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TMT Perspectives Insight & Commentary on Business, Legal and Policy Developments Affecting the Telecom, Media, and Technology Sectors

Category Archives: FTC

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Celebrities Rule—But the FTC Has Endorsement Rules

Posted in FTC, Legal Developments

Perhaps because it is pervasive, there is a growing presumption that social media communications are unregulated. That is not accurate where endorsements are concerned. So before you blog or tweet about a product under circumstances in which you are getting compensated, it is worth figuring out whether your communication complies with the Federal Trade Commission’s… Continue Reading

FCC Seeks to Become a Cybersecurity Enforcer with a $10 Million Sword

Posted in FCC, FTC, Privacy and Data Security

Last Friday, the FCC released a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (“Notice”) ordering TerraCom, Inc. and YourTel America, Inc. to pay a $10 million forfeiture for the companies’ failure to reasonably secure electronic customer information. In doing so, the FCC relied on Title II (i.e., the “common carrier” provisions) of the Communications Act of… Continue Reading

Dollar General Goes Hostile – Manipulating Antitrust in High-Stakes Mergers

Posted in Antitrust and Competition Policy, FTC, Legal Developments, Transactions

On Friday, September 5, 2014, Family Dollar issued a press release that effectively foreclosed a friendly deal with Dollar General. On Wednesday, September 10, 2014, Dollar General said it would initiate a cash tender offer for Family Dollar. Dollar General has gone hostile. (See our previous blog on this matter.) In Family Dollar’s release, Family… Continue Reading

Dollar General Ups Its Offer (A Little) – Manipulating Antitrust in High-Stakes Mergers

Posted in Antitrust and Competition Policy, FTC, Legal Developments, Transactions

Last week, we suggested that Dollar General needs to offer a “hell or high water” clause and begin its response to a potential second request if it wants to eliminate antitrust as an issue in its bid to acquire Family Dollar. It looks like Dollar General has taken a more conservative, incremental step, in an… Continue Reading

Next Steps for Dollar General – Manipulating Antitrust in High-Stakes Mergers

Posted in Antitrust and Competition Policy, FTC, Legal Developments, Transactions

Dollar General said on August 28, 2014 that it is “fully” committed to the Family Dollar deal. Bloomberg is reporting that “people familiar with the matter” said last week that Family Dollar is willing to consider Dollar General’s offer if it agrees to sell as many stores as regulators would require (see our previous blog… Continue Reading

Family Dollar to Merge with Dollar Tree – Manipulating Antitrust in High-Stakes Mergers

Posted in Antitrust and Competition Policy, FTC, Legal Developments, Transactions

Family Dollar, a troubled discount store, is up for sale. They have entered an agreement to merge with Dollar Tree for US$8.5 billion. Recently, Dollar General, a competitor, offered US$9.7 billion. On August 21, 2014, Family Dollar’s board unanimously rejected Dollar General’s offer and reasserted their desire to go forward with Dollar Tree. The grounds… Continue Reading

Net Neutrality: Can Antitrust Save the Internet?

Posted in Antitrust and Competition Policy, FCC, FTC, Net Neutrality

At a hearing last Friday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte told the FCC that it should abandon its effort to enforce net neutrality and allow the antitrust agencies—the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice—to police it alone. Chairman Goodlatte suggested that the antitrust laws were sufficient to prevent discrimination, and that any… Continue Reading

What’s Next for UberX in DC?

Posted in Administrative Law, Antitrust and Competition Policy, FTC, Legal Developments, Technology

Last month, the D.C. Taxicab Commission (DCTC) adopted new rules regarding permissible vehicle classifications and color requirements for “digital dispatch” / “sedan” services. These rules effectively block services like Uber’s recently-launched UberX from operating in the District. D.C.’s administrative law does not provide a mechanism for Uber to challenge those rules in court (at least… Continue Reading

COPPA Compliance—Flags to the Rescue?

Posted in FTC, Privacy and Data Security, Technology

Several weeks ago I wrote about the Federal Trade Commission’s updated Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) Guidelines and potential unintended consequences with respect to the app marketplace. As I was airing my concerns, many industry participants were focused on the uphill battle to figure out how to comply with the new rules. As corporate compliance teams were… Continue Reading

Self-Policing Mobile Behavioral Advertising—The Only Viable Option?

Posted in FTC, Media, Privacy and Data Security, Technology

Recently, there has been increasing pressure from elected officials, regulatory agencies, consumers and industry groups to establish formal guidelines regulating behavioral advertising on mobile devices. Specifically, proponents of greater regulation are very interested in the implementation of opt-out mechanisms and formal consent processes to help protect consumers. Many years ago, similar concerns surfaced with respect to behavioral… Continue Reading

COPPA’s Covert War on Child-Directed Apps

Posted in FTC, Privacy and Data Security

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) limits the online collection of personal information about individuals under 13 years of age. Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) implemented additional COPPA requirements by expanding “personal information” to include (i) device identifiers and (ii) sites and apps that are largely but not primarily directed to… Continue Reading

Reverse Payments, Not Per Se, But That’s All We Know

Posted in Antitrust and Competition Policy, FTC, Intellectual Property, Legal Developments

On June 17, 2013, the Supreme Court in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, Inc., No. 12-416, held that the use of “reverse payment” settlement agreements to resolve patent infringement litigation may in certain circumstances violate antitrust laws under a rule of reason analysis. The Court summarizes some of the principal issues to consider when evaluating… Continue Reading

Google Settles with the FTC

Posted in Antitrust and Competition Policy, FTC, Intellectual Property

Google entered into a settlement agreement with the FTC. Google did offer some commitments to the FTC regarding the display of third party content, but, fundamentally, the settlement did not involve search. It involved Google agreeing to license two standards-essential patents on a FRAND basis. Several highly respected commentators have hailed the settlement as marking a… Continue Reading

Neilson’s Purchase of Arbitron – Good Chance of Government Scrutiny and Delay

Posted in Antitrust and Competition Policy, FTC, Legal Developments, Media, Transactions

Yesterday Neilson Holdings NV announced that it will purchase Arbitron, Inc. for US$1.26 Billion, subject to regulatory approval.  Neilson is a fairly extensive company, cobbled together over the past thirteen years and taken public last year. It provides media and consumer purchasing measurement services in 100 countries, but it is best known for what it… Continue Reading

The Enforcer: An FTC Unfair Competition or Fraud Case Based on Google’s Patents?

Posted in Antitrust and Competition Policy, FTC, Intellectual Property

This must be Google’s month. A new rumor about the FTC’s case against Google suggests that the FTC is concerned that Google is unfairly using its Motorola Mobility unit’s patents to block rivals’ smartphones from coming to market. The claim may be that Google’s patents rely on “industry-standard technology” and are unenforceable. Competing claims could be that… Continue Reading

Google: The FTC Will Have An Uphill Battle Proving Illegal Activity (Part 2)

Posted in Antitrust and Competition Policy, FTC

If you didn’t catch our previous post: Google: The FTC Will Have An Uphill Battle Proving Illegal Activity: Part 1, I encourage you to take a look. This post (Part 2) picks up where it left off. Take for example, the phrase “I’m pissed.” To Americans, that means, “I’m angry.” But not to the British. To them, it… Continue Reading

Google: The FTC Will Have An Uphill Battle Proving Illegal Activity (Part 1)

Posted in Antitrust and Competition Policy, FTC

The FTC is apparently considering suing Google for unlawful monopolization.  Based on press reports it seems that the FTC’s argument is that, in reporting search results, Google gives preference to services it owns or operates over the services of others, and that this preference violates Section 5 of the FTC Act.  Some examples of Google “services”… Continue Reading