Please join the LEC in person or online for a morning of lively discussion on this topic. FTC Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen will set the stage by discussing her Antitrust Law Journal article, “Competition, Consumer Protection and The Right [Approach] To Privacy“. A panel discussion on big data and antitrust, which includes some of the leading thinkers on the subject, will follow.Other featured speakers include:
Allen P. Grunes
Founder, The Konkurrenz Group and Data Competition Institute
Executive Vice President, Compass Lexecon
Darren S. Tucker
Partner, Morgan Lewis
Director, Economic and Technology Strategies LLC
Moderator: James C. Cooper
Director, Research and Policy, Law & Economics CenterA full agenda is available click here.
Archives For announcements
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama criticized the Bush Administration for “the weakest record of antitrust enforcement of any administration in the last half century” and promised “to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement.” Has the Obama Administration’s antitrust enforcement record over the last six years lived up to this extravagant promise? More specifically, what grade should be assigned to Obama Administration antitrust policy overall?
The Heritage Foundation will explore these questions in a January 29, 2015 conference entitled “Obama Administration Antitrust Policy: A Report Card.” The conference will start with a bang, with keynote remarks by former FTC Chairman, Professor Bill Kovacic – perhaps the most dynamic antitrust orator of our time. The conference will then feature a free-flowing discussion among antitrust experts, with separate panels discussing the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, and international antitrust. Speakers will include top notch practitioners and scholars who have led the FTC and the Antitrust Division – and one distinguished federal jurist, D.C. Circuit Judge and George Mason Law Professor Douglas Ginsburg, who has been a leading academic, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, and OMB Administrator for Information and Regulatory Affairs. Former Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust James Rill, who was the leader in promoting international antitrust convergence, will also speak.
Best of all, the conference (including lunch) is free – all you need to do is register for it at the Heritage Foundation’s website. You won’t want to miss it.
The Federal Trade Commission’s recent enforcement actions against Amazon and Apple raise important questions about the FTC’s consumer protection practices, especially its use of economics. How does the Commission weigh the costs and benefits of its enforcement decisions? How does the agency employ economic analysis in digital consumer protection cases generally?
Join the International Center for Law and Economics and TechFreedom on Thursday, July 31 at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company for a lunch and panel discussion on these important issues, featuring FTC Commissioner Joshua Wright, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Economics Martin Gaynor, and several former FTC officials. RSVP here.
Commissioner Wright will present a keynote address discussing his dissent in Apple and his approach to applying economics in consumer protection cases generally.
Geoffrey Manne, Executive Director of ICLE, will briefly discuss his recent paper on the role of economics in the FTC’s consumer protection enforcement. Berin Szoka, TechFreedom President, will moderate a panel discussion featuring:
- Martin Gaynor, Director, FTC Bureau of Economics
- David Balto, Fmr. Deputy Assistant Director for Policy & Coordination, FTC Bureau of Competition
- Howard Beales, Fmr. Director, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection
- James Cooper, Fmr. Acting Director & Fmr. Deputy Director, FTC Office of Policy Planning
- Pauline Ippolito, Fmr. Acting Director & Fmr. Deputy Director, FTC Bureau of Economics
The FTC recently issued a complaint and consent order against Apple, alleging its in-app purchasing design doesn’t meet the Commission’s standards of fairness. The action and resulting settlement drew a forceful dissent from Commissioner Wright, and sparked a discussion among the Commissioners about balancing economic harms and benefits in Section 5 unfairness jurisprudence. More recently, the FTC brought a similar action against Amazon, which is now pending in federal district court because Amazon refused to settle.
The “FTC: Technology and Reform” project brings together a unique collection of experts on the law, economics, and technology of competition and consumer protection to consider challenges facing the FTC in general, and especially regarding its regulation of technology. The Project’s initial report, released in December 2013, identified critical questions facing the agency, Congress, and the courts about the FTC’s future, and proposed a framework for addressing them.
Thursday, July 31
11:45 am – 12:15 pm — Lunch and registration
12:15 pm – 2:00 pm — Keynote address, paper presentation & panel discussion
See ICLE’s and TechFreedom’s other work on FTC reform, including:
- Geoffrey Manne’s Congressional testimony on the the FTC@100
- Op-ed by Berin Szoka and Geoffrey Manne, “The Second Century of the Federal Trade Commission”
- Two posts by Geoffrey Manne on the FTC’s Amazon Complaint, here and here.
About The International Center for Law and Economics:
The International Center for Law and Economics is a non-profit, non-partisan research center aimed at fostering rigorous policy analysis and evidence-based regulation.
TechFreedom is a non-profit, non-partisan technology policy think tank. We work to chart a path forward for policymakers towards a bright future where technology enhances freedom, and freedom enhances technology.
We’re delighted to announce the newest addition to our blogging roster, Alden Abbott.
Alden recently joined the Heritage Foundation as Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. For two years ending in April 2014, he was Director, Global Patent Law and Competition Strategy at Blackberry.
Alden has been at the center of the US antitrust universe for most of his career. When he retired from the FTC in 2012, he had served as Deputy Director of the Office of International Affairs for three years. Before that he was Director of Policy and Coordination, FTC Bureau of Competition; Acting General Counsel, Department of Commerce; Chief Counsel, National Telecommunications and Information Administration; Senior Counsel, Office of Legal Counsel, DOJ; and Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, DOJ.
Alden is also an Adjunct Professor at George Mason Law School, a member of the Leadership of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section, and a Non-Governmental Advisor to the International Competition Network.
We look forward to Alden’s posts here at TOTM, the first of which will follow shortly.
On Monday the DC Circuit hears oral argument in Verizon v. FCC – the case challenging the FCC’s Open Internet Order.
Following the oral argument I’ll be participating in two events discussing the case.
- Matt Brill, Latham & Watkins LLP
- Fred Campbell, Communications Liberty and Innovation Project
- Markham Erickson, Steptoe & Johnson LLP
- Robert McDowell, Hudson Institute
- Sherwin Siy, Public Knowledge
- Berin Szoka, TechFreedom
I’ll be introducing the event. You can register here.
Register for the event at the link above.
I suspect we’ll have much more to say about the case here at Truth on the Market, as well. For now, you can find our collected wisdom on the topic of net neutrality at this link.
I hope you’ll join either or both of Monday’s events!
Regulating the Regulators: Guidance for the FTC’s Section 5 Unfair Methods of Competition Authority
August 1, 2013
We’ve had a great day considering the possibility, and potential contours, of guidelines for implementing the FTC’s “unfair methods of competition” (UMC) authority. Many thanks to our invited participants and to TOTM readers who took the time to follow today’s posts. There’s lots of great stuff here, so be sure to read anything you missed. And please continue to comment on posts. A great thing about a blog symposium is that the discussion need not end immediately. We hope to continue the conversation over the next few days.
I’m tempted to make some observations about general themes, points of (near) consensus, open questions, etc., but I won’t do that because we’re not quite finished. We’re expecting to receive an additional post or two tomorrow, and to hear a response from Commissioner Josh Wright. We hope you’ll join us tomorrow for final posts and Commissioner Wright’s response.
Here are links to the posts so far:
- David Balto, Law Offices of David Balto: Some Quick Observations on the Drive for UMC Policy Guidelines and Economic Evidence and Section 5
- Terry Calvani & Angela Diveley, Freshfields: Injury to Competition and Efficiencies in Section 5 Claims
- James Cooper, GMU Law & Economics Center: The Limits of Section 5’s Scope Beyond the Sherman Act and A Sensible Limit to the FTC’s Section 5 Authority
- Dan Crane, Michigan Law: Section 5 and Principles of Self-Restraint
- Gus Hurwitz, Nebraska Law: The Application of Chevron to Section 5 and A Policy Statement Is Not Enough
- Thom Lambert, Missouri Law: Guidelines for the FTC’s UMC Authority: What’s Clear and What’s Not?
- Marina Lao, Seton Hall Law: The FTC’s Unfair Methods of Competition Authority
- Geoffrey Manne, Lewis & Clark Law/ICLE: The Importance of Sensible Guidance for UMC Enforcement
- Joe Sims, Jones Day: First Principles of Section 5 Authority
- Tim Wu, Columbia Law: Section 5 Guidelines Would Make the FTC Stronger and Better
Section 5 of the FTC Act permits the agency to take enforcement actions against companies that use “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” or that employ “unfair methods of competition.” The Act doesn’t specify what these terms mean, instead leaving that determination to the FTC itself. In the 1980s, under intense pressure from Congress, the Commission established limiting principles for its unfairness and deception authorities. But today, coming up on 100 years since the creation of the FTC, the agency still hasn’t defined the scope of its unfair methods of competition (UMC) authority, instead pursuing enforcement actions without any significant judicial, congressional or even self-imposed limits. And in recent years the Commission has seemingly expanded its interpretation of its UMC authority, bringing a string of standalone Section 5 cases (including against Intel, Rambus, N-Data, Google and others), alleging traditional antitrust injury but avoiding the difficulties of pursuing such actions under the Sherman Act.
Considerable commentary — and even congressional attention — has been directed to the absence of UMC authority limits, the proper scope of that authority, and its significance for the businesses regulated by the Commission.
Last month, FTC Commissioner Josh Wright began a much-needed conversation on the matter by issuing a proposed policy statement to attempt to provide some meaningful limits to the FTC’s UMC authority. And just yesterday, Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen delivered a speech setting forth her own views about guidelines for UMC enforcement.
In light of the significance of this issue and the momentum created by Commissioner Wright’s proposed policy statement, Truth on the Market is hosting a blog symposium on the scope of the FTC’s UMC authority, Commissioner Wright’s proposed statement, and whether and how the Commission’s authority should be constrained.
We’ve lined up an outstanding and diverse group of scholars and practitioners to participate in the symposium. They include:
- David Balto, Law Offices of David Balto
- Terry Calvani, Freshfields
- James Cooper, GMU Law & Economics Center
- Dan Crane, Michigan Law
- Paul Denis, Dechert
- Angela Diveley, Freshfields
- Gus Hurwitz, Nebraska Law
- Marina Lao, Seton Hall Law
- Tad Lipsky, Latham & Watkins
- Joe Sims, Jones Day (tentative)
- Tim Wu, Columbia Law
- Thom Lambert, Missouri Law
- Geoff Manne, Lewis & Clark Law/ICLE
In addition, Commissioner Wright has agreed to offer a responsive post or two.
The symposium will take place next Thursday, August 1. Posts will appear periodically throughout the morning, and we hope to generate a lively discussion in comments to participants’ posts.
We hope you will join us and add your voice to the comments.
The suit against Google was to be this century’s first major antitrust case and a model for high technology industries in the future. Now that we have passed the investigative hangover, the mood has turned reflective, and antitrust experts are now looking to place this case into its proper context. If it were brought, would the case have been on sure legal footing? Was this a prudent move for consumers? Was the FTC’s disposition of the case appropriate?
Join me this Friday, January 11, 2013 at 12:00 pm – 1:45 pm ET for an ABA Antitrust Section webinar to explore these questions, among others. I will be sharing the panel with an impressive group:
- J. Thomas Rosch (speaking, as far as I know, for the first time as a former Commissioner (Josh is supposed to be sworn in tomorrow));
- Jonathan M. Jacobson;
- Gary L. Reback; and
- Charles F. (Rick) Rule
Hill B. Welford will moderate. Registration is open to everyone here and the outlay is zero. Remember — these events are not technically free because you have to give up some of your time, but I would be delighted if you did.
I’ll be headed to New Orleans tomorrow to participate in the Federalist Society Faculty Conference and the AALS Annual Meeting.
For those attending and interested, I’ll be speaking at the Fed Soc on privacy and antitrust, and at AALS on Google and antitrust. Details below. I hope to see you there!
Seven-Minute Presentations of Works in Progress – Part I
Friday, January 4, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Location: Bacchus Room, Wyndham Riverfront Hotel
- Prof. Geoffrey Manne, Lewis & Clark School of Law, “Is There a Place for Privacy in Antitrust?”
- Prof. Zvi Rosen, New York University School of Law, “Discharging Fiduciary Debts in Bankruptcy”
- Prof. Erin Sheley, George Washington University School of Law, “The Body, the Self, and the Legal Account of Harm”
- Prof. Scott Shepard, John Marshall Law School, “A Negative Externality by Any Other Name: Using Emissions Caps as Models for Constraining Dead-Weight Costs of Regulation”
- Moderator: Prof. David Olson, Boston College Law School
Google and Antitrust
Saturday, January 5, 10:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Location: Newberry, Third Floor, Hilton New Orleans Riverside
- Moderator: Michael A. Carrier, Rutgers School of Law – Camden
- Marina L. Lao, Seton Hall University School of Law
- Geoffrey A. Manne, Lewis & Clark Law School
- Frank A. Pasquale, Seton Hall University School of Law
- Mark R. Patterson, Fordham University School of Law
- Pamela Samuelson, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
All of us here at TOTM are thrilled to announce that the Senate yesterday confirmed Josh Wright to be the next Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission.
As I wrote upon Josh’s nomination:
Josh is widely regarded as the top antitrust scholar of his generation. He is the author of more than 50 scholarly articles and book chapters, including several that were released as ICLE White Papers. He is a co-author of the most widely-used antitrust casebook, and co-editor of three books on topics ranging from Competition Policy and Intellectual Property Law to the Intellectual History of Law and Economics. And he is the most prolific blogger on the preeminent antitrust and corporate law and economics blog, Truth on the Market.
The FTC will benefit enormously from Josh’s expertise and his error cost approach to antitrust and consumer protection law will be a tremendous asset to the Commission — particularly as it delves further into the regulation of data and privacy . His work is rigorous, empirically grounded, and ever-mindful of the complexities of both business and regulation.
I am honored to have co-authored several articles with Josh, and I have learned an incredible amount about antitrust law and economics from him. The Commissioners and staff at the FTC will surely similarly profit from his time there.
We’ll miss him around these parts, but presumably he’ll provide us with plenty of good fodder for the blog.