Otto Bock Healthcare/Freedom Innovations, In the Matter of

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In the Matter of Otto Bock Healthcare and Freedom Innovations
FTC Matter/File Number:

171 0231

Docket Number:

9378

Case Summary

The FTC issued an administrative complaint challenging the merger of two prosthetics manufacturers that are top sellers of prosthetic knees equipped with microprocessors. According to the FTC’s complaint, Otto Bock’s consummated acquisition of FIH Group Holdings (owner of Freedom Innovations) harmed competition in the U.S. market for microprocessor prosthetic knees by eliminating head-to-head competition between the two companies, removing a significant and disruptive competitor, and entrenching Otto Bock’s position as the dominant supplier. Microprocessor knees, which use microprocessors to adjust the stiffness and positioning of the joint in response to variations in walking rhythm and ground conditions, provide a stable platform for amputees. Compared to other products, microprocessor prosthetic knees reduce the risk of falling, cause less pain, and promote the health and function of the sound limb. In addition to issuing an administrative complaint, the Commission authorized agency staff to seek a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and ancillary relief in federal court, should doing so be necessary to ensure the Freedom Innovations business remains viable and to preserve the Commission ability to order effective relief.

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