DOJ Business Review Letter Provides Insights into Appropriate Safeguards for Standard-Setting Organizations

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Last week, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a business review letter stating that it “has no present intention to take antitrust enforcement action against” proposed “procedures for development and promulgation of industry specifications” by the GSM Association (GSMA), a trade group comprising mobile network operators and related companies. The GSMA standard-setting process reviewed by the DOJ was developed after the DOJ raised “significant concerns” with the GSMA’s prior process. The DOJ’s letter provides an important reminder that standard-setting activity should be governed by appropriate safeguards and that members of standard-setting organizations (SSOs) should be vigilant in ensuring that their SSOs do not engage in anticompetitive behavior.