Competition Matters

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Celebrating the Solstice - FTC-style

Looking for ways to celebrate the summer solstice? Tune in to the FTC's workshop on competition and consumer protection issues in solar energy. Tomorrow, on June 21, scientists, academics, regulators, and other industry experts will come together for a series of presentations and roundtables to discuss:

Competition, innovation, and legal services

The legal services marketplace, like many sectors of the economy, is experiencing dynamic change. Among other things, clients have demanded more cost-effective and efficient services, and legal services providers increasingly use computer technologies to deliver their services. Dynamic changes in the legal services marketplace continue to raise questions about how to define the scope of the licensed practice of law.

Wiring your HSR filing fee just got easier

The PNO handles Hart-Scott-Rodino Premerger Notification Filings for well over a thousand transactions each year. Each transaction requires the acquiring person to pay an HSR filing fee, which must be paid within two days of filing an HSR Form in order for the HSR waiting period to begin. If payment isn’t received on time, the PNO will "bounce" the filing as incomplete and delay the start of the waiting period.

The FTC has recently made some changes that will make it easier to get your HSR filing fee to the agency.  This blog provides an overview of what’s new.

Corporate or Non-Corporate? A New Approach To Classifying Foreign Entities Under HSR Rules

Under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act and Rules, determining whether a U.S. entity is a corporation or a non-corporate entity (like an LLC or LP) is relatively clear.  For foreign entities, the answer is often not so clear. Yet this determination can have important implications for HSR reportability and the applicability of certain exemptions (e.g., 16 CFR §§ 802.9, 802.51).

Health-y reading

Now available on the FTC website: the Bureau of Competition’s Health Care Division has posted updated versions of our three overviews of FTC enforcement actions and policy work in the health care sector undertaken across the Bureau. Together, these documents contain hundreds of pages of detailed summaries of four decades of FTC efforts to promote competition in healthcare markets – which make them invaluable resources for health care antitrust practitioners, market participants, and other stakeholders.

What’s the interest in partial interests?

Most mergers reviewed by the Commission involve the acquisition of an entire company, or an identifiable set of assets – that is, the buyer seeks to control the assets of the seller through an acquisition. But sometimes companies acquire only a partial interest in a competitor – and such an interest, even a minority interest, can raise antitrust concerns, too.

Shining a light on solar power

Look up and you just might see one: solar panels are on top of more homes and businesses than ever before. Around the country, rooftop solar is an increasingly important source of electricity. For many customers with solar panels, solar power provides most of their electricity; many even sell power back to the power company.

The President’s Competition Call to Action

Recently, President Obama issued a call to all executive departments and agencies “to promote competition, arm consumers and workers with the information they need to make informed choices, and eliminate regulations that restrict competition without corresponding benefits to the American public.” We here at the Federal Trade Commission are uniquely positioned to help in this effort.

Pausing (for a brief moment) to take stock

Once a year, the ABA Antitrust Section Spring Meeting presents the perfect occasion to take stock of the Bureau’s work. This has been an especially busy year for the Bureau of Competition, requiring extraordinary effort from our attorneys and support staff to keep up with the unprecedented litigation workload. As of today, we have multiple merger challenges in various stages of active litigation, as well as three federal court cases involving reverse patent settlements or sham litigation.

Quo Vadis Post-Actavis?

For more than 15 years, one of the FTC’s top priorities has been to put an end to anticompetitive reverse-payment settlements between brand-name drug makers and their potential generic rivals. In our view, these settlements are anticompetitive agreements not to compete in which the brand pays the generic to refrain from marketing a lower cost, generic product for a period of time.

Celebrating Women’s History Month at the FTC

“Oh, if I could but live another century and see the fruition of all the work for women. There is so much yet to be done.” – Suffragist Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)

The consumer movement, trust-busting, the women’s movement, and the work of the FTC have traveled parallel (and often intersecting) paths. Women’s History Month offers us a chance to consider the contribution women have made to the mission of the FTC and the unprecedented moment in women’s history we’re witnessing at the FTC today.

Antitrust Violation vs. Injury-in-Fact: A distinction that makes a difference

There is a basic but important difference between antitrust cases brought by the government and those brought by private parties: All plaintiffs, including government enforcers like the FTC, must prove an antitrust violation, which requires showing harm to competition. But private plaintiffs must make an additional showing: to establish antitrust ‘standing,’ private plaintiffs must prove that the antitrust violation caused harm to them.

HSR threshold adjustments and reportability for 2016

When Congress passed the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, it created minimum dollar thresholds to limit the burden of premerger reporting. In 2000, it amended the HSR statute to require the annual adjustment of these thresholds based on the change in gross national product. As a result, reportability under the Act changes from year to year as the statutory thresholds adjust. The PNO fields many questions about the upcoming adjustments to the HSR thresholds from parties whose transactions may take place around the time of the revisions.

The FTC opens the hood on automobile distribution

For many of us, the holiday season involves at least one loooong automobile ride. We travel over the river and through the woods in our beloved cars, our trunks stuffed with presents for family and friends. Today, the way we buy those presents and the way we buy the car that carries them look very different. While the retail landscape has changed dramatically in the last 50 years, the system of automobile sales in the United States has stayed mostly the same. Are consumers benefitting from the current distribution system for automobiles or are changes needed?

Competition sparks improvements in local electricity markets

The New York State Public Service Commission is on a path to move away from traditional cost-of-service regulation for electric utilities. This is good news for New York consumers who might be looking to lower their electric bill or reduce their reliance on the power grid. In fact, the policy move is motivated by advances in energy technology, increased concerns about the environmental impact of fossil-fuel generation, and consumers’ interest in having more direct control over their electric service.

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