House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Hearing
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Chairman Bachus, Ranking Member Cohen, Vice-Chairman Farenthold, and distinguished members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to appear before you today to discuss the work of the
We at the
The division devotes substantial attention to the goods and services that consumers use every day--the items we buy at the grocery store, media and entertainment, communications, consumer electronics, and new technologies--as well as other goods and services that have a significant impact on our nation's economy, including health care, agriculture, transportation, energy, and financial services.
We fulfill our competition mission in several distinct ways:
* detecting and prosecuting hardcore criminal antitrust violations--price fixing, bid rigging, market allocation, and other cartel behavior;
* halting or restructuring mergers that would raise prices and harm quality and innovation, and challenging unilateral (single-firm) conduct that would do the same;
* challenging illegal coordination/collusion by companies that result in serious harm to consumers; and
* cooperating with colleagues at the FTC, other federal agencies, and state and international authorities to promote free markets and consumer interests.
We appreciate that fiscal resources are limited. The division uses the scarce resources entrusted to us by
Let me start with our efforts to uncover and prosecute cartel behavior. Price fixers and bid riggers do serious and demonstrable harm to consumers and the economy. We target cartels that rob consumers of their hard-earned dollars. We pursue both corporate and individual wrongdoers, foreign and domestic. In Fiscal Year 2013 alone, the division filed 50 criminal cases. We charged 21 corporations and 34 individuals for crimes affecting tens of billions of dollars of commerce in U.S. markets. The division obtained criminal fines totaling over
Aggressively pursuing cartel participants benefits consumers in multiple ways. Not only is the illegal conduct stopped, but other wrongdoers are put on notice that they should halt their illegal conduct, and those contemplating collusion are deterred from committing the crime in the first instance.
For example, a few weeks ago, Attorney
These illegjnal fines, and 17 executives have been sentenced to serve time in U.S. prisons or have entered into plea agreements calling for significant prison sentences. The cases filed to date involve conduct affecting over
Consumers are well-served by the vigorous prosecution of criminal cartels because enforcement delivers to them the benefit of more competitive markets. Taxpayers are well-served too, as the division continually produces results that more than justify its annual appropriation. In the last ten fiscal years, the division has obtained criminal fines averaging nearly
For example, earlier this year a federal court held that executives at the highest levels of
This subcommittee recently held a hearing on competition in health care and the role antitrust enforcement plays in protecting competition in health care provider and insurance markets. The
Anticompetitive mergers also have the potential to harm consumers. In January of this year, the division filed suit to stop
We have a number of matters in active litigation as well:
* In August of this year, the division and several state attorneys general filed a lawsuit to block the proposed merger of
* Trial just recently ended in the division's challenge to
* The division continues to litigate against
* And finally, in
These actions reflect the division's consistent commitment to American consumers. The division's focus is to ensure that companies adhere to the antitrust laws so consumers benefit from lower prices and higher quality goods and services.
Advocacy, Interagency Collaboration, and Public Workshops
Effective enforcement is central to the division's mission, but we can achieve positive results for American consumers in other ways as well, often in close collaboration with other parts of the government. For example, the department and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office jointly issued a Policy Statement on Remedies for Standards-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary F/RAND Commitments, which concluded that in many circumstances it would be inappropriate for a patent holder to seek injunctive relief in a judicial proceeding or seek an exclusion order if it has promised to license the patent on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. The Policy Statement was referenced by the U.S. Trade Representative in overturning a recent ITC exclusion order involving smartphones. In 2012, the division and the FTC jointly conducted a workshop to study the growth of and competitive implications associated with patent assertion entity (PAE) activities. Workshops such as this provide a forum for open discussion on what are among the most challenging and cutting-edge competition issues of the day.
Consumers and businesses also benefit from the division's effective and increasing coordination with foreign competition authorities. The division regularly cooperates on civil matters with competition agencies in
Additionally, the division participates, along with more than 100 other antitrust agencies, in the International Competition Network (ICN). The ICN's most recent conference highlighted cartel enforcement, including work on an Anti-Cartel Enforcement Manual, a reference tool for antitrust agencies around the world. The division also is an active participant and leader in the global dialogue on procedural fairness and transparency issues through the
Reducing Burden on Business
While active antitrust enforcement makes our markets more competitive and saves consumers money, we appreciate that dealing with antitrust enforcers can be expensive and time consuming for the business community. The
Improving electronic discovery is one promising avenue for reducing the burdens our investigations can impose. For example, our website includes a model civil electronic production letter that shows how the division structures its demands for electronic productions. This transparency helps parties understand and plan for productions to the division, making the process more predictable and less burdensome.
Further, the division has been a pioneer among government agencies in experimenting with the use of predictive coding methods in large volume document productions. Predictive coding is a type of technology-assisted document review that more quickly and accurately identifies relevant documents in a large collection, saving the parties time and money, while providing the division the documents it needs to effectively conduct its investigations. Law firms have told us that use of predictive coding for document production to the division saved them and their clients millions of dollars--indeed, one firm issued a statement detailing how it saved over
The division is always looking for ways to make our investigations more efficient. With that goal in mind, we are also increasing our efforts to review our investigations post hoc. By understanding what we have done well and where we might have fallen short, we strive to create division-wide best practices, which should result in more efficient and cost-effective investigations and get parties through our processes more quickly and at lower cost.
Read this original document at: http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/113th/11152013/ATR%20Oversight%20HJC_FINAL%20CLEAN.pdf
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