7th Circ. FTAIA Ruling Curtails US Antitrust Reach

April 1, 2014

Gregory Asciolla explains the recent Seventh Circuit ruling based on the FTAIA and its effect on companies seeking damages abroad

In an antitrust case against several LCD manufacturers, Motorola Mobile pursued damages for its foreign subsidiaries' purchases of allegedly price-fixed LCD panels used for Motorola's mobile devices. The Seventh Circuit ruled that the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (FTAIA) impeded Motorola from pursuing damages from the defendants.

Cases involving price-fixed components incorporated into final products are "inherently fact-intensive," according to Labaton Sucharow LLP antitrust co-chairman Gregory Asciolla, but the Seventh Circuit's ruling nonetheless could create fallout in similar cases.

Still, Asciolla said, even in those situations, plaintiffs need not despair.

"Private enforcement of foreign competition laws have grown considerably over the last 25 years, which may provide effective opportunities for such companies to seek recourse abroad," Asciolla said.