06.01.2009 New Antitrust Division Head Breathes New Life Into Section 2 Antitrust Enforcement
06. 2009On May 11, Christine Varney, the new head of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, demonstrated quite clearly that President Obama’s call for “change” in Washington will extend to antitrust policy. Specifically, Assistant Attorney General Varney announced that, effective immediately, she was modifying the Antitrust Division’s approach to the enforcement of Section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act (“Section 2”), which prohibits monopolization, by withdrawing the guidelines the Antitrust Division had issued on the subject less than a year ago. Those guidelines, issued by the Antitrust Division during the Bush administration in a report entitled “Competition and Monopoly: Single-Firm Conduct Under Section 2 of the Sherman Act” (“Section 2 Report”), made clear that the Antitrust Division’s enforcement of Section 2 would be limited to extremely narrow circumstances. With the withdrawal of the report, the Antitrust Division is now expected to be much more aggressive in its enforcement of Section 2 conduct.
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