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US: Verizon urges Amex-like caution for SCOTUS’ App Store ruling

 |  August 21, 2018

According to an amicus brief submitted to the US Supreme Court, Verizon wants SCOTUS to explain how a recent ruling on transactional platforms affects 40 years of precedent on who can sue for damages under federal antitrust law.

In the brief Verizon writes to discuss how Amex impacts this case and to raise broader questions about the application of antitrust law to two-sided platforms.

In the case, “Amex presented the question whether to analyze two-sided platforms as one or two separate markets for the purposes of defining the relevant market.” Verizon’s brief argues, “The court’s recent decision in Amex suggests that petitioner’s App Store is a transaction platform. this means that there are purchasers on both sides of the platform. and as Amex makes clear, these purchasers—app developers and iPhone users—are best understood as purchasing the same item—transactions. in other words, the App Store appears to be a transaction platform with direct purchasers on both sides.”

The brief continues, “But that is really the beginning—not the end—of the analysis. as explained below, there are novel and important questions regarding how to apply Illinois Brick to two-sided platforms. Careful judicial guidance on those questions is needed for participants in these dynamic and rapidly changing markets.”

The brief concludes by requesting, “that the court take a measured approach (as it did in Amex) in articulating how antitrust law principles apply to two-sided markets and the implications of those principles for the Illinois Brick doctrine.”

Full Content: Supreme Court Brief

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