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FTC Approves Final Order Settling Competition Charges Against Robert Bosch GmbH

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that Robert Bosch GmbH’s acquisition of the SPX Service Solutions business of SPX Corporation would have given it a virtual monopoly in the market for air conditioning recycling, recovery, and recharge devices for vehicles.

Today’s action by the FTC finalizes a proposed order that was first announced by the agency in November 2012.  It also resolves allegations that, before its acquisition by Bosch, SPX harmed competition in the market for this equipment by reneging on a commitment to license key, standard-essential patents (SEPs) on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms.

Under the settlement with the FTC, Bosch has agreed to sell its automotive air conditioner repair equipment business, including RTI Technologies, Inc., to automotive equipment manufacturer, Mahle Clevite, Inc.  Bosch also has agreed to abandon its claims for injunctive relief related to the key standard-essential patents.

The Commission vote approving the final order and letters to members of the public who commented on it was 2-1-1, with Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen voting no and Commissioner Joshua D. Wright not participating.  (FTC File No. 121-0081; the staff contact is Jacqueline K. Mendel, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2334; see press release dated November 26, 2012.)
FTC Staff Files Comment With Illinois Legislature Regarding Pain Management Services

Federal Trade Commission staff has responded to a request from Illinois State Senator Heather Steans for comments on a proposed state law that would allow only physicians to provide chronic interventional pain treatments, and bar certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) from providing pain management services that they currently provide, such as epidural injections.

According to the FTC staff comment, the proposed law “threatens to raise costs, limit access, and reduce choices for Illinois patients.  We therefore recommend that the Illinois Senate carefully investigate patient safety issues and ensure that any statutory limits on CRNAs are no stricter than patient safety requires.” The staff comment notes the Institute of Medicine has identified a key role for advanced practice nurses – including CRNAs – in improving health care delivery and access, and notes that many Illinois counties face shortages of anesthesiologists and board-certified physician pain specialists.

The Commission vote approving the comment was 4-0. (FTC File No. V130007; the staff contact is Daniel J. Gilman, Office of Policy Planning, 202-326-3136.)

Copies of the document mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s website at and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580.  Call toll-free:  1-877-FTC-HELP.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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