Robert P. Davis

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On November 14, the FTC Commissioners, in an opinion authored by Chairman Simons, issued an opinion in an antitrust case involving the online advertising industry that has important implications for online advertisers. Last November, we discussed the initial decision by FTC ALJ Chappell that 1-800 Contacts had violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by coming to agreements with its competitors limiting their abilities—as well as 1-800 Contacts’ ability—to bid on each other’s trademarks…
Usually this blog focuses on the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection challenging unfair or deceptive advertising. Not so today. Instead, we write about the Bureau of Competition’s challenge to agreements 1-800 Contacts entered with its competitors concerning how they would advertise. The case provides useful insight into the nuts and bolts of Internet advertising as well as important reminders about how not to deal with your competitors, but it isn’t the first time the Commission
We know that many of you not only deal with advertising but are also proud to count yourself as among the elite few who wrestle with the intricacies of the Robinson-Patman Act. If that sounds like you, read on as our own Rob Davis analyzes a recent 7th Circuit decision. If not, then stand at ease and remain blissfully ignorant of price discrimination, “like grade and quality,” promotional allowances and other such terms. The Seventh…
The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced today that Commissioner Julie Brill will step down at the end of March.  Commissioner Brill has been with the FTC since April 2010, and prior to that held positions with several State Attorneys General offices.  Her departure, which follows that of Commissioner Wright, leaves the Commission with only three members.  And while we doubt that FTC vacancies are as momentous as those on the Supreme Court or that any…
So you may be aware by now that the FTC does not like trade or professional associations setting rules limiting the way that association members compete, particularly when those rules limit the ability of the members to provide useful and non-deceptive information to consumers. They really do not like it. Since last Spring alone, there have been nearly a half dozen different complaints by the FTC where the FTC describes the allegedly anticompetitive rules (often…
It used to be that when you went to the movies you would try to get there a little early to catch all the trailers. But if you got there too early there would be that awkward time in a half-lit movie theatre with the folks you were with (and maybe your cellphone) waiting for everything to start. In recent years the movie theatres have helped us out by having content on the screen all…
Yes, we’re a tease.  The Bureau Director and Commissioners do not have cameos in next month’s final installment of the Hobbit (and no, this is not strategically placed native advertising #notanad).  The Commission has taken a starring role in battling trolls of a much more human sort. The agency last week announced a settlement with several “patent assertion entities” (which some lovingly call trolls), including a Texas-based law firm.  The particular patent at issue…
In late November 2012, the FTC issued a notice that it was considering how to update its “Fred Meyer Guides.” Also at issue in that notice was whether the Guides were necessary at all. All of these questions were raised by the Commission as a result of changes in law (like the Supreme Court’s decision in Volvo Trucks v. Reeder-Simco), and in the economy (like, well, the Internet) since the last update to…
For those that have adjusted to the fact that the FTC and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice really do care if you agree with your competitors to not recruit each other’s employees (for which, see this recent reminder from DOJ involving E-Bay’s alleged involvement in the scheme among high-tech companies to avoid “poaching” each other’s employees), the FTC just settled an investigation of two ski manufacturers that allegedly agreed not to solicit…
What do music teachers, process servers, dentists, store planners, arbitrators, engineers, social workers and psychologists have in common? Answer: at one time or another each of these groups have gotten together in trade or professional associations and set up rules limiting the ability of members of the association to advertise or engage in competitive solicitation for customers. And also: in each case, the FTC has taken the association to court over those restrictions. The FTC’s…