Stay current on the latest developments from agencies including the CFPB, Federal Reserve, FDIC, and OCC to advise clients on real-life regulatory situations.
Conservative antitrust scholar Alden Abbott has been named acting general counsel of the Federal Trade Commission, the agency said April 2.
Abbott had served since 2014 as deputy director of the right-leaning Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. He criticized the FTC’s decision during the final days of the Obama administration to sue Qualcomm Inc. for anticompetitive patent licensing practices.
The Qualcomm suit can be withdrawn by a majority of commissioners. However, the FTC’s two sitting members — Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen and Democratic commissioner Terrell McSweeny — are deadlocked on the case, which means it continues for now.
“If commissioners were trying to decide how to proceed with a case, they might seek advice from the general counsel, but there’s no reason to think that a 1-1 split commission is going to be considering any such changes, especially with new commissioners on the way,” Stephen Calkins, an antitrust law professor at Wayne State University and former FTC general counsel, told Bloomberg Law.
President Donald Trump has announced five new FTC nominees. Three commission spots are vacant, and Ohlhausen and McSweeny are expected to leave.
The FTC’s general counsel represents the agency in court and provides legal counsel to the commission and its bureaus and offices. Abbott replaces David Shonka, who announced March 26 that he is stepping down to join a private law practice.
“With his considerable knowledge and experience, he will contribute significantly to the continued effectiveness of this agency in protecting American consumers,” Ohlhausen said in a statement about Abbott.
Abbott has previously served multiple roles at the FTC, including assistant director of the Bureau of Competition. In addition, he has served as director of patent and antitrust strategy for BlackBerry Ltd, chief counsel for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and counselor to the general counsel of the Commerce Department.
Both Ohlhausen and Abbott have criticized the legal theories used to bring the Qualcomm suit, which accuses the company of violating antitrust laws by employing abusive patent licensing tactics.
“The FTC simply cannot afford any more embarrassing and ill-reasoned antitrust initiatives that undermine basic principles of American antitrust enforcement and may be used by foreign competition authorities to justify unwarranted actions against American firms,” Abbott said in a January 2017 blog post.
The case is pending before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
To contact the reporter on this story: Alexei Alexis in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at email@example.com
Copyright © 2018 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)