Ten Competition Happenings for 2014

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This is the week for lists, so here’s one for competition watchers looking for something to read in between watching football games and reading other lists.  In addition to the many speeches by the Chairwoman and Commissioners on a wide variety of topics, here are some key FTC competition documents worth a second look from the year that was:

1. Competition Matters blog post, “Different facts, different outcome,” identifying the changed market conditions that led the Commission to close its investigation of the Office Depot/Office Max merger after blocking Staples, Inc. from buying Office Depot some 17 years earlier. (January)

2. The speech, “The Forward-Looking Nature of Merger Analysis,” part ode to the Clayton Act, part narrative on how merger law is well equipped to assess the changing competitive dynamics in evolving markets. (February)

3. Complaint in AmeriGas/Blue Rhino, alleging that the two leading suppliers of propane exchange tanks illegally agreed not to deviate from their plans to reduce the amount of propane in tanks sold to Walmart, a key customer.  The parties settled these charges before the administrative trial. (March)

4. Complaint in Visant Corp., Jostens, Inc./American Achievement Corp., alleging that the merger of class ring makers would substantially lessen competition in the markets for the manufacture and sale of high school and college class rings. The parties abandoned the transaction after the Commission filed this administrative complaint. (April)

5. The speech, “Antitrust Enforcement in Health Care: Proscription, not Prescription,” outlining the FTC’s approach to competition issues for today’s health care antitrust practitioner. (June)

6. Amicus brief before the district court in Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Celgene Corp., discussing the unique regulatory framework that applies to the pharmaceutical industry, which may bear on the court’s analysis of when a branded monopolist violates the antitrust laws by refusing to deal with a potential generic competitor. (June)

7. Competition Matters blog post, “Running time,” offering guidance on the option to pull and refile an HSR notification form. (June)

8. Brief before the Supreme Court in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC, answering the question: whether the court of appeals correctly upheld the FTC’s determination that the state-action doctrine did not exempt petitioner’s conduct from federal antitrust scrutiny. (July)

9. Complaint in FTC v. AbbVie Inc., Besins Healthcare, and Teva Pharmaceuticals, that alleges monopolization through sham litigation and is also our first post-Actavis reverse payment case.  The case is pending in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (September)

10. Complaint in Verisk Analytics, Inc./Eagle View Technology, alleging that the proposed acquisition likely would substantially lessen U.S. competition in rooftop aerial measurement products by eliminating the close competition between the companies.  The parties abandoned the transaction after the Commission filed this administrative complaint. (December)

Just in case you’re making resolutions for 2015, here’s another one: sign up for email delivery of Competition Matters blog posts. You’ll get the latest updates on important competition initiatives at the agency, as well as practical tips and takeaways from our cases.

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