Today I offer you what could be the first in a new occasional series of posts – I thought it might be useful to focus on a particularly new, unusual, interesting or difficult term (in any language) from time to time. What do you think?
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A court in the Southern District of New York found that Apple had engaged in a per se illegal horizontal price-fixing conspiracy with five of the six top national book publishers to raise the price of e-books.
The court found that Apple effectively engaged in a ‘hub-and-spoke conspiracy’, i.e., Apple (acting as the hub) effectively facilitated and encouraged a horizontal agreement among the publishers (the spokes) to fix prices through a series of vertical agreements (…) between Apple and each of the publishers.
Credit: Allen & Overy briefings.
Also see the definition below, from the US Court of Appeals opinion and order in the case Total Benefits Planning Agency, Inc. v. Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, 552 F.3d 430, 434 (6th Cir. 2008).
“A hub and spoke conspiracy involves a hub, generally the dominant purchaser or supplier in the relevant market, and the spokes, made up of the distributors involved in the conspiracy. The rim of the wheel is the connecting agreements among the horizontal competitors (distributors) that form the spokes. Each of the three parts is integral in establishing a per se violation under the hub and spoke theory.”
Polish readers in particular might be interested in this paper by Dr Antoni Bolecki, a legal advisor and antitrust specialist, entitled Polish antitrust experience with hub-and-spoke conspiracies.