April 07, 2020

ABA Section of Antitrust Law to host virtual 2020 Spring Meeting, April 17-May 1

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2020 — The American Bar Association Antitrust Law Section’s 2020 Spring Meeting, the largest gathering of competition and consumer protection professionals from around the world, will be held as an all-digital event from April 17 to May 1, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference is usually a four-day, in-person event with nearly 70 sessions held in Washington, D.C.

The 68th Spring Meeting will offer 36 free online programs via livestream, podcasts and videocasts as well as virtual receptions spread out over 15 days. No registration is required. However, Spring Meeting course materials are available to Antitrust Law Section members only.

Events will include many of the conference’s most popular programming such as the Enforcers’ Roundtable on Friday, April 24, from noon to 1:15 p.m. EDT, with featured speakers Sarah Oxenham Allen, senior assistant attorney general and antitrust unit manager, Office of the Attorney General, Richmond, Virginia; Matthew Boswell, commissioner of competition, Canadian Competition Bureau, Gatineau Quebec, Canada; Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, Washington, D.C.; Joseph Simons, chairman, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C.; and Margrethe Vestager, commissioner, European Commission, Brussels.

What:               68th Spring Meeting (Virtual) Sponsored by the ABA Antitrust Law Section
When:              April 17-May 1
How Access:   Host site: www.ourcuriousamalgam.comLivestream: www.ourcuriousamalgam.com
www.youtube.com/user/AntitrustABA
Podcasts:    www.ourcuriousamalgam.com or wherever podcasts may be accessed including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Stitcher Videocasts: www.youtube.com/user/AntitrustABA

The Spring Meeting annually brings together more than 3,000 government enforcement officials, private attorneys, in-house corporate counsel, academics, judges, economists and businesspeople from more than 60 countries to share knowledge about all aspects of competition and consumer protection and data privacy law.

Program highlights include:

Monday, April 20

Videocast: “Agency Update with the FTC Bureau Directors” — Hear directly from the Federal Trade Commission’s directors of the Bureau of Competition (Ian R. Conner), Bureau of Consumer Protection (Andrew Smith) and Bureau of Economics (Andrew Sweeting) about the latest in antitrust and consumer protection enforcement and policy initiatives. Time: Noon EDT.

Tuesday, April 21

Videocast: “Briefing with the State Enforcers” — State attorneys general play a crucial role in enforcing state and federal antitrust and consumer protection laws. Panelists, who represent antitrust and consumer protection bureaus from across the country, will discuss recent enforcement activities and the ongoing missions of state enforcement agencies. Speakers: Paula Blizzard, deputy attorney general, Office of the Attorney General, San Francisco.; Gwendolyn J. Cooley, assistant attorney general, Office of the Attorney General, Madison, Wisconsin; Stacie Lambert Deblieux, assistant attorney general, Office of the Attorney General, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Kathleen Konopka, deputy attorney general, Office of the Attorney General of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. Time: Noon EDT.

Wednesday, April 22

Podcast: “Big Data as An Antitrust Issue” — This past year saw an increasing number of jurisdictions around the world opening investigations or taking enforcement actions involving Big Data. Panelists, including W. Kenneth Paxton, Texas attorney general in Austin; and Andreas Mundt, head of the German competition authority, will answer questions, such as: “Has data become the new oil that drives the global economy?” “Is Big Data no longer just the province of consumer protection?” “What role should data play in antitrust analyses of mergers or business conduct?” and “What role should antitrust have in regulating Big Data?” Time: 7 a.m. EDT.

Livestream: “Virtual Spring Keynote” — Renowned physician Jeff Chen, director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, will join moderator Kathleen E. Foote, senior assistant attorney general and antitrust chief for the Office of Attorney General in San Francisco, to discuss the latest on the science and structure of the explosive cannabis and CBD industries, which are raising challenging competition, consumer protection and regulator issues across the country. Time: Noon EDT.

Thursday, April 23

Videocast: “Big Tech: Too Big to Break Up?” — Federal investigations have been launched into whether Big Tech firms are violating antitrust laws, and Congress has initiated an investigation into competition in digital markets. This panel will examine the range of outcomes that could result from the investigations, drawing comparisons to past investigations of companies that were thought to be too big to break up. Speakers include Nicholas Banasevic, head of unit, DG Competition, European Commission, Brussels; and two former Federal Trade Commission heads, William E. Kovacic, professor of law, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.; and Maureen K. Ohlhausen, partner, Baker Botts LLP, Washington, D.C. Time: Noon EDT.

Monday, April 27

Podcast: “Consumer Protection Year in Review” — This past year was one full of important developments for regulators and self-regulators on cutting-edge domestic and international consumer protection enforcement issues, including native advertising, endorsements, consumer reviews used for claims substantiation, privacy, data security and more. Hear from experts and the people in the trenches regarding current enforce­ment and policy priorities and initiatives. Speakers include Deon Woods Bell, senior international attorney, Counsel for International Consumer Protection and Data Privacy, FTC, Washington, D.C.; and Gustav W. Eyler, director, Consumer Protection Branch, Department of Justice, Civil Division, Washington, D.C. Time: 7 a.m. EDT.

Wednesday, April 29

 

Podcast: “The Great Divide? Diverging State/Federal Enforcement” — During this time of unprecedented divergence between state and federal antitrust enforcers, the panel — including Elinor R. Hoffmann, acting chief, Antitrust Bureau, Office of the Attorney General, New York City — will examine the legal framework and context for different investigation and enforcement perspectives; recent cases and settlements; and how to navigate investigations, negotiations or enforcement action where the procedural posture or relief sought by federal and state enforcers differs. Time: 7 a.m. EDT.

Thursday, April 30

Videocast: “What to Expect in FTC Consumer Protection Enforcement” — From record fines to novel theories of harm, the Federal Trade Commission has pursued vigorous consumer protection enforcement under Chairman Joseph Simons. This panel — which include Serena Viswanathan, acting deputy director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection; and former FTC commissioner Terrell McSweeney, partner, Covington & Burling LLP, Washington, D.C. — will discuss recent FTC enforcement and priorities, including impacts, if any, of COVID-19 on enforcement priorities, as well as in the areas of privacy, data security, marketing, advertising and fintech; consider whether FTC enforcement has expanded in reach; and implications for future CP enforcement. Time: Noon EDT.

Friday, May 1

Podcast: “Sequences & Sparks: Life Sciences Innovation Mergers” — Recent economic research has examined potential killer acquisitions in the U.S., and regulators here and abroad have expressed competition concerns about acquisitions of startups. But innovation is a difficult and uncertain process. This panel, which includes James R. Weiss, FTC deputy assistant director of Mergers I, and former director of the FTC Bureau of Competition Deborah Feinstein, partner, Arnold & Porter, Washington, D.C., will explore hot topics, patent thickets, biologics and the revamped United Kingdom Competition and Markets Authority approach in a broader discussion of the renaissance of innovation theories of harm. Time: 7 a.m. EDT.

The complete schedule can be viewed online.

 

This event is open to members of the press. For media registration, please contact Robert Robinson at robert.robinson@americanbar.org.

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