Antitrust in Transition / Consumer Protection at the Crossroads
What lies ahead for DOJ and FTC? Is this a new era for antitrust? How could CFPB and FCC change consumer protection? We peered into the future of competition and consumer policy at the Fall Forum, and we reviewed the recent record of enforcement. The crystal ball came courtesy of the Section's Presidential Transition Task Force. Breaking news came from FTC and DOJ leaders -- who unveiled a report on the sharing economy and a strategy vertical mergers. And we all took a tutorial on preparing for litigation spawned by innovative disruptions -- battles between federal and state authorities. We made headlines, but if you want the back stories, go to the ABA Web Store (course materials should be available soon).
In your mailboxes you will find the latest contribution to the debate over the vigor and direction of antitrust enforcement. ANTITRUST Magazine covers merger enforcement and the policy informing it, as well as liability for price signaling, redress in consumer protection cases, and criminal exposure for cartel defendants. As always, the articles include healthy helpings of economics. Skeptics and critics of recent enforcement question whether the agencies have pursued enough deals, whether the courts have allowed too many, and whether the remedies have been effective. The agencies have weighed in on the debate as well. All three Commissioners at the FTC and the Assistant Attorney General at the Antitrust Division have given their assessments of cases brought, cases won, cases lost, and the state of enforcement policy. ANTITRUST collects the accounts from the lawyers, economists and judges who tried the cases. Weigh the merits yourself. And don't go to court without it.
Coming next -- the shark tank of Consumer Protection. International enforcers meet multinational general counsel at the Georgia Aquarium in our Consumer Protection Conference. With more state enforcers from Canada and Mexico, and more state officials than we've ever seen at a Consumer Protection Conference, this will be an opportunity for business and government to stake out their positions and see where conflict or consensus might emerge. We convene February 2 in Atlanta. I hope to see you there!
Chair, Section of Antitrust Law 2016-2017
PS - For more on mergers, the October issue of The Antitrust Source offers tips on handling nonparty witnesses in merger litigation, and a Roundtable discussion of substantive and procedural issues facing merger practitioners today.