Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The best part of antitrust

There are lots of things to like about antitrust - but for some reason antitrust cases seem to have lots of interesting factoids in them. I guess this is because in order to be the subject of an antitrust action, a company is probably going to be pretty big, and therefore, perhaps, more interesting (since they are more likely to play a role in my consumerish life). Things you can learn from antitrust cases:

Why do tickets for trips that end at a hub cost more? I've always wondered why it is that it costs me so much to fly from Chicago to Dallas on American (much more than I would imagine, considering they are hubs). To learn why, see United States v AMR, 335 F3d 1109 (10th Cir 2003).

How do ASCAP licenses work? This is another thing I've always wondered about - I know that universities usually have blanket licenses, but I never really understood how the whole thing works. Now I do thanks to Broadcast Music v Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc, 444 US 1 (1979).

What is High Fructose Corn Syrup? And why not just use sugar? This opinion, courtesy of Judge Posner, lays it all out: In Re High Fructose Corn Syrup Antitrust Litigation [good name, eh?], 295 F3d 651 (7th Cir 2002).

My personal favorite, how the hell does a Visa card work? What happens when the grocery store clerk swips my card? What's Visa's take? How is American Express different from Visa? To see it all explained, check out United States v Visa USA, Inc, 344 F3d 229 (2d Cir 2003).

What's Toys-R-Us's profit margin? How different is it from fancy stores like FAO Schwartz? What's their profit margin compared to Costco? Answers -- see Toys "R" Us Inc v FTC, 221 F3d 928 (7th Cir 2000) (courtesy of our very own Judge Wood).

No one can say law school isn't practical.

PS If you don't have access to Lexis, let me know and I'll send you an aswer to any of the above questions. (email is up and to the right!)

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