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Covering competition

Leslie Ridgeway • December 5, 2023
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Scholar-in-Residence Doug Melamed looks forward to the opportunity to explore antitrust law topics

As a scholar-in-residence at the USC Gould School of Law, Doug Melamed will continue to explore his interests in competition law and antitrust and serve as a resource for faculty and students.

Melamed is known for his role as senior vice president and general counsel of Intel Corp. from 2009-2014. His résumé also includes chairing the Antitrust and Competition Practice Group at WilmerHale and serving in the U.S. Department of Justice as acting assistant attorney general in charge of the Antitrust Division. He comes to USC Gould after having been Professor of the Practice of Law at Stanford Law School for eight years.

As the author of many widely-cited articles on antitrust law, patent law and law and economics, Melamed looks forward to tackling trending competition issues, including when actions by large digital firms like Google and Meta negatively affect competition.

“What has interested me most in antitrust over last 20 years is dominant firm behavior and what the rules are — when does a big firm cross the line?” he says. “Big firms should be able to compete aggressively as long as they compete on the merits, but they cross a line when they engage in conduct that harms competition and does not provide offsetting benefits. Buried in that general principle are a number of doctrinal problems that have not been resolved, and one of those problems may be addressed by the current Google case.”

Melamed counts among his influences Judge Guido Calabresi, senior circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and former dean of Yale Law School. Calabresi was a visiting professor at Harvard University when Melamed was a law student. They collaborated on “Property Rules, Liability Rules and Inalienability: One View of the Cathedral,” published in the Harvard Law Review in 1972. The article remains one of the most widely-cited law review articles of all time.

“Guido was one of the early founders of the law and economics tradition. He not only influenced my way of thinking but inspired me to consider an academic career, although I didn’t pursue that until very late in my career,” he says.

Melamed is currently at work on two papers with co-authors that will be published in the coming months, one a survey of antitrust and innovation over the past 130 years, the other a proposal on permitting workers to bargain collectively in some circumstances without working through a traditional labor union, in theory giving workers more bargaining power without the formality imposed by unions.

Coming to USC Gould provides an opportunity for Melamed to work more closely with business law scholars he admires, including Professor D. Daniel Sokol, Professor Erik Hovenkamp, and Professor Jonathan Barnett. It was Sokol who first encouraged Melamed to join the law school faculty.

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