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  • Second Circuit Rejects The “Nullity Doctrine” In Benchmarking Antitrust Case
     
    03/23/2021

    On March 17, 2021, the Second Circuit vacated a district court’s dismissal of a putative class antitrust action, holding that the pre-lawsuit dissolution of the named plaintiffs does not render the action a legal nullity and deprive the court of subject matter jurisdiction, provided the assignee of their claims had standing to prosecute the claims as the real party in interest when the suit was filed and joins or substitutes into the action within a reasonable time.  Fund Liquidation Holdings LLC v. Bank of Am. Corp., 2021 WL 1010596 (2d Cir. Mar. 17, 2021).
     
  • U.S. District Court Dismisses Auto Parts Maker’s Antitrust Claims Against Wireless Patent Pool
     
    09/22/2020

    On September 10, 2020, Chief Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas dismissed a major automotive components manufacturer’s antitrust lawsuit against a group of holders of standard-essential patents (“SEPs”) used in wireless telecommunications and their joint licensing agent Avanci LLC, rejecting claims that defendants’ patent licensing platform and practices violated, inter alia, Sections One and Two of the Sherman Act.  Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. v. Avanci, LLC, No. 3:19-cv-02933-M (N.D. Tx. Sept. 10, 2020).  In dismissing the case, the Court found that plaintiff had failed to adequately plead (1) antitrust standing, (2) an unlawful agreement to restrain trade under Section One, and (3) the anticompetitive conduct necessary to establish a violation of Section Two.  On the monopolization claim, this decision is consistent with the Ninth Circuit’s decision last month in FTC v. Qualcomm Inc., in which the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court and rejected similar Section Two challenges to Qualcomm’s licensing practices for its SEPs.  It is also consistent with the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division’s July 28, 2020 favorable business review letter addressing Avanci’s 5G patent licensing platform.