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Motorola Mobility LLC v. AU Optronics Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
775 F.3d 816 (2015)


Motorola Mobility LLC (Motorola) (plaintiff) and its foreign subsidiaries bought liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panels from overseas manufacturers to incorporate into its cellphones. Motorola sued AU Optronics Corp. and other foreign manufacturers (defendants), accusing them of forming a cartel that inflated the prices Motorola paid for panels. But Motorola itself directly purchased only 1 percent of its panels. Foreign subsidiaries purchased the rest, with 42 percent incorporated into phones shipped to Motorola for resale to U.S. customers and 57 percent sold abroad. Motorola’s damages expert testified about amounts subsidiaries overpaid, not amounts Motorola overpaid for fully assembled phones, and Motorola said its claims were not based on purchasing finished phones. The district judge ruled that the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (FTAIA) barred Motorola’s suit with respect to 99 percent of the panels. Motorola appealed, arguing it and its subsidiaries formed essentially one entity, meaning Motorola itself bought the panels and suffered damages. Motorola also argued the panels represented import commerce excluded from FTAIA restrictions. Meanwhile, the Justice Department successfully prosecuted AU Optronics for criminal price-fixing.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Posner, J.)

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