Law360, New York (June 17, 2011, 3:12 PM EDT) -- When will product improvements by a dominant firm which "break" compatibility with a rival company's product or disadvantage a rival create antitrust liability? The short answer is, "Almost never."
Ever since the 1970s, antitrust claims have been asserted by disadvantaged firms, particularly those making complementary products, which claim to have been injured by design changes or product alterations by a more dominant firm. The claim is often that the product redesign has caused the disadvantaged firm's complementary product to become incompatible with the dominant company's product.
In a number of cases arising particularly in the Ninth Circuit, plaintiffs have challenged such...
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