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The Federal Trade Commission issued final changes to the premerger notification rules that require companies in the pharmaceutical industry to report certain proposed acquisitions of exclusive patent rights to the FTC and the Department of Justice for antitrust review. The revised rules clarify 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 HSR Act established the federal premerger notification program, which provides the FTC and the Department of Justice with information about certain large mergers and acquisitions before they occur.  The FTC administers the premerger notification program and ensures compliance with the HSR Rules, which determine which transactions companies need to report. The revised rules will enhance the effectiveness of the agencies' premerger program.

The FTC worked closely with the Department of Justice in developing the new requirements, and the Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice concurs in the final rules.  The FTC received three public comments in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The rules will become effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

The Commission vote approving the changes was 4-0. The Federal Register Notice 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.

Contact Information

Peter Kaplan
Office of Public Affairs