Open for Comment

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Matters Open for Comment

Below is a listing of matters for which the Commission is currently accepting public comments. Matters are listed in chronological order by comment submission deadline.

FTC Staff Study: Certificates of Public Advantage (COPA) Assessment

FTC staff requests public comment to enhance its ongoing study of the impact of COPA on prices, quality, access, and innovation for healthcare services. Staff encourages empirical research by academics and healthcare industry stakeholders regarding these topics, as well as suggestions regarding potential case studies and data sources.

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Comments Due: Open Until Further Notice

Proposed Consent Agreement: In the Matter of A&O Enterprises, doing business as iV Bars, and Aaron K. Roberts

The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices, and the making of false advertisements. The Analysis of Proposed Consent Order to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement and the decision and order—that would settle these allegations.

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Comments Due: October 22, 2018

Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of IDmission LLC

The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices. The Analysis of Proposed Consent Order to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.

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Comments Due: October 29, 2018

Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of mResource LLC

The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices. The Analysis of Proposed Consent Order to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.

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Comments Due: October 29, 2018

Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of SmartStart Employment Screening, Inc.

The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices. The Analysis of Proposed Consent Order to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.

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Comments Due: October 29, 2018

Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of VenPath, Inc.

The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices. The Analysis of Proposed Consent Order to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.

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Comments Due: October 29, 2018

Proposed Consent Agreement:  In the Matter of Penn National Gaming and Pinnacle Entertainment

The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, prohibiting acquisitions and proposed acquisitions that constitute unfair methods of competition, and alleged violations of Section 7 of the Clayton Act, prohibiting acquisitions that may substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly.  The Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Orders To Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement and the decision and order—that would settle these allegations.

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Comments Due: October 31, 2018

16 CFR Part 18: Guides for the Nursery Industry; Proposed Rescission of Guides and Request for Public Comments

The FTC is seeking public comments on the proposed rescission of the Nursery Guides.

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Comments Due: November 5, 2018

Hearing #2 On Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century - September 21 at FTC Constitution Center

The Commission is seeking comments for Hearing #2 On Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century - Sept. 21 at the FTC’s Constitution Center on the following topics:

  1. whether the consumer welfare standard is the appropriate standard for antitrust law and, if not, whether other standards, including a total welfare standard, should be preferred;
  2. whether and, if so, how antitrust law should take into account additional public policy concerns such as income or wealth distribution, the bargaining power of large entities, or labor and employment considerations;
  3. the accuracy and relevance of recent research identifying increases in concentration across broadly defined economic sectors, as well as some recent studies suggesting changes in price-cost margins over time, and what influence, if any, this existing research should have on antitrust law and policy;
  4. what are the highest priority reforms that would improve U.S. antitrust enforcement policy;
  5. whether there are material differences between antitrust/competition policy and law in the United States and the rest of the world, and the effects of such differences;
  6. whether U.S. antitrust agencies should be involved in curbing the application to U.S. firms of foreign competition laws that may be inconsistent with international norms, and whether antitrust agencies should seek the assistance of the U.S. trade and foreign policy agencies in preventing or rectifying such situations;
  7. whether antitrust agencies and the courts pay too little or too much attention to the error costs of more or less antitrust enforcement;
  8. whether antitrust agencies and courts should balance procompetitive and anticompetitive effects across relevant markets in the analysis of mergers and acquisitions;
  9. the evidence of monopsony power in the economy, and whether it is more likely or prevalent in some sectors or markets;
  10. whether, and how, mergers create buyer power; if so, whether and how this is distinct from monopsony power; and what harms buyer power or monopsony power may cause to sellers and/or consumers in downstream markets; and
  11. whether the antitrust agencies give sufficient recognition to the potential for buyer power acquired through a merger to enhance competition by enabling the parties to exercise countervailing power, or to the potential for existing buyer power to inhibit merging sellers from exercising market power.

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Comments Due: November 15, 2018

Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request (COPPA Rule)

The FTC seeks public comments on its request to OMB for a three-year extension of the current PRA clearance for information collection requirements contained in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA Rule).

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Comments Due: December 3, 2018 (end of comment period)

Hearing #3 On Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century - Oct. 15-17 at the Antonin Scalia Law School

The Commission is seeking comments for Hearing #3 On Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century - Oct. 15-17 at the Antonin Scalia Law School - George Mason University:

Multi-Sided Platforms (Oct. 15, 16, and 17):

  1. What are the defining characteristics of multi-sided platforms? Is there a way to distinguish between multi-sided and single-sided businesses? Are any adjustments to antitrust analysis necessary to account for any special characteristics of multi-sided businesses?
  2. How should the courts and agencies define relevant antitrust markets and measure market power for multi-sided platform businesses?
  3. What is the relevance of network effects (direct and indirect) in multi-sided platform markets?
  4. How should the courts and agencies evaluate exclusionary conduct by firms competing in multi-sided platform markets, including predatory pricing, vertical restraints, most-favored nation clauses, and actions to undermine rivals who depend on platform infrastructure?
  5. Are there unique procompetitive justifications for these types of conduct by firms competing in multi-sided platform markets?
  6. What is the relevant legal precedent for evaluating antitrust concerns related to multi-sided platform businesses?

Antitrust in Labor Markets (Oct. 16):

  1. Is a lack of competition among employers a significant contributor to observed macroeconomic trends in labor markets, such as the declining labor share and/or real wage stagnation? What are other explanations for these trends?
  2. How should the agencies approach defining relevant labor markets for purposes of antitrust analysis? What (if any) reliable evidence is available on the existence and effect of employer concentration in properly defined labor markets?
  3. Does available evidence suggest a causal relationship between employer concentration and labor market outcomes, such as wage?  Does this evidence suggest a change in antitrust enforcement is needed?
  4. Should the agencies and courts apply the consumer welfare standard to the analysis of monopsonistic labor markets in which firms are buyers and workers are sellers? 
  5. How should the agencies and courts resolve cases where evidence suggests output in the product market is likely to increase but employment and wages are likely to decline because of reduced competition in a properly defined labor market?

Acquisitions of Nascent and Potential Competitors in Digital Technology Markets (Oct. 17):

  1. What is the appropriate antitrust framework to evaluate acquisitions of potential or nascent competitors in high-technology markets?
  2. Is current antitrust law sufficient for developing challenges to these types of acquisitions?
  3. How should the antitrust agencies evaluate whether a nascent technology is likely to develop into a competitive threat in dynamic, high-technology markets?
  4. What are some pragmatic approaches that the antitrust enforcement agencies could consider for enhancing their evaluation of these types of acquisitions?

Comments Due: December 15, 2018

Hearing #4 On Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century - October 23-24 at FTC Constitution Center

The Commission is seeking comments for Hearing #4 On Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century - Oct. 23-24 at the FTC’s Constitution Center on the following topics:

  1. Is there a role for the government in advancing or supporting innovation?
  2. What is the importance of intellectual property – all forms – in advancing, protecting, and supporting innovation? Does it differ because of industry-specific or other market-based factors, or because of the form of intellectual property?
  3. How does modern economic analysis and empirical literature view the relationship between intellectual property and innovation, and the role of government in advancing and supporting innovation? Are there differences that depend on the type of intellectual property, and the protections offered for that intellectual property?
  4. How can the FTC use its enforcement and policy authority to advance innovation? What factors should the FTC consider in attempting to achieve this objective?
  5. What are emerging trends in patent quality and litigation issues? Should these trends influence the FTC’s enforcement and policy agenda?
  6. How should the current status of copyright law and current business practices influence the FTC’s enforcement and policy agenda?

Comments Due: December 21, 2018

Hearing #5 On Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century - November 1 at Georgetown University Law Center

The Commission is seeking comments for Hearing #5 On Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century - Nov. 1 at the Georgetown University law Center on the following topics:

  1. Should the U.S. antitrust agencies publish Vertical Merger Guidelines? What guidance should they provide regarding the assessment of the competitive effects of vertical mergers, including the substantive theories of competitive harm and the treatment of transaction-related efficiencies? Under what conditions, if any, should the guidelines recognize a presumption of anticompetitive harm? What showing should be required to overcome such a presumption? Under what circumstances, if any, should behavioral remedies be accepted to remedy the likely anticompetitive effects of vertical mergers?
  2. Is the “consumer welfare standard” the appropriate standard for evaluating compliance with the antitrust laws? What are alternative frameworks with which to evaluate compliance with the antitrust laws? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Is there empirical support for preferring one standard instead of another standard?

Comments Due: December 31, 2018 (end of comment period)