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The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comments on proposed changes to the premerger notification rules that could require companies in the pharmaceutical industry to report proposed acquisitions of exclusive patent rights to the FTC and the Department of Justice for antitrust review. The proposed rulemaking clarifies when a transfer of exclusive rights to a patent in the pharmaceutical industry results in a potentially reportable asset acquisition under the Hart Scott Rodino (HSR) Act.

The FTC worked closely with the Department of Justice in developing the proposed changes to the Premerger Notification program, which determines which industry transactions companies need to report under the HSR Act. The HSR Act is an antitrust law designed to prevent anticompetitive mergers or acquisitions and provides for the FTC or DOJ to review most proposed transactions that affect commerce in the United States and are over a certain size. The FTC believes the proposed changes will enhance the effectiveness of the agencies' premerger program.

The FTC is requesting public comments on the proposed HSR rule changes. Comments can be submitted electronically or on paper, by following the instructions in the Request for Comment section of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, by October 25, 2012.

The Commission vote approving the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was 5-0. It is available now on the FTC's website and will be published in the Federal Register soon. (FTC File No. P98316, the staff contact is Robert Jones, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2740.)

The FTC's Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action. To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 601 New Jersey Ave., Room 7117, Washington, DC 20580. To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

(FYI 28.2012.wpd)

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