Firms with disproportionately large data holdings are unlikely to willingly share their data with rivals because access to large amounts of data may provide a firm with an advantage over its competitors. As a result, large asymmetries in data holdings are likely to raise competitive concerns.
In this article by Stanley Besen and Philip Verveer published in Wake Forest Journal of Business and Intellectual Property, the authors address the types of antitrust and regulatory interventions that may be used to address these concerns. Specifically, the article examines past efforts to remedy data-related competition issues by: (1) preventing asymmetries from developing, for example by blocking mergers that would lead to that result; (2) conditioning the approval of mergers on an agreement by the merging parties to divest some of their data; (3) requiring existing data access arrangements to be maintained;(4) requiring firms to keep their data holdings in separate “silos”; or (5) mandating that a firm provide access to its data to its competitors.
This article also explains how past efforts to address the competitive effects of data asymmetries may have to be adapted to deal with the effects of the large differences in data holdings that have developed more recently.