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District Court Follows Motorola Mobility to Apply FTAIA and Indirect Purchaser Doctrine to Dismiss U.S. Parent’s Price-Fixing Claims Based on Its Foreign Subsidiary’s Purchases

David M. Goldstein et al., Orrick, 2016

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The Seventh Circuit’s decision in Motorola Mobility v. AU Optronics[1]–which blocked a U.S. parent’s Sherman Act claim based on its foreign subsidiary’s purchases of a price-fixed product–continues to reverberate throughout federal district courts. A district court in the Sixth Circuit recently followed Motorola Mobility to dismiss a U.S. company’s price-fixing claims based on its foreign subsidiary’s purchases of allegedly price-fixed components that were incorporated abroad into finished goods that the subsidiary then shipped to the United States. In re Refrigerant Compressors Antitrust Litigation, No. 2:09-md-02042, 2016 WL 6138600 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 21, 2016). The district court’s decision demonstrates that, post-Motorola Mobility, defendants have strong arguments in some circuits under the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (“FTAIA”)[2] and Illinois Brick[3] to defeat a U.S. parent’s price-fixing claims based on purchases by its overseas subsidiary, especially where that subsidiary is not wholly-owned.

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