Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Bureau of Competition and Bureau of Consumer Protection

  • The FTC and Justice Department issued a joint statement detailing antitrust guidance for businesses taking part in relief efforts and those involved in rebuilding communities affected by Hurricane Ida without violating the antitrust laws. The statement highlighted that the agencies will hold businesses or individuals accountable for attempting to “illegally subvert competition or engage in fraudulent conduct under the guide of disaster recovery.”

FTC Operations

  • The FTC approved a series of resolutions that will enable agency staff to efficiently and expeditiously investigate conduct in core FTC priority areas over the next ten years. The Bureau of Consumer Protection and the Bureau of Competition recommended that the Commission authorize eight new compulsory process resolutionsin these essential areas: (1) Acts or Practices Affecting United States Armed Forces Service Members and Veterans; (2) Acts or Practices Affecting Children; (3) Bias in Algorithms and Biometrics; (4) Deceptive and Manipulative Conduct on the Internet; (5) Repair Restrictions; (6) Abuse of Intellectual Property; (7) Common Directors and Officers and Common Ownership; and (8) Monopolization Offenses.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Vertical Merger Guidelines

  • The FTC voted to withdraw its approval of the Vertical Merger Guidelines, issued jointly with the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the FTC’s Vertical Merger Commentary. The guidance documents, which were published in 2020, include unsound economic theories that are unsupported by the law or market realities. The FTC is withdrawing its approval in order to prevent industry or judicial reliance on a flawed approach. In voting to withdraw, the FTC reaffirmed its commitment to working closely with the DOJ to review and update the agencies’ merger guidance.

FTC Operations

  • The FTC voted to make significant changes to enhance public participation in the agency’s rulemaking. The Commission approved a series of changes to the FTC’s Rules of Practice designed to make it easier for members of the public to petition the agency for new rules or changes to existing rules that are administered by the FTC. Among the changes are: (1) more clarity for those seeking to file petitions related to rulemaking with regard to information that is required with submissions; (2) a new requirement that the Commission publish all petitions for rulemaking that it receives in the Federal Register and solicit public comment about those petitions; (3) a new requirement that the Commission provide petitioners with a specific point of contact in the agency, and that the Commission provide a response to petitioners on its decision to either act on or deny the petition.


  • The FTC presented findings from its inquiry into past acquisitions by the largest technology platforms’ that did not require reporting to antitrust authorities at the FTC and the Department of Justice. Launched in February 2020, the inquiry analyzed the terms, scope, structure, and purpose of these exempted transactions under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and the Commission’s reporting requirements by Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com, Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook, Inc., and Microsoft Corp. between Jan. 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2019.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Advertising and Marketing: Robocalls and Telemarketing

  • The FTC announced that two individuals who worked with Florida-based Grand Bahama Cruise Line LLC and others in making millions of illegal robocalls to consumers settled a FTC complaint and are permanently banned from making telemarketing robocalls. Defendants, Johnathan Blake Curtis and Anthony DiGiacomo, who controlled four corporations involved in the massive operation, also will each pay a $50,000 civil penalty to the U.S. Treasury. The FTC alleged that in addition to delivering millions of illegal robocalls through 2018, the defendants failed to scrub their lists against the agency’s Do Not Call Registry, and called phone numbers on the Registry. The defendants also illegally called consumers who asked not to be called, and transmitted false caller ID information, in violation of the agency’s Telemarketing Sales Rule.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Advertising and Marketing: Robocalls and Telemarketing

  • The FTC testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging about the agency’s efforts to stop practices that prey on older Americans. The 16 page statement highlighted that protecting older adults is one of the FTC’s top priorities as they continue to be “targeted by a wide range of scams and unfair and deceptive marketing of products and services.” The FTC has implemented a multi-faceted approach to protect older consumers that includes strategic research and data analysis initiatives, robust law enforcement, and vigorous consumer education and outreach.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Bureau of Competition and Bureau of Consumer Protection

  • FTC Chair Lina M. Khan appointed Holly Vedova to serve as Director of Bureau of Competition and Samuel A.A. Levine to serve as Director of Bureau of Consumer Protection. Ms. Vedova and Mr. Levine have been serving in their roles in an acting capacity since June of this year. Vedova joined the FTC in 1990 and served most recently as an attorney advisor to Commissioner Rohit Chopra. Levine moves to lead the Bureau of Consumer Protection following work first in the FTC’s Midwest Regional office and then as an attorney advisor to Commissioner Rohit Chopra in the Washington, DC office.