Safariland, LLC, which manufactures and sells equipment for the law-enforcement, military, and recreational markets, has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that it entered several anticompetitive non-compete and customer non-solicitation agreements with body-worn camera system seller Axon. Safariland entered into these agreements when Axon acquired Safariland’s VieVu body-worn camera division.
The FTC issued an administrative complaint against Axon and Safariland on Jan. 3, 2020, challenging the acquisition and the non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. Since the complaint issued, Safariland and Axon rescinded the non-compete and non-solicitation provisions that the complaint alleged were anticompetitive. The proposed order, which settles all charges against Safariland, ensures that Axon and Safariland do not enter into new agreements with similar anticompetitive provisions.
According to the complaint, the agreements barred Safariland from competing with Axon now and in the future on all of Axon’s products, limited solicitation of customers and employees by either company, and stifled potential innovation or expansion by Safariland. These restraints, some of which were intended to last more than a decade, substantially lessened actual and potential competition and were not reasonably limited to protect a legitimate business interest, according to the complaint.
Under the proposed order, Safariland is required to obtain approval from the Commission before entering into any agreement with Axon that restricts competition between the two companies.
The Commission vote to accept the proposed consent agreement for public comment was 5-0. The FTC published the consent agreement packing in the Federal Register on April 23, 2020. Instructions for filing comments appear in the published notice. Comments must be received 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Once processed, comments will be posted on Regulations.gov.
NOTE: The Commission issues an administrative complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $43,280.