aid its jurisdiction. View "Securities & Exchange Commission v. L.M.E. 2017 Family Trust, et al." on Justia Law

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CAE Integrated L.L.C. and Capital Asset Exchange and Trading, L.L.C. (collectively CAE) sued its former employee and his current employer, Moov, for misappropriation of trade secrets and then moved for a preliminary injunction. The district court denied the preliminary injunction and CAE appealed.   The Fifth Circuit affirmed the denial finding that CAE failed to establish a likelihood of success on the merits of its claims. The court considered that trade secret information derives independent economic value from being not generally known or readily ascertainable through proper means. What CAE refers to as the “transactional documents” are files from Google Drive with purchase orders, invoices, customer equipment needs, and pricing history. The former employee has not had access to his MacBook since 2016 and he testified that Google Drive contained none of the transactional documents when he started at Moov. The district court found the employee’s testimony credible and the forensic analysis confirmed that before the employee began at Moov, he deleted any remaining transactional documents from his Google Drive. Therefore, the district court did not clearly err in finding that neither the employee nor Moov misappropriated trade secrets. Further, even if CAE had established that the employee or Moov misappropriated trade secrets, it failed to show the use or potential use of trade secrets. View "CAE Integrated v. Moov Technologies" on Justia Law

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In this appeal from an antidumping investigation of biodiesel from Argentina the Federal Circuit affirmed the judgment of the United States Court of International Trade, holding that two challenged calculations Commerce used to determine antidumping duties were supported by substantial evidence.The two calculations at issue were export price and constructed value of the subject biodiesel, a renewable fuels subject to traceable tax credits. In calculating export price, Commerce subtracted the value of the traceable credits, calling them price adjustments under 19 C.F.R. 351.401(c). Calculating constructed normal value of the biodiesel, Commerce used an international market price for soybeans, the price of which is subsidized in Argentina. Appellant argued that correcting for the soybean subsidy in the export price constituted an improper double remedy. The Federal Circuit affirmed, holding (1) substantial evidence supported the value Commerce used for the traceable "price adjustment" credits; and (2) substantial evidence supported the constructed value calculation, and the calculation did not result in a double remedy. View "Vicentin S.A.I.C. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing this complaint alleging that certain patents related to the medicine Humira and the settlement of litigation about them violated sections one and two of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. 1 & 2, holding that dismissal was proper.At the end of 2016, the basic U.S. patient for Humira, a monoclonal antibody, expired. AbbVie, Humira's owner, obtained 132 additional patents related to the medicine for issues such as manufacturing or administering the drug, the last of which expires in 2034. Plaintiffs, welfare-benefit plans that paid for Humira on behalf of covered beneficiaries, brought this complaint alleging that AbbVie violated the Sherman Act by obtaining the 132 patents. The district court dismissed the complaint. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs failed to state a claim under the Sherman Act. View "Mayor & City Council of Baltimore v. AbbVie Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Sanofi-Aventis U.S., LLC (“Sanofi”) sued Defendants Mylan, Inc. and Mylan Specialty, LP (collectively “Mylan”) under Section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Sanofi, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, alleged Mylan, the distributor of EpiPen, monopolized the epinephrine auto-injector market effectively and illegally foreclosing Auvi-Q, Sanofi’s innovative epinephrine auto-injector, from the market. The parties cross-moved for summary judgment. The district court, holding no triable issue of exclusionary conduct, granted Mylan’s motion for summary judgment. After careful consideration, the Tenth Circuit agreed and affirmed the district court. View "Sanofi-Aventis U.S. v. Mylan, et al." on Justia Law

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to Defendants on all claims asserted against them, including misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of an implied contractual obligation to assign patent rights but vacated the judgment awarding attorneys' fees, holding that a reduction in fees was warranted.REXA, Inc. sued Mark Chester and MEA, Inc. for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of an implied contractual obligation to assign patent rights, alleging that Chester and MEA incorporated and disclosed confidential designs. The district court granted summary judgment to Defendants. The Seventh Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part, holding that the district court (1) properly granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants; but (2) abused its discretion in awarding Chester and MEA approximately $2.357 million in attorneys' fees, which they requested as a sanction for REXA's litigation conduct, where the court did not make specific findings about each of REXA's objections to the fee petition. View "REXA, Inc. v. Chester" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied mandamus relief in this challenge to a district court order reinstating a claim against a cigarette manufacturer under the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act (NDTPA), holding that mandamus relief was not warranted.Plaintiffs brought filed suit against Petitioner, a cigarette manufacturer, alleging civil conspiracy and a violation of the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act (NDTPA). The district court granted Petitioner's motion to dismiss, concluding that Plaintiffs were not consumer fraud victims under Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.600(1) because they never used Petitioner's products. The district court granted the motion to dismiss, concluding that Plaintiffs were not consumer fraud victims under the statute. The district court then granted reconsideration, concluding that the earlier dismissal order was erroneous. Petitioner then brought this petition, arguing that Plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the deceptive trade practices claim against Petitioner because they never used Petitioner's products. The Supreme Court denied relief, holding that the allegations in the complaint were sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. View "R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. District Court" on Justia Law

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed the judgment of the Court of International Trade determining that the United States Customs and Border Protection timely liquidated or reliquidated ten out of eleven entries of wooden bedroom furniture from China and that Customs' mislabeling of the notice of reliquidation for the remaining entry was harmless, holding that any error was harmless.Appellants, importers of wooden bedroom furniture from China, challenged the procedure by which Customs liquidated and/or reliquidated certain of its entires of wooden bedroom furniture. The Court of International Trade granted summary judgment in favor of the government. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, holding that the Court of International Trade (1) did not err in determining that there was no genuine dispute of material fact as to the date of notice and denying certain discovery; and (2) properly determined that Customs' mislabeling of a notice as "liquidation" as opposed to "reliquidation" was harmless error. View "Aspects Furniture International, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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Acting under the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA) the Department of Commerce has maintained a so-called Entity List to restrict designated foreign parties from receiving United States exports.   Plaintiff, Changji Esquel Textile Co, operates a spinning mill in Xinjiang. The United States has determined that China abuses the human rights of Uyghurs and other religious or ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, including imprisonment and forced labor. Changji and its parent company filed a lawsuit alleging that the Department, in adding Changji to the Entity List, violated ECRA and its implementing regulations, the APA, and the Due Process Clause. They moved for a preliminary injunction on the theory that the alleged ECRA and regulatory violations were ultra vires. The district court denied the motion on the ground that Plaintiffs are not likely to succeed on this claim.   The DC Circuit affirmed. The court explained that to prevail on an ultra vires claim, Plaintiff must establish three things: “(i) the statutory preclusion of review is implied rather than express; (ii) there is no alternative procedure for review of the statutory claim; and (iii) the agency plainly acts in excess of its delegated powers and contrary to a specific prohibition in the statute that is clear and mandatory.   The court explained that the canons invoked by Plaintiffs can resolve statutory ambiguity in close cases, but they do not allow the court to discern any clear and mandatory prohibition on adding entities to the List for human-rights abuses, particularly given the breadth of section 4813(a)(16) and the deference owed to the Executive Branch in matters of foreign affairs. View "Changji Esquel Textile Co. Ltd. v. Gina Raimondo" on Justia Law