Managing Antitrust Compliance through the Continuing Surge in Global Enforcement

Competition Policy and Antitrust

Article Snapshot


Abbott B. Lipsky


Antitrust Law Journal, Vol. 75, No. 3, ABA, 2009; conference paper from the Searle Symposium, “The End of the Microsoft Antitrust Case?”, Nov. 15-16, 2007


This article looks at the how firms manage antitrust compliance problems on a global scale.

Policy Relevance

Managing the task of warding off antitrust problems is a difficult business problem, as laws vary around the world.

Main Points

  • Competition law regulators are becoming more active in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Cases involving multinational enterprises like Microsoft have global ramifications.
    • New trade agreements and organizations and new laws in places like China and Egypt mean that most of the world’s economically active nations now have antitrust laws.
    • Approaches to enforcement vary, from safe harbors to criminal sanctions.

  • Managing antitrust concerns has become a significant management problem for businesses.

  • Firms must first become aware of competition law compliance issues.
    • Prevention is cheaper than dealing with a lawsuit once it arises, but prevention is hard because the risk is hard to assess and the law is not always clear.
    • In the EU, advice on antitrust from lawyers can be used as evidence.
    • An investigation in one place can quickly lead to others around the world.
    • Businesses should monitor “leading edge” trends.

  • Firms must deploy resources to ensure that they comply with competition rules.
    • Teams can combine counsel from different jurisdictions, but local counsel from places where laws are new might not have much experience.

  • Compliance is difficult because the rules are very complex, and vary from place to place.
    • Cultural factors as well as legal factors are important.

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