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High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

European Competition Watchdog Says “Shazam!” and Opens In-Depth Investigation Into Apple-Shazam Deal Over Consumer Data Concerns

In December 2017, Apple announced its intention to purchase UK-based app maker Shazam for $400 million. Shazam is best known for developing one of the most popular music recognition apps, which uses a mobile device’s built-in microphone to listen to and identify songs for the user. Because of Shazam’s relatively low revenue numbers, the proposed acquisition did not contain an “EU dimension” based on certain “turnover” (read: revenue) thresholds set by the EU Merger Regulation, and therefore Apple was not required to notify the European Commission of the deal. However, Apple did report the transaction for regulatory clearance in Austria, where the deal met the national notification thresholds. Subsequently, Austria, joined by several other European countries, requested that the European Commission, the EU’s competition watchdog, examine the acquisition. Under Article 22(1) of the EU Merger Regulation, Member States may ask the Commission to examine a merger that does not have an EU dimension but that may otherwise significantly affect competition in the requesting Member State.

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  • 20
  • February
  • 2018

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Tech Issues Dominate at Confirmation Hearing for Four FTC Nominees

At a February 14, 2018, confirmation hearing on President Trump’s nominees to the Federal Trade Commission before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Senators asked the nominees how, if confirmed, they would regulate technology companies, address data security issues exposed by the Equifax breach, and address net neutrality. While making few firm commitments other than to study the issues, the nominees agreed that the FTC should use its authority and resources to protect consumers from abuses by large firms, especially in light of evolving concerns over data privacy and aggregation.

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  • 12
  • February
  • 2018

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Update: District Court Sets Aside $300,000 Apple Sanction

Last week, we wrote that Apple found itself in hot water when a federal magistrate imposed a $300,000 sanction against the company for failing to meet a Rule 45 (third-party subpoena) document production deadline in the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) case against Qualcomm Inc. In the sanction order, the magistrate cited a similar sanction against Samsung for untimely document production to Apple in an unrelated suit, Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., No. 11-CV-01846 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 23, 2012) [ECF No. 880].

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  • 09
  • February
  • 2018

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Apple Hit with $300,000 Sanction for Missing Document Production Deadline

The Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) case against Qualcomm Inc. — alleging Qualcomm unlawfully maintained a monopoly in baseband processors — is in the midst of a contentious discovery period that has each side scrambling to subpoena documents from various third parties. Apple Inc. is one such third party and is now in hot water for missing a document production deadline, presumably by 12 days. In response, the Northern District of California magistrate judge sent a message to other third parties by sanctioning Apple to the tune of $300,000 ($25,000 per day). Tech companies may view the sanctions as a blessing or a curse, depending on what end of a subpoena they find themselves on.

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Contributors

Jason A. Levine

Jason A. Levine Partner

Jennifer C. Chen

Jennifer C. Chen Partner

Devika Kornbacher

Devika Kornbacher Partner

William R. Vigdor

William R. Vigdor Partner

Marc A. Fuller

Marc A. Fuller Counsel

Thomas W. Bohnett

Thomas W. Bohnett Associate

Megan Coker

Megan Coker Associate

Caroline Colpoys

Caroline Colpoys Associate

Trey Hebert

Trey Hebert Associate

Keeney, Jeremy C.

Jeremy C. Keeney Associate

Howard Lithaw Lim Associate

Kimberly R. McCoy

Kimberly R. McCoy Senior Associate

Elizabeth Krabill McIntyre

Elizabeth Krabill McIntyre Senior Associate

David C. Smith

David C. Smith Senior Associate

Janice Ta

Janice Ta Senior Associate

Margaret D. Terwey

Margaret Dunlay Terwey Associate

Ryan B. Will

Ryan Will Associate

Siho (Scott) Yoo

Siho (Scott) Yoo Senior Associate