The press is abuzz with news about the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Feb. 26 announcement that it would challenge the proposed Kroger/Albertsons mega-supermarket merger, which had been in the works since the fall of 2022. If the FTC succeeds in obtaining a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in Oregon federal district court (a big ... Will the FTC Scupper the Kroger/Albersons Merger?
George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is frequently invoked when political actors use language to obfuscate what they are doing. Ambiguity in language can allow both sides to appeal to the same words, like “the First Amendment” or “freedom of speech.” In a sense, the arguments over online speech currently before the U.S. Supreme Court really amount ... NetChoice, the Supreme Court, and the State Action Doctrine
Back in February 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on “deceptive or unfair earnings claims.” According to the FTC: [The Deceptive or Unfair ANPRM was aimed at] challenging bogus money-making claims used to lure consumers, workers, and prospective entrepreneurs into risky business ventures that often turn into ... The FTC Should Not Enact a Deceptive or Unfair Marketing Earnings-Claims Rule
The European Commission told Amazon in November 2023 of its preliminary view that the company’s proposed acquisition of iRobot restricted competition in the market for robot vacuum cleaners (RVCs) and could hamper rival RVC suppliers’ ability to compete effectively. The deal, the Commission asserted, would give Amazon incentive to foreclose iRobot’s competitors by engaging in ... Whose Failure Is the Failed Amazon/iRobot Merger?
In a little less than a month, the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) will start to bite, but how will it taste? By March 7, companies that were designated as “gatekeepers” in September 2023 will be required to meet the obligations of Articles 5, 6, and 7 of the DMA Regulation. With the exception ... DMA: Setting the Goalposts
The European Union is on the verge of enacting the landmark Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act), which will—for better or worse—usher in a suite of new obligations, and hidden pitfalls, for individuals and firms trying to navigate the development, distribution, and deployment of software. Over the coming months, we will be delving into the nuances ... Navigating the AI Frontier, Part I
Over the past few months, we at the International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE) have endeavored to bring the law & economics methodology to the forefront of several major public controversies surrounding online speech. To date, ICLE has engaged these issues by filing two amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court, and another in ... ICLE’s Amicus Briefs on the Future of Online Speech
Under the Bayh-Dole Act, the federal government has the right to “march in” on patents on inventions created using taxpayer funds—to require the patentholder to license the federally funded patent to other applicants. The terms of the license must be “reasonable under the circumstances.” The act limits the exercise of march-in to specific circumstances related ... Using Bayh-Dole March-in to Set Patent Price Controls: An Assault on American Innovation
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has now gone on record in comments to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that it supports expanded “march-in rights” under the Bayh-Dole Act (Act). But if NIST takes the FTC’s (unexpected, but ultimately unsurprising) contribution seriously, such an expansion could lead to overregulation that would ultimately hurt ... The FTC’s Misguided Campaign to Expand Bayh-Dole ‘March-In’ Rights
Five months from now, health ministers from the 194 sovereign states recognized by the United Nations (UN) will meet in Geneva to discuss and possibly agree to amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHRs), which are intended to “prevent, protect against, prepare, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of diseases.” ... The WHO’s Insufficient Curiosity and Humility
As Greg Werden has noted, the process of defining the relevant market in an antitrust case doesn’t just finger which part of the economy is allegedly affected by the challenged conduct, but it also “identifies the competitive process alleged to be harmed.” Unsurprisingly, plaintiffs in such proceedings (most commonly, antitrust enforcers) often seek to set ... How the FTC’s Amazon Case Gerrymanders Relevant Markets and Obscures Competitive Processes
A European Commission Challenge to iRobot’s Acquisition Is Unjustified and Would Harm Dynamic Competition
Once again, a major competition agency, the European Commission, appears poised to take an anticompetitive enforcement action—in this case, blocking Amazon’s acquisition of consumer robotic-manufacturer iRobot. iRobot, headquartered in Bedford, Massachusetts, is an American success story: Founded in 1990 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology roboticists with the vision of making practical robots a reality, iRobot ... A European Commission Challenge to iRobot’s Acquisition Is Unjustified and Would Harm Dynamic Competition