Is FTC Exposing Businesses to Antitrust Suits with “Voluntary” Food Advertising Limit Proposal?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has supported industry self-regulation, especially in the area of advertising. Why wouldn’t it, considering that trade associations or organizations such as the Better Business Bureau can create and enforce standards in a more timely fashion (and without First Amendment concerns) than government can? But, as FTC Commissioner Julie Brill wrote earlier this year in a Competition Policy International article, self-regulation can provoke antitrust concerns:

When competitors form a trade association to self-regulate, and collectively have a dominant position in the marketplace, the risk of competitive concerns grows, and the conduct must be closely examined.”

Are these concerns alleviated when the Commission itself issues “guidelines” or “reports” which encourage “voluntary” self-regulation? They are not, a reality which has unfortunately escaped much consideration in the debate over the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children‘s draft report to Congress. A situation analogous to what the food and beverage industries could be facing recently arose in another advertising context – online behavioral advertising. Continue reading “Is FTC Exposing Businesses to Antitrust Suits with “Voluntary” Food Advertising Limit Proposal?”

“Future of Class Actions” Symposium Over at SCOTUSblog

Our friends over at SCOTUSblog announced yesterday the initiation of an online symposium on the future of class actions. The first analysis appeared today, and future posts will be provided by other experts, including past Washington Legal Foundation paper authors or program speakers Andrew Trask, Russ Jackson, and Ted Frank.  We hope you join us in closely following the debate at SCOTUSblog.