How President’s Pick for Top Antitrust Cop May Shape Competition

In Governing and the Cabinet On
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Specifically, Mr. Delrahim, a former lobbyist, said he would not go after a company just because it was big, and would do so only if there were violations of antitrust law. “Just like any other industry, if there is wrongdoing, we would investigate,” Mr. Delrahim said. But “federal laws should not be used as a fishing expedition by government.”

He also intimated that he was skeptical of antitrust action against intellectual property rights holders, referring to some earlier comments on the matter. In a 2007 statement, for example, he had warned that cases that blended intellectual property rights with antitrust enforcement could hamper innovation.

Legal experts have extrapolated that Mr. Delrahim is also likely to credit mergers with helping competition — not only reducing it — and to point out how big deals can promote the United States economy. That “would be a major change from his most recent predecessors,” the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell recently said in a memo to clients.

Mr. Delrahim’s views contrast subtly with those of the Obama administration, which took a more aggressive approach in antitrust toward protecting innovation, especially in the technology industry.

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