Antitrust Challenge to Set Top Box Leasing Fails


The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has upheld a lower court decision dismissing a class action lawsuit, originally filed in 2008, alleging that Time Warner violated antitrust laws by requiring customers desiring to purchase premium cable services (e.g., HBO, Showtime etc.) to lease from Time Warner the interactive set top equipment used to view that programming.  In affirming the lower court’s decision to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a legally cognizable claim, the appeals court found that the complaint failed to plausibly allege that bi-directional cable boxes are a separate product from the premium cable service subscriptions they transmit or that Time Warner possessed market power in the particular product and geographic markets defined in the complaint.

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