Criminal Antitrust Update - June 2012


In This Issue:


Credit Card Fees: Since it suffered an adverse ruling from the European Commission in 2007, MasterCard has been trying to overturn a ruling that prohibited the company from imposing interchange fees. Banks that issue MasterCard credit cards had been charging merchants a fee to process transactions. The General Court of the European Union agreed with the EC that the interchange fees were excessive and interfered with competition, rejecting MasterCard’s argument that the fees were necessary for its payment system to function. MasterCard has strongly suggested it will appeal the ruling; primary competitor Visa publicly distanced itself from the ruling though it has been involved in similar litigation in Europe, claiming that it has strived to negotiate and resolve disputes rather than contest them in court....


Trade associations present a series of relatively unique antitrust compliance issues. U.S. regulatory authorities have historically devoted some enforcement efforts to trade associations with a fairly high degree of success. Trade associations have been sanctioned for adopting codes of conduct that could influence member bidding behavior; the American Bar Association’s accreditation practices led to a consent degree and a substantial fine when violations of the decree occurred; and standard-setting activity often draws attention from enforcement authorities. While the Division often reviews issues related to trade associations, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been particularly active in this area.

Please see full update below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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