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FTC Announces Enforcement Policy Against “Unfair Methods of Competition”


FTC Announces Enforcement Policy Against “Unfair Methods of Competition”


By: Bernard A. Nigro Jr., Nathaniel L. Asker, Aleksandr B. Livshits


On August 13, 2015, over a century after the enactment of the Federal Trade Commission Act, the FTC released its first statement on the principles that will guide its enforcement of the Act's central but ambiguous provision, the prohibition on “unfair methods of competition” contained in Section 5 of the Act. While the policy statement falls short of providing specificity regarding future enforcement, it makes clear that the FTC interprets Section 5 as empowering the agency to challenge conduct otherwise permissible under the antitrust laws, if the conduct contravenes the “spirit of the antitrust laws” or could “mature” into an antitrust violation.

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