Federal Trade Commission

Washington DC. September 20, 1987

Robert Bork said that serving on the U.S. Supreme Court “would be an intellectual feast”.[1]

Abstract, arcane, and avid for tricky math, the technocratic approach Bork advocated in The Antitrust Paradox: A Policy at War with Itself  has all but devoured the faintly-beating populist heart of antitrust law.

As a result, Paradox has for the 45 years since its 1978 debut made antitrust enforcement actions increasingly costly to bring, far harder to win, and challenging for even competition experts to understand. 

In an economy that has grown 1,000 percent since 1978, suffers from far greater concentration of markets, and brims with ever more gigantic firms, antitrust agencies need more resources (in terms of today’s dollars) than they did then.

Yet they have less. That must change.[2]Continue Reading Antitrust enforcers must have more funding

HackedUnfair methods and data breaches

The Third Circuit has ruled that exposing credit card information to hackers can count as an “unfair method[] of competition” under the Federal Trade Commission Act. Federal Trade Comm’n v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp., No. 14-3514 (3d Cir. Aug. 24, 2015).

The decision opens the way for the FTC to seek injunctive and disgorgement remedies from companies whose cyber security measures fall short. It also has the collateral effect of bolstering consumer lawsuits for damages under the “Little FTC Acts” of California and 27 other states.

Any business that uses an online computer to store customer information should take notice.
Continue Reading What the FTC Win on Data Breaches Means

A "substate" governmental entity that engages in conduct that would usually violate the Sherman Act may escape liablity under the state-action doctrine if the "state" directs "substate" to do the anticompetitive deeds. But the state must "'clearly articulate[] and affirmatively express[]' state policy to displace competition." Fed'l Trade Comm'n v. Phoebe Putney Health Sys., Inc., No. 11-1160, slip

K-Dur treats low potassium. We think.

Since 2003, the Federal Trade Commission has fought a losing battle to halt bargains in which a brand-name drug-maker pays a generic competitor to put off entering the market. Pacts like that, the agency urged, result in "reverse payments", which compensate a patent infringer not to do stuff that might infringe the patent. Such arrangements violate antitrust law

Church & Dwight bills itself as "one of the fastest growing Consumer Packaged Goods companies" and as "a leader in the Household Consumer Products and Personal Care industry, with such brands as ARM & HAMMER, Trojan, First Response, Nair, Spinbrush, Oxi Clean, Orajel and more."

Note the "Trojan" bit.

In June 2009, the Federal Trade Commission

The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission issued new merger guidelines today. 

If we can take the things that antitrust enforcers have said about the guidelines and enforcement generally in the last year or so as any guide, the update will make passing pre-merger muster harder to achieve.