Tech Group Hits EU Policies; Calls Antitrust Practice Unfair

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Byline: Kara Rowland, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A U.S. technology trade group yesterday accused the European Union of declaring a "war on innovation" through its antitrust and regulatory policies.

At a Capitol Hill press conference, Rep. Robert Wexler, Florida Democrat, and Ronald A. Cass, dean emeritus of the Boston University School of Law, joined the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) in calling on the Europeans to clarify what the former say are inconsistent antitrust and intellectual property practices that unfairly penalize U.S. companies.

"Whether it's blocking the mergers of GE and Honeywell or Sprint and MCI, or legislation in France that dictates how Apple can design its own ITunes products, the EU has erected barriers to successful American companies," said ACT President Jonathan Zuck, a former software developer.

The press conference was held to coincide with a U.S. visit by EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who is scheduled to address a conference on international antitrust law at Fordham University in New York today.

Mr. Cass said Europe's antitrust policy hurts both consumers and American companies, citing instances in which the 25-nation European Union has rejected mergers or has forced companies to reveal aspects of their intellectual property to allow other companies to compete.

"This is a policy that seems to want to have competition without winners or losers," he said. "That is a form of competition that has never existed, can't exist and won't work in the marketplace."

The European Union announced Monday it is expanding its antitrust investigation of U.S. chip maker Intel Corp., which it initiated in response to a claim filed by Advanced Micro Devices, a rival U.S. company.

"Europe has become the venue of choice for American companies that want to complain about their American competitors," Mr. …