753 F.3d 395 (2nd Cir. 2014), 13-2280, Lotes Co., Ltd. v. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd.

Docket Nº:13-2280
Citation:753 F.3d 395
Opinion Judge:Katzmann, Chief Judge:
Party Name:LOTES CO., LTD., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. HON HAI PRECISION INDUSTRY CO., LTD, FOXCONN INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS, LTD., FOXCONN ELECTRONICS, INC., FOXCONN INTERNATIONAL, INC., AKA FOXCOMM INTERNATIONAL, INC., Defendants-Appellees, FOXCONN (KUNSHAN) COMPUTER CONNECTOR CO., LTD., Defendant
Attorney:NICHOLAS S. GIKKAS, The Gikkas Law Firm, Palo Alto, CA (Douglas M. Garrou and Ryan A. Shores, Hunton & Williams LLP, Richmond, VA, and Washington, DC, on the brief), for Plaintiff-Appellant Lotes Co., Ltd. WILLARD K. TOM (Thomas M. Peterson, Thomas J. Lang, and Brian A. Herman, on the brief), Mor...
Judge Panel:Before: KATZMANN, Chief Judge, LIVINGSTON, Circuit Judge, and CARTER, District Judge.[1]
Case Date:June 04, 2014
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 395

753 F.3d 395 (2nd Cir. 2014)

LOTES CO., LTD., Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

HON HAI PRECISION INDUSTRY CO., LTD, FOXCONN INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS, LTD., FOXCONN ELECTRONICS, INC., FOXCONN INTERNATIONAL, INC., AKA FOXCOMM INTERNATIONAL, INC., Defendants-Appellees,

FOXCONN (KUNSHAN) COMPUTER CONNECTOR CO., LTD., Defendant

No. 13-2280

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

June 4, 2014

Argued January 13, 2014.

Page 396

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 397

Appeal from a judgment entered on May 20, 2013, by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Scheindlin, J.), dismissing the plaintiff's federal antitrust claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (" FTAIA" ), 15 U.S.C. § 6a, and declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiff's remaining state-law claims. We hold, under Arbaugh v. Y& H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 126 S.Ct. 1235, 163 L.Ed.2d 1097 (2006), and its progeny, that the requirements of the FTAIA are nonjurisdictional, overruling Filetech S.A. v. France Telecom S.A., 157 F.3d 922 (2d Cir. 1998), in this respect. However, we reject the plaintiff's contention that the defendants have waived these nonjurisdictional requirements by contract in this case. We further hold, following the Seventh Circuit's decision in Minn-Chem, Inc. v. Agrium, Inc., 683 F.3d 845 (7th Cir. 2012) (en banc), that foreign anticompetitive conduct has a " direct . . . effect" on U.S. domestic or import commerce under the FTAIA, 15 U.S.C. § 6a(1), where there is a reasonably proximate causal nexus between the conduct and the effect. We decline to decide whether, under the proper standard, the plaintiff here has plausibly alleged a " direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect" on U.S. domestic or import commerce under the FTAIA, id., but affirm the district court's dismissal of the plaintiff's antitrust claims on the alternative ground that any such effect did not " give[] rise to" the plaintiff's claims. 15 U.S.C. § 6a(2).

Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.

NICHOLAS S. GIKKAS, The Gikkas Law Firm, Palo Alto, CA (Douglas M. Garrou and Ryan A. Shores, Hunton & Williams LLP, Richmond, VA, and Washington, DC, on the brief), for Plaintiff-Appellant Lotes Co., Ltd.

WILLARD K. TOM (Thomas M. Peterson, Thomas J. Lang, and Brian A. Herman, on the brief), Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, San Francisco, CA, Washington, DC, and New York, NY, for Defendants-Appellees Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., Foxconn International Holdings, Ltd., Foxconn Electronics, Inc., and Foxconn International, Inc., AKA Foxcomm International, Inc.

JAMES FREDERICKS, U.S. Department of Justice (William J. Baer, Assistant Attorney General, and Kristen C. Limarzi, Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice; Jonathan E. Nuechterlein, General Counsel, John F. Daly, Deputy General Counsel for Litigation, and Mark S. Hegedus, Attorney, Federal Trade Commission, on the brief), Washington, DC, for Amici Curiae the United States of America and the Federal Trade Commission.

Before: KATZMANN, Chief Judge, LIVINGSTON, Circuit Judge, and CARTER, District Judge.1

OPINION

Page 398

Katzmann, Chief Judge:

This appeal presents important questions regarding the extraterritorial reach of U.S. antitrust law. The plaintiff, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturing company with facilities in China, alleges that the defendants, a group of five competing electronics firms, have attempted to leverage their ownership of certain key patents to gain control of a new technological standard for USB connectors and, by extension, to gain monopoly power over the entire USB connector industry. In considering whether these allegations suffice to state a viable claim under the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § § 1, 2, we must decide whether the restrictions Congress has imposed on antitrust claims based on foreign conduct under the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (" FTAIA" ), 15 U.S.C. § 6a, are jurisdictional in nature; whether the defendants in this case have waived the requirements of the FTAIA by contract; whether the defendants' alleged anticompetitive conduct has a " direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect" on U.S. domestic or import commerce under the FTAIA, id. § 6a(1); and whether any such effect " gives rise to" the plaintiff's claims, id. § 6a(2).

We hold that, under the principles articulated in a line of recent Supreme Court decisions extending from Arbaugh v. Y& H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 126 S.Ct. 1235, 163 L.Ed.2d 1097 (2006), to Sebelius v. Auburn Regional Medical Center, 133 S.Ct. 817, 184 L.Ed.2d 627 (2013), the requirements of the FTAIA are substantive and nonjurisdictional in nature. Because Congress has not " clearly state[d]," id. at 824 (quoting Arbaugh, 546 U.S. at 515), that these requirements are jurisdictional, they go to the merits of the claim rather than the adjudicative power of the court. In so holding, we overrule our prior decision in Filetech S.A. v. France Telecom S.A., 157 F.3d 922 (2d Cir. 1998), in this respect. However, although the FTAIA's requirements are nonjurisdictional and thus potentially waivable, we reject the plaintiff's argument that the defendants somehow have waived them by contract in this case.

We further hold that foreign anticompetitive conduct can have a statutorily required " direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect" on U.S. domestic or import commerce even if the effect does not follow as an immediate consequence of the defendant's conduct, so long as there is a reasonably proximate causal nexus between the conduct and the effect. We thus reject the interpretation of " direct . . . effect" advanced by the Ninth Circuit in United States v. LSL Biotechnologies, 379 F.3d 672, 680 (9th Cir. 2004), which the district court followed below, in favor of the interpretation advocated by amici curiae the United States of America and the Federal Trade Commission (" FTC" ) and adopted by the Seventh Circuit in its en banc decision in Minn-Chem, Inc. v. Agrium, Inc., 683 F.3d 845, 856-58 (7th Cir. 2012) (en banc).

We need not decide, however, whether the plaintiff here has plausibly alleged the requisite " direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect" under the proper standard. That is because the FTAIA contains a second limitation, under which the aforementioned domestic effect must " give[] rise to" the plaintiff's claim. 15 U.S.C. § 6a(2). Here, regardless of what effect the defendants' conduct has on U.S. domestic or import commerce, any such effect did not " give[] rise to" the plaintiff's claim. To the contrary, in the causal chain the plaintiff alleges, the plaintiff's exclusion from the relevant market actually precedes the alleged domestic effect.

Page 399

Accordingly, we affirm on alternative grounds the judgment of the district court dismissing the plaintiff's claims.

BACKGROUND

I. Factual Background

The pertinent facts, resolving all ambiguities and drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, are as follows.

Plaintiff-Appellant Lotes Co., Ltd. (" Lotes" ) is a Taiwanese corporation specializing in the design and manufacture of electronic components for notebook computers, including Universal Serial Bus (" USB" ) connectors. USB connectors are used primarily to connect computer peripherals, such as printers, keyboards, and external hard drives, to personal computers, smart phones, and other electronic devices. USB connectors are among the most successful connectors in the history of personal computing, having achieved near-universal adoption from device and peripheral makers.

Lotes manufactures USB connectors in factories located in China. From there, it typically sells the connectors to other Taiwanese firms with facilities in China known as Original Design Manufacturers (" ODMs" ). ODMs make and assemble computer products incorporating USB connectors for many well-known computer brands, such as Acer, Dell, HP, and Apple. Those name-brand computer products, in turn, make their way into the hands of consumers and businesses around the world, including in the United States. " According to industry sources and press reports, as of 2011[,] roughly 94% of global notebook computers were assembled by a small number of Taiwanese vendors, primarily [ODMs] maintaining production facilities in China." J.A. 36.

The defendants are a group of companies that compete with Lotes in making and selling USB connectors. They also are involved in making, assembling, and distributing electronic components and devices that incorporate USB connectors. Defendant-Appellee Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. (" Hon Hai" ) is a Taiwanese corporation that is one of the world's largest manufacturers of electronic components, including USB connectors. Defendant-Appellee Foxconn International Holdings, Ltd. is a Cayman Islands corporation specializing in the design and manufacture of components for consumer electronics products, and is one of the largest exporters from China. Defendant-Appellee Foxconn International, Inc. is a California corporation that receives products from other Foxconn companies for distribution within the United States. Defendant-Appellee Foxconn Electronics, Inc. is another California corporation that designs and manufactures components for consumer electronics. Defendant Foxconn (Kunshan) Computer Connector Co., Ltd. (" Foxconn Kunshan" ) is a Chinese ODM.2 Although the corporate relationships among the defendants are not clear from the complaint, Lotes often refers to the Foxconn defendants collectively, and alleges that Hon Hai has " invested in Foxconn International [Holdings] to manufacture goods in China and other places." J.A. 41.

The dispute in this case arises out of the development of the latest industry standard for USB connectors, known as USB 3.0. This standard...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP