FTC Defense Attorney on Competition and Consumer Protection Hearings
In June, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced its intent to hold multi-part public hearings on whether the evolving - national and international - economic and technological landscape warrants fundamental modifications to competition, consumer protection and enforcement policy. In advance of the hearings, the agency solicited public comment on topics such as the state of antitrust and consumer protection law and enforcement, the evaluation of conduct that violates consumer protection statutes, and the intersection between privacy, big data, and competition.
Last week, the agency announced that the opening sessions will take place on September 13-14 at Georgetown University Law Center. FTC Chairman Joe Simons has stated that “fundamental characteristic of a strong institution is a willingness to engage with new ideas and, in our case, changes in markets and business-to-business and business-to-consumer relationships.”
The September hearings will be the first in a series. Chairman Simons will present opening remarks, followed by two days of discussion by a distinguished set of panelists. Topics shall include the following:
- The current landscape of competition and consumer protection law and policy;
- State of U.S. Antitrust Law;
- Mergers and Monopsony or Buyer Power
- The Identification and Analysis of Collusive, Exclusionary, and Predatory Conduct by Digital and Technology-Based Platform Businesses
- Antitrust Framework for Evaluating Acquisitions of Potential or Nascent Competitors in Digital Marketplaces
- Antitrust Evaluation of Labor Markets
- Innovation and Intellectual Property Policy
- Privacy, Big Data and Competition
- Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics
The mission of the Federal Trade Commission is to promote competition and to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices. The upcoming hearings are consistent with the agency’s long-standing efforts to research market developments and shape its policy agenda in-line with its enforcement authority.
The hearings are modeled after the FTC's 1995 Global Competition and Innovation Hearings under the leadership of then-Chairman Robert Pitofsky. As set forth in the Federal Register notice, Chairman Pitofsky's hearings “were the first major step in establishing the FTC as a key modern center for . . . ‘competition policy research and development’ ”
This new series of hearings honors Chairman Pitofsky's legacy, and complements and enhances the agency's robust enforcement program.