Fresenius AG; Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Orders To Aid Public Comment
The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of Federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices or unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent orderembodied in the consent agreementthat would settle these allegations.
Consumer Benefits and Harms: How Best to Distinguish Aggressive, Pro-Consumer Competition From Business Conduct To Attain or Maintain a Monopoly
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will hold a series of public Hearings to explore how best to identify anticompetitive exclusionary conduct for purposes of antitrust enforcement under section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 2. Among other things, the Hearings will examine whether and when specific types of conduct that potentially implicate section 2 are procompetitive or benign, and when they may harm competition and consumer welfare. The Agencies expect to focus on legal doctrines and jurisprudence, economic research, and business and consumer experiences. To begin, the Agencies are soliciting public comment from lawyers, economists, the business community, consumer groups, academics (including business historians), and other interested parties on two general subjects: (1) The legal and economic principles relevant to the application of section 2, including the administrability of current or potential antitrust rules for section 2, and (2) the types of business practices that the Agencies should examine in the upcoming Hearings, including examples of real-world conduct that potentially raise issues under section 2. With respect to the Agencies' request for examples of real- world conduct, the Agencies are soliciting discussions of the business reasons for, and the actual or likely competitive effects of, such conduct, including actual or likely efficiencies and the theoretical underpinnings that inform the decision of whether the conduct had or has pro-or anticompetitive effects. The Agencies will solicit additional submissions about the topics to be covered at the individual Hearings at the time that each Hearing is announced. The Agencies encourage submissions from business persons from a variety of unregulated and regulated markets, recognizing that market participants can offer unique insight into how competition works and that the implications of various business practices may differ depending on the industry context and market structure. The Agencies seek this practical input to provide a real-world foundation of knowledge from which to draw as the Hearings progress. Respondents are encouraged to respond on the basis of their actual experiences. The goal of these Hearings is to promote dialogue, learning, and consensus building among all interested parties with respect to the appropriate legal analysis of conduct under section 2 of the Sherman Act, both for purposes of law enforcement and to provide practical guidance to businesses on antitrust compliance. The FTC and the DOJ plan to hold two to four days of Hearings per month between June and December 2006, exclusive of August 2006. The Agencies plan to publish a more detailed description of the topics to be discussed before each Hearing and to solicit additional submissions about each topic. The Hearings will be transcribed and placed on the public record. Any written comments received also will be placed on the public record. A public report that incorporates the results of the Hearings, as well as other research, will be prepared after the Hearings.