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David Balto
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

With Litigation Certain, Congress Should Guide FCC on Internet Regulation

(3) Comments | Posted February 3, 2015 | 2:23 PM

For the high-tech crowd, 2015 started with a strong sense of déjà vu. Once again the focus is on net neutrality, an issue that rose in prominence in 2006 and was believed to be settled when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued its Open Internet Order in 2010. That order...

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An Effective Referee for the Internet

(1) Comments | Posted September 17, 2014 | 3:53 PM

With football season upon us, we are reminded of what makes a competitive contest: clear rules, a level playing field and an effective referee. And we know what we want in a referee -- someone with a clearly and narrowly defined role, who intervenes only when necessary, calling penalties with...

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Ninth Circuit Hits Pause Button on Critical Idaho Hospital Merger

(0) Comments | Posted August 1, 2014 | 6:52 PM

The main course for federal antitrust enforcement appears to be the Federal Trade Commission's efforts to challenge hospital mergers. These efforts hit a snag late last month when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a decision by an Idaho district court to unwind the acquisition of Nampa, Idaho-based Saltzer...

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Anything Can Happen in a World Where Innovation, Not Government Intervention, Rules

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2014 | 10:40 AM

Microsoft now has a new CEO who finally seems to get it. Speaking recently about survival in a "post-PC world," Microsoft's new CEO, Satya Nadella, described today's tech landscape as a dynamic market in which competition must be waged through ideas. "Anybody is capable of anything," Nadella told...

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Son's Cloudy Outlook on U.S. Broadband

(0) Comments | Posted May 30, 2014 | 11:08 AM

At re/code's recent "Code Conference," Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son -- whose company currently owns Sprint -- set the table for his company's desire to merge with T-Mobile by rehashing largely debunked claims that America's broadband networks lag behind the rest of the developed world on speed, prices and...

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

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 8:37 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 | 10:36 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 | 10:30 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 | 6:12 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 | 7:38 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 | 3:47 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 | 5:14 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 | 8:32 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 | 3:10 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 | 10:49 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 | 4:58 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 | 1:31 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 | 7:05 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 | 10:14 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 | 7:23 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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