Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION TO HOLD

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

From the press release:

The Department of Justice and the  Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced today that they will hold a joint public workshop on  most-favored-nation clauses (MFNs) on Sept.10, 2012, to explore the use of MFN clauses and the implications  for antitrust enforcement and policy. 

The most commonly used MFN  provisions guarantee a customer that it will receive prices that are at least  as favorable as those provided to other buyers of the same seller, for the same  products or services.  Although at times employed for benign  purposes, MFNs can under certain circumstances present competitive  concerns.  This is because they may, especially when used by a dominant  buyer of intermediate goods, raise other buyers’ costs or foreclose would-be  competitors from accessing the market.  Additionally,  MFNs can facilitate collusion and stabilize coordinated pricing among sellers.

The workshop will offer an  opportunity for businesses, academics, economists, lawyers and other interested  parties to consider the use of MFNs and the legal and economic analyses of  these provisions.  The workshop will  consist of a series of panels examining, among other topics, the legal  treatment of MFNs, economic theories concerning MFNs and why they are used, and  industry experiences with MFNs.   Panelists for the workshop will include private attorneys, economists  and industry representatives.

The Department of Justice and the  FTC are interested in receiving comments on MFNs, and will accept written  submissions from the public before the workshop and until Oct.10, 2012, 30 days  after the event.  Interested parties may  submit public comments to ATR.LPS-MFNPublicWorkshop@usdoj.gov.  Submitted comments will be made publicly  available on the Department of Justice and FTC websites.

The all-day workshop is free and  open to the public.  Individuals are  encouraged, but not required, to register in advance for the workshop by  sending an email to ATR.LPS-MFNWorkshopRSVP@usdoj.gov.  Please include “RSVP” in the subject  line.  Seating will be on a first-come,  first-serve basis. 

The workshop will take place at the  FTC's satellite conference center at 601 New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington, DC from  9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 10, 2012.   It will include the following panels and presentations:

Economic  Theories of MFNs: Harms and Efficiencies

Presenters
      Jonathan  Baker, Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law
      Judith A. Chevalier, William  S. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Economics, Yale
           School of Management

Moderators
      Robert  Majure, Economics Director of Enforcement, Antitrust Division, U.S.
           Department of Justice
      Daniel  O’Brien, Senior Economic Policy Advisor,  Federal Trade Commission

Empirical Evidence on Effects of MFNs

Presenter
      Ramsey  Shehadah, Senior Vice President, NERA Consulting

Panel 
      Jonathan  Baker, Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law
      Judith A. Chevalier, William  S. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Economics, Yale
           School  of Management
      Ramsey  Shehadah, Senior Vice President, NERA Economic Consulting

Moderators
      Robert  Majure, Economics Director of Enforcement, Antitrust Division, U.S.
           Department of Justice
      Daniel  O’Brien, Senior Economic Policy Advisor,  Federal Trade Commission   

Legal Treatment of MFNs

Panel
      Doug  Anderson, Of Counsel, Bailey Cavalieri LLC
      Andrew I.  Gavil, Incoming Director, Office of Policy Planning, Federal Trade
           Commission
      Elai Katz,  Partner, Cahill, Gordon & Reindel LLP
      Janet L.  McDavid, Partner, Hogan Lovells

Moderator
      Peter J.  Levitas, Deputy Director, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission

Lunchtime SpeechNelson  Jung, Director, Markets and Projects, U.K. Office of Fair Trading

MFNs: From Theory to the Real World

Panel
      W. Thomas  McGough Jr., Senior Vice President & Chief Legal Officer, University of 
           Pittsburgh Medical Center
      Murray N. Ross,  Ph.D., Vice President & Director, Institute of Health Policy, Kaiser 
           Permanente
      Melissa A. Scanlan, Director, Legal  Affairs, T-Mobile USA, Inc
      John  Thorne, Partner, Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel PLLC           
      Mark D.  Whitener, Senior Counsel, General Electric Co.

Moderator
      Martha S.  Samuelson, President & CEO, Analysis Group Inc.

Moving Forward – How Has Thinking about MFNs Evolved and Where Might It  Go?

Panel
      David I.  Gelfand, Partner, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP
      Jonathan M. Jacobson, Partner,  Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati
      Joseph  Kattan, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
      Steven C.  Salop, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Moderator
      Renata  Hesse, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Enforcement, Antitrust
           Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Directions to the FTC’s Conference Center are available at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/transportationguide.shtml.

Reasonable accommodations for people with  disabilities are available upon request. Requests should be submitted via email  to skonstandt@ftc.gov or by calling Samantha Konstandt at 202-326-3348. Requests should be made in  advance. Please include a detailed description of the accommodation needed, and  provide contact information.

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