Necessity as the Mother of Invention?


The authors discuss a framework to streamline the evaluation of competitor collaborations.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have committed to expedite their review of competitor collaborations when firms are responding to the COVID-19 crisis. In this article, the authors discuss the need to also reassess the framework that the agencies use in their assessment of collaborations among competitors, which was outlined in their April 2000 Collaboration Guidelines.

The authors suggest an alternative framework that puts higher weight on economic evidence suggesting that the collaboration will actually be pro-competitive, as opposed to using qualitative criteria (such as whether the collaboration includes an economic integration) to determine the lawfulness of the collaboration. The authors discuss recent antitrust enforcement agency statements regarding COVID-19, the framework as outlined in the Collaboration Guidelines, and how to apply their proposed framework to assess collaborations in times of crisis.

The article was originally published in Antitrust Magazine by the American Bar Association in August 2020.

The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Cornerstone Research.

Necessity as the Mother of Invention?


  • San Francisco

Celeste C. Saravia

Vice President,
Cornerstone Research;
University of California, Berkeley