ICC complains to Supreme Court on US regulatory decision

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is fighting a legal decision it fears could make US courts de facto global anti-trust regulators, even in cases with a negligible impact on the US.

The ICC has filed an amicus curiae brief to the US Supreme Court, as first revealed on www.thelawyer. com (4 March), asking it to overturn a Washington DC Court of Appeal ruling allowing non-US plaintiffs to bring foreign antitrust claims in US courts. The ICC said these could be launched if a claimant alleges a “single person”, who was perhaps uninvolved in the original case, might “assert a ‘claim’ arising from a ‘direct, substantial and reasonably foreseeable effect’ on US domestic or foreign commerce”.

The brief concluded: “If the ruling of the Court of Appeal is allowed to stand, the US will indeed become the regulator of the competitive conditions of markets throughout the world. That would impose a massive burden on international businesses, and would be likely to exceed the limits of Congress’s jurisdiction to prescribe laws affecting the interests of other nations.”

The ICC is supporting European pharmaceutical companies Hoffmann-La Roche, BASF, Rhône-Poulenc and some subsidiaries in fighting the launch of a vitamin price-fixing suit in US courts by Ecuador’s Empagran.