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How do You Solve a Problem like Algorithmic Price Fixing?

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Businesses are increasingly relying on algorithms to set prices, including algorithmic models that can monitor and match competitors’ prices without any human involvement. If the algorithms set those prices at a supracompetitive level, antitrust law should provide a remedy. But several obstacles in the law suggest it may not. In an article for Bloomberg BNA’s Antitrust and Trade Regulation Report, Robins Kaplan LLP partner Kellie Lerner and associate Dave Rochelson explain that it may be possible to assert a Sherman Act Section 1 claim for algorithmic price fixing by distinguishing existing case law, provided the court is willing to acknowledge how dramatically algorithms have changed our world. This article posits that existing U.S. antitrust laws remain the right framework for addressing the anticompetitive use of algorithms and offers some practical guidance that may help plaintiffs plead cognizable claims in the future.