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Business Articles Awards > General Antitrust

FTC Issues Policy Statement on the Reach of Section 5 of FTC Act

Timothy Muris and Christine Wilson, Kirkland & Ellis, Kirkland Alert, August 2015

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The FTC on August 13, 2015 issued a policy statement on the reach of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act), which prohibits unfair methods of competition.1 The FTC Act is separate and distinct from the two federal antitrust statutes – namely, the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act – known as β€œthe antitrust laws.” The extent to which the FTC Act extends beyond the scope of the antitrust laws has been fiercely debated for much of its 100-year history. In a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen dissenting, the Commission sought to advance this debate. As Commissioner Ohlhausen noted, though, this brief statement may raise as many questions as it answers. For businesses concerned about the potential for an activist FTC to apply Section 5 in novel ways, this statement provides little comfort.

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