The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today issued a statement of principles on enforcement of its "unfair competition" authority under section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. Four commissioners voted for the statement, and one commissioner dissented.
Go here to get all of the agency's info on the topic.
The agency summarized its statement as follows:
In deciding whether to challenge an act or practice as an unfair method of competition in violation of Section 5 on a standalone basis, the Commission adheres to the following principles:
• the Commission will be guided by the public policy underlying the antitrust laws, namely, the promotion of consumer welfare;
• the act or practice will be evaluated under a framework similar to the rule of reason, that is, an act or practice challenged by the Commission must cause, or be likely to cause, harm to competition or the competitive process, taking into account any associated cognizable efficiencies and business justifications; and
•the Commission is less likely to challenge an act or practice as an unfair method of competition on a standalone basis if enforcement of the Sherman or Clayton Act is sufficient to address the competitive harm
arising from the act or practice.
Section 5(a)(1) of the Federal Trade Commission Act provides:
Unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, are hereby declared unlawful. (emphasis added)
The statement of principles concerns the FTC's enforcement of its power under the italicized language.