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252.21 sec. 001 - Antitrust and Technology Platforms (Spring 2023)
Instructor: Christopher Hockett (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only
Grading Designation: Graded
Mode of Instruction: In-Person
Tu 3:35 PM - 5:25 PM
Location: Law 132
From January 10, 2023
To April 18, 2023
Course End: April 18, 2023
Class Number: 32382
Enroll Limit: 40
As of: 08/24 11:03 PM
This newly expanded course addresses a defining legal issue of our age: how
competition laws will apply to the giants of the digital economy. Tech platforms like
Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google rank among the largest and most powerful
companies in history, and are increasingly confronted with antitrust challenges based on
their roles as online gatekeepers. However, the outcome of those claims is uncertain
given conservative judicial interpretations of U.S. antitrust law over the last half-century.
This uncertainty is elevated by the complexity of establishing antitrust violations against
platforms that supply billions of consumers with goods and sophisticated online tools for
low - and sometimes zero - financial prices, and provide millions of small and medium
sized businesses with valuable online advertising and distribution services.
This course investigates the dynamics of digital platform competition, including network
effects, multisided markets, and winner-take-all market conditions. We will explore the
antitrust implications of various forms of dominant platform behaviors, including alleged
exclusion and predation, acquisition of potential or nascent competitors, and self-
preferencing of platform “house brands” over third-party products. We will also examine
cases of alleged collusion in the tech platform context, as well as some emerging
antitrust implications of artificial intelligence, including price-setting algorithms that can
price discriminate between buyers or coordinate prices among competing sellers. In
addition, we will explore the potential relationship between antitrust law and platform-
related issues like consumer privacy, “big data,” filter bubbles, toxic content, and
challenges to liberal democratic values. Finally, we will consider legislative reforms and
other remedies being considered in response to platform dominance.
After the course midpoint, several of our class meetings will feature guest appearances
by senior in-house antitrust lawyers from tech platforms like Google, Facebook/Meta,
Spotify and Yelp. All of our class sessions will be interactive and engaging, featuring
extensive visual aids, discussion questions circulated before class, and small-group
exercises. Our course materials draw on a rich body of recent cases, regulatory
proceedings, legislative proposals, and expert commentary. Prior coursework in
antitrust or some familiarity with basic economics is recommended.
Instructor Bio: Chris Hockett was a partner in Davis Polk’s Northern California office and
global head of the firm’s antitrust practice. He retired from Davis Polk in 2020. He has
over 30 years of antitrust experience representing technology, media, and telecom
clients including in litigation, contested mergers, and government investigations. Under
the auspices of the Federal Judicial Center and the ABA, Hockett co-chairs an intensive
antitrust training program for federal judges that rotates between Berkeley Law School
and the University of Chicago. He is a frequent speaker on antitrust topics, and has also
served as a mediator, arbitrator and court-appointed Special Master. In 2013-14,
Hockett chaired the 9,000-member ABA Section of Antitrust Law. He received his law
degree from the University of Virginia, where he teaches an advanced antitrust course.
A prior course in antitrust or some familiarity with basic economics is recommended.
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