Capturing the Transplant: U.S. Antitrust Law in the European Union

Silvia Beltrametti’s article analyzes the transplant of U.S. antitrust law into the regulatory regime created by the birth of the European Union. The article provides a framework to better understand how laws evolve within new regulatory entities.

Antitrust enforcement has recently experienced a resurgence, with high profile cases involving tech corporations like Google and Microsoft being brought in both the United States and in Europe. The outcomes however differ: the same corporate behavior that may be approved in United States will frequently be struck down in Europe. This incongruity in antitrust enforcement can be a stumbling block for U.S. corporations that operate internationally, and is to a certain extent ironic, as European antitrust law was originally modeled on U.S. law.

The divergence can be explained in part by the fact that the European Union was in the process of being formed at the time US antitrust law was transplanted, and the lack of an established institutional scheme as to its implementation opened the door to ouside stakeholders, that were successful at influencing and shaping the direction the new law would take. Beltrametti’s article demonstrates the difficulty in predicting what direction a legal transplant will take once integrated into a new regime, and provides a framework for analyzing likely outcomes.

Silvia Beltrametti is a J.S.D. Candidate at the University of Chicago Law School.