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David Balto
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David Balto is an antitrust attorney in Washington, D.C. Mr. Balto has over 20 years of experience as an antitrust attorney in the private sector, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission. At the Federal Trade Commission Mr. Balto was the policy director of the Bureau of Competition and attorney advisor to Chairman Robert Pitofsky. He is nationally known for his expertise in competition policy in financial services, high-tech industries, semiconductors, health care, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and media.

Entries by David Balto

Softbank's Pitch to Regulators Paints False Picture of U.S. Wireless

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 7:37 PM

Masayoshi Son, the Japanese telecom magnate whose Softbank company acquired Sprint last year, is trying to justify acquiring T-Mobile by painting a specter of a second-rate American wireless market with the claims that consumers have terrible service and are paying too much. His claims are simply fanciful, but even if...

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European Commission's Investigation of Google Can't Become a Song That Never Ends

(2) Comments | Posted March 1, 2014 | 9:36 AM

The European Commission investigation of Google should not become "The Song That Never Ends" of lamb chops origin, regardless of how badly Google's competitors may want that outcome. The verse started with Google proposing a settlement, then the European Commission market tested it, Google's competitors put pressure on the European...

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Dear Congress: Don't Take Away the FTC's Best Tool for Fighting Patent Trolls

(0) Comments | Posted November 27, 2013 | 9:30 AM

One hundred years ago Congress created the Federal Trade Commission to serve as this nation's consumer protection cop. Recognizing the limits of the antitrust laws and the lack of consumer protection law Congress gave it broad powers under Section 5 of the FTC Act to attack "unfair trade practices" and...

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The FTC: a Tough Data Security Cop

(0) Comments | Posted November 13, 2013 | 5:12 PM

Protecting data security is the most important consumer protection issue for the economy. Each year the Federal Trade Commission receives a flood of identity fraud complaints. Efforts to diminish the problem by noting the limits on consumer liability are just plain wrong. There are liability protections but the external costs...

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No Green Eggs and Ham for Google's Competitors

(0) Comments | Posted October 1, 2013 | 6:38 PM

We all know Dr. Seuss' classic tale Green Eggs and Ham. An unnamed pink protagonist keeps rejecting offers of a delectable meal, proclaiming he will not eat it "here or there, I will not eat it anywhere."

This tale of woe seems instructive for explaining how competitors of Google have...

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Call on the FTC to Fix the Patent Litigation Mess and Patent Privateering

(0) Comments | Posted June 28, 2013 | 2:47 PM

When President Obama, Republican and Democratic Congressman and major enforcement officials all agree that there is a problem, people must take notice. All of our key leaders are in agreement that our patent system is off balance because of the actions of patent assertion entities (PAEs) (or patent trolls), firms...

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As Congress and Enforcers Contemplate Patent Trolls, Don't Forget about Privateering

(1) Comments | Posted April 12, 2013 | 4:14 PM

Congress is beginning to pay attention to the significant problem of patent assertion entities ("PAEs") or, as they are sometimes called, patent trolls. Patent trolls' business model is to acquire patents not to pursue innovation, but instead as a tool of litigation. They sue innovative companies or end users such...

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The FTC Google Settlement on Essential Patents Rewards Good Faith Bargaining, Deters Both Hold-Up and Hold-Out

(2) Comments | Posted January 4, 2013 | 7:32 AM

In a unanimous vote, the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") announced it has closed its investigation into Google's search practices, concluding that the evidence "does not support" an antitrust case. The FTC also accepted Google's voluntary commitments to change business practices to enable competitors to opt-out of...

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Cutting Off Essential Health Care for HIV Patients: The Latest Managed Care Scheme

(5) Comments | Posted December 6, 2012 | 2:10 PM

The holiday season is a time to reflect on and cherish our relationships with family, friends, and others that we interact with every day. But for thousands of HIV patients in Los Angeles, this holiday season will mean the loss of the critical relationship they have with their local specialty...

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Response to FairSearch's Remedy Proposals

(1) Comments | Posted November 29, 2012 | 9:49 AM

Reports are circulating that the FTC is having doubts about its antitrust case against Google. This is not surprising. There are many hazards of a case against Google, including the difficulty in identifying consumer harm, the logical paradox of "search neutrality," and the inappropriateness...

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Antitrust Agencies Right to Expand Scrutiny of Patent Transfers and Acquisitions

(1) Comments | Posted October 23, 2012 | 3:58 PM

One of the most complex and daunting challenges facing competition regulators is the evolving intersection of antitrust and intellectual property law. Given that both antitrust law and patent law seek to enhance consumer welfare and promote innovation, but do so through very different mechanisms, it is natural for regulators to...

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Half a Loaf Is Not Enough: The DOJ's Approval of a Cable Cartel Will Harm Consumers

(2) Comments | Posted August 23, 2012 | 12:31 PM

Last week the DOJ announced its approval, with conditions, of the complex set of commercial agreements entered into by a cadre of cable companies (Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, and Cox Communications) and Verizon Wireless, 55 percent of which is owned by the cadre's competitor Verizon Communications. While...

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Don't Shoot the Samaritan

(0) Comments | Posted July 16, 2012 | 6:05 PM

David Balto, Former Policy Director of the Federal Trade Commission and a current public interest, anti-trust lawyer in Washington D.C.

The patent wars have become a real drag on the economy. A recent study estimated that the direct cost of patent trolls, firms that use patents solely as a...

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The FTC Should Update Search Engine Transparency Guidelines

(1) Comments | Posted June 21, 2012 | 9:14 AM

If the government could protect consumers through issuing guidelines instead of pursuing costly litigation, shouldn't it?

Guidance from the federal government regarding acceptable commercial practices is important, especially in dynamic industries. Standards and practices change constantly, and companies frequently face uncertainty when evaluating whether their businesses practices are acceptable. Antitrust...

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Nokia and Microsoft Alliance Raise Significant Competition Concerns

(23) Comments | Posted June 11, 2012 | 6:23 PM

When competitors form a truce, consumers need to worry because often they find ways to make consumers pay more by cutting off competition. Nowhere is that a more big-ticket concern than an alliance between Nokia and Microsoft, waging a potential patent war on their smart phone rivals and potentially costing...

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Google Is No Microsoft

(33) Comments | Posted June 30, 2011 | 5:41 PM

Well it's official. The Federal Trade Commission has served Google with subpoenas. Some of Google's critics -- including Gary Reback, who some credit with "goading" the Department of Justice to launching its investigation into Microsoft two decades ago -- analogize Google's conduct today to that of Microsoft's during...

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In Antitrust Probe, Google's Critics Have it Wrong

(27) Comments | Posted June 24, 2011 | 6:20 PM

It's about the consumer, stupid.

The proponents of an antitrust investigation of Google suggest Google is inhibiting competition by setting up barriers harming consumers. But a close examination of Google's entry into multiple consumer markets illustrates the opposite -- that where Google competes, consumers benefit. In fact, what...

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The Bankers' New Goat

(15) Comments | Posted March 11, 2011 | 1:07 PM

According to the Biblical story, on the day that the people were to atone for the sins committed for the year, they would send a goat off from the village to its death. The goat symbolically carried the sins of the villagers and by casting it out the villagers were...

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Regulating Google: Searching for a Solution Without a Problem

(11) Comments | Posted September 14, 2010 | 6:25 PM

When it comes to a debate on the consumer impact of companies on the Internet marketplace, we too often see a conflation of big with bad. While big companies will always be a red flag to the unhappy rivals, it is critical to remember their very existence is not proof...

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Breaking the Technology Bottleneck: The FTC's Intel Case Is Critical to Innovation

(0) Comments | Posted April 27, 2010 | 1:14 PM

As the U.S. economy has begun to come out of its economic downturn, we have recognized the stiff price we pay for lax antitrust enforcement permitting industries to be dominated by a single or handful of firms. The penalties to economic growth from the lack of competition can be stiff:...

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