Recent tweets by @realDonaldTrump about 5G and competition caused public head-scratching by political and tech commentators. However, observers of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division under the leadership of Makan Delrahim immediately recognized those tweets to be a reflection of the division’s pro-innovation, pro-competitive stance.
Specifically, Delrahim has been addressing the hold-out problem of implementers refusing to adopt the newest standard, like 5G, unless the innovators that developed the standard technology meet their demands. At the same time, the Federal Trade Commission has seemingly continued to represent the anti-patent, anti-competitive position of Chinese companies (e.g., Huawei) and American implementers (e.g., Apple) that rely on American innovations but don’t want to pay for the innovators’ work.
Clause 8 sat down with Delrahim to discuss the relationship between the DOJ and the FTC,
whether they could end up on different sides of a court case, the positive evolution of FTC
chairman Joe Simons with regard to the hold-out issue, and the roots of Delrahim‘s interest in the intersection of patents and antitrust law.
Some of the other topics addressed during this podcast episode include:
• Delrahim’s Jewish-American story of immigrating to Los Angeles during the Iranian Revolution.
• Why Delrahim and USPTO director Andrei Iancu’s similar stories explain their shared
views on patent policy.
• Delrahim’s dad being a plaintiff in an antitrust case.
• What the press got wrong and right about Delrahim during the confirmation process.
• (Lack of) role of the White House (and Congress) in antitrust enforcement decisions.
• PR campaigns (like those during the AT&T, Time Warner merger) to sway judges and
jurors during litigation.
• How private parties can get the DOJ to side with them in a private litigation.
• Consent decrees and other antitrust issues being addressed by the Antitrust Division.
• What Big Tech companies can do to avoid “behaving badly.”
• Advice to young lawyers.
Throughout the interview, Delrahim demonstrated—above all else—his commitment to properly enforcing the laws and improving the Antitrust Division as an institution.
Eli Mazour is an associate at Harrity & Harrity and the host of the Clause 8 podcast. Mazour specializes in efficiently building high-quality patent portfolios for large technology companies. He is sought out by clients and other patent attorneys for his expertise in navigating the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and addressing patent subject matter eligibility issues.