The FTC had another light week as the Commission celebrated the anniversary of President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. The Associate Director of the FTC’s Division of Financial Practices testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security about the FTC’s efforts to address fraud against the military community. These stories and more after the jump.

Continue Reading FTC Updates (July 11-15, 2022)

This week, the Commission announced that it blocked a hospital merger in Utah and New Jersey and ordered an oil and gas divestiture in Michigan. The FTC also issued a policy statement on exclusionary rebates and fees in prescription drug pricing and submitted a report to Congress on combatting online harms through innovation. Commissioner Noah Joshua Phillips issued a dissenting statement regarding the FTC’s report to Congress, and Commissioner Christine Wilson questioned whether the FTC’s Fuel Rating Rule under the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act is necessary. These stories and more after the jump. 

Continue Reading FTC Updates (June 13-17, 2022)

On May 25, 2022, following markup in the Judiciary Committee, Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced an amended version of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (“AICOA”), an antitrust bill we previously reported on that aims to curtail self-preferential conduct by certain online platforms. The revised bill now carves out telecommunications providers and financial service companies from the bill’s prohibitions, and reduces potential penalties for violations. Additionally, the revision now creates an exception to the bill’s technical interoperability requirements “where such access would lead to significant cybersecurity risk.” Although critics complain the revisions do not go far enough to address the bill’s shortcomings, Senator Klobuchar and other bi-partisan supporters are pushing for a Senate floor vote this summer.

Continue Reading Senate Revises Antitrust Bill Aimed at Curbing Self-Preferential Conduct by Online Platforms

This week, the FTC cracked down on day-trading investment advertising and Chair Khan discussed the agency’s enforcement priorities, including the proliferation of non-compete agreements. The Commission tentatively announced it will discuss expansive changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule at its April 28 Open Commission Meeting. These stories and more after the jump.
Continue Reading FTC Updates (April 18-22, 2022)

Monday, December 6, 2021

Consumer Protection: FTC’s Franchise Rule

  • The FTC filed an amicus brief in pending litigation to advise the Supreme Court that the FTC’s Franchise Rule cannot be used to determine whether a franchisee is an employee or an independent contractor. The Franchise Rule, codified as 16 C.F.R. §§ 436–437, requires franchisors to provide certain material disclosures to all potential franchisees. In its brief, the agency explained that it enacted this Rule in 1978 in response to widespread deception in the sale of franchises, and that it should preempt state laws only if they offer less protection to prospective franchisees.


Continue Reading FTC Updates (December 6-10, 2021)

Monday, November 15, 2021

Financial Management Office: FTC Operations

  • The FTC issued its Fiscal Year 2021 Agency Financial Report outlining financial and high-level performance results and highlighting recent agency accomplishments. The 98-page report also contains an overview of the agency’s mission and organization, an independent auditor’s report of the FTC’s 2020 and 2021 financial statements, and the Office of the Inspector General’s assessment of the FTC’s top management and performance challenges.


Continue Reading FTC Updates (November 15-19, 2021)

Monday, November 8, 2021

Antitrust: Hart-Scott-Rodino Act

  • The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division released the agencies’ 43rd Annual Hart-Scott-Rodino Report. The report provides HSR Premerger Notification data for fiscal year 2020, and its release coincides with an unprecedented surge in pre-merger filings during the current fiscal year.


Continue Reading FTC Updates (November 8-12, 2021)

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Deceptive or Misleading Conduct & Consumer Protection

  • The FTC recently issued full refunds totaling over $2 million to consumers who lost money through certain deceptive direct mail schemes. The agency recovered the refunds via a federal district court order resulting from the FTC’s lawsuit against Agora Financial, LLC, NewMarket Health, and other defendants. The lawsuit was based upon two publications defendants marketed to older consumers. One publication contained a protocol promising to permanently cure type 2 diabetes in 28 days, while the other promised to show how to claim money from a secret giveaway by Congress. The FTC obtained the order including consumer refunds before the Supreme Court stripped the agency of its ability to obtain equitable monetary relief in federal court in the April 22, 2021 AMG Capital decision. Congress has not yet acted on the FTC’s request to reinstate this power.


Continue Reading FTC Updates (November 1-5, 2021)

On October 25, 2021, the FTC announced that it will seek to impose prior approval provisions on merging parties in all future consent decrees. These provisions will require parties to merger consent decrees to request formal Commission approval before closing any future transactions in the same market, and potentially adjacent markets, regardless of whether those subsequent transactions are reportable under the HSR Act. This shift reinstates a policy abandoned by the FTC in 1995, and seeks to provide the Commission the unilateral ability to block future transactions it views as problematic, without having to carry the legal burden in court.
Continue Reading FTC Plans to Impose Prior Approval Requirements for Future Transactions