Inverness Medical Innovations Settles FTC Charges That it Stifled Future Competition in U.S. Market for Consumer Pregnancy Tests

Inverness Medical Innovations, Inc., has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it acted illegally to maintain its monopoly on consumer pregnancy tests in the United States when it acquired certain assets of a smaller competitor, ACON Laboratories, Inc., and interfered with that company’s efforts to develop and supply new consumer pregnancy tests that would compete with Inverness’ products.

The consent order announced today requires Inverness to sell the consumer pregnancy test assets related to water-soluble dye technology that it acquired from ACON and to remove barriers to ACON’s supply of digital consumer pregnancy tests to Inverness’ competitor. The order also limits Inverness’ ability to interfere with future development and supply of digital consumer pregnancy tests.

“Through its actions Inverness removed two important competitive threats to its leading market position in consumer pregnancy tests,” said David P. Wales, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “The Commission’s action today clears the way for more vigorous competition in the future that will benefit consumers through lower prices and more innovation.”

With approximately a 70 percent market share, Inverness is the market leader for U.S. consumer pregnancy tests. Inverness sells several-brand name pregnancy tests, including Clearblue, Accu-Clear, and FactPlus. In 2006, Inverness acquired assets from ACON, including a consumer pregnancy test that ACON was developing based on water-soluble dye technology, and assets related to a digital consumer pregnancy test joint venture that ACON had entered into with another company, Church & Dwight Co., Inc. By buying these assets, Inverness could restrict the development of emerging products that would compete with Inverness’ consumer pregnancy tests.

According to the Commission’s complaint, Inverness acquired these assets from ACON to maintain its monopoly in the pregnancy test market, and acted illegally to stifle future competition from ACON’s joint venture with Church & Dwight in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.

The complaint charges that Inverness weakened future competition in two main respects. First, it charges that Inverness limited potential competition from digital consumer pregnancy test products by, among other things, 1) imposing a covenant not to compete on ACON, limiting the scope and duration of its joint venture with Church & Dwight; 2) requiring ACON to provide Inverness with all profits from the joint venture; and 3) acquiring rights to certain intellectual property developed by ACON and Church & Dwight during their joint venture. The FTC contends that through these actions, Inverness interfered with ACON’s ability and incentive to develop and manufacture digital consumer pregnancy tests. The consent order prevents Inverness from interfering with ACON and Church & Dwight’s joint venture, and will enable ACON and Church & Dwight to remain competitive after the joint venture ends.

Second, the complaint charges that Inverness engaged in unfair competition to maintain its monopoly when it bought, but did not use, ACON’s water-soluble dye consumer pregnancy test assets. At the time, ACON was one of the only firms developing consumer pregnancy tests using water-soluble dye technology. According to the FTC, the 2006 acquisition of these assets solidified Inverness’ monopoly, and kept that technology from being developed into products that would compete with Inverness’ consumer pregnancy tests. The consent requires Inverness to divest to Aemoh Products, LLC, assets related to ACON’s water-soluble dye product, including its water-soluble dye technology. Under the terms of the order, Inverness also will be prohibited from making infringement claims against certain lateral flow products that use its water-soluble dye technology.

The Commission vote to accept the complaint and consent order and place copies on the public record was 3-0, with Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour recused. The FTC will publish an announcement regarding the agreement in the Federal Register shortly. The complaint, consent order, and an analysis to aid public comment can be found now on the Commission’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/0610123/index.shtm.

The agreement will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing through January 20, 2009, after which the Commission will decide whether to make it final. Comments should be addressed to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, Room H-135, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. The FTC is requesting that any comment filed in paper form near the end of the public comment period be sent by courier or overnight
service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.

NOTE: A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission of a law violation. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of $11,000.

Copies of the documents related to this matter are available from the FTC’s web site at http://www.ftc.gov and the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action. To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to [email protected], or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Room 383, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read “Competition Counts” at http://www.ftc.gov/competitioncounts.

(FTC File No. 061-0123)
(Inverness.final.wpd)

Commission Approves Federal Register Notice Adjusting Civil Penalty Amounts

The FTC has approved a Federal Register notice amending Commission Rule 1.98 to adjust its civil penalty dollar amounts in accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (the Act). As detailed in the notice, which will be published shortly and is available now on the Commission’s Web site and as a link to this press release, the Act requires the FTC to make certain regulatory adjustments to civil penalty amounts within its jurisdiction at least once every four years. The Commission published the original adjustments in 1996, and in 2000 the law warranted no adjustments. The Commission also published adjustments to civil penalties under the Clayton Act and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act in 2004.

The notice amends Rule 1.98 to indicate the civil penalty adjustments made this year. Adjustments to the civil penalty amounts are based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) between June of the year in which the prior adjustment was made and June of the year before the current adjustment is being made. Using these percentage changes as appropriate, the FTC is adjusting civil penalty amounts as follows:

  • from $11,000 to $16,000 for civil penalties regarding premerger filing notification violations under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Improvements Act, section 7A(g)(1) of the Clayton Act;
  • from $6,500 to $7,500 for violations of cease-and-desist orders issued under section 11(l) of the Clayton Act;
  • from $11,000 to $16,000 for unfair or deceptive acts or practices under section 5(l) of the FTC Act;
  • from $11,000 to $16,000 for unfair or deceptive acts or practices under section 5(m)(1)(A) of the FTC Act;
  • from $11,000 to $16,000 for unfair or deceptive acts or practices under section 5(m)(1)(B) of the FTC Act;
  • from $6,500 to $7,500 for recycled oil labeling violations under section 525(a) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act;
  • from $11,000 to $16,000 for energy conservation violations under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, section 525(b); and
  • from $2,500 to $3,500 for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, section 621(a)(2).

The vote approving the Federal Register notice was 4-0. The changes will become effective 30 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register. (FTC File No. P859907; the staff contact is Kathleen R. Johnson, Office of General Counsel, 202-326-2869.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

(FYI 62.2008.wpd)

Commission Approves Federal Register Notice Adjusting Civil Penalty Amounts

The FTC has approved a Federal Register notice amending Commission Rule 1.98 to adjust its civil penalty dollar amounts in accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (the Act). As detailed in the notice, which will be published shortly and is available now on the Commission’s Web site and as a link to this press release, the Act requires the FTC to make certain regulatory adjustments to civil penalty amounts within its jurisdiction at least once every four years. The Commission published the original adjustments in 1996, and in 2000 the law warranted no adjustments. The Commission also published adjustments to civil penalties under the Clayton Act and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act in 2004.

The notice amends Rule 1.98 to indicate the civil penalty adjustments made this year. Adjustments to the civil penalty amounts are based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) between June of the year in which the prior adjustment was made and June of the year before the current adjustment is being made. Using these percentage changes as appropriate, the FTC is adjusting civil penalty amounts as follows:

  • from $11,000 to $16,000 for civil penalties regarding premerger filing notification violations under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Improvements Act, section 7A(g)(1) of the Clayton Act;
  • from $6,500 to $7,500 for violations of cease-and-desist orders issued under section 11(l) of the Clayton Act;
  • from $11,000 to $16,000 for unfair or deceptive acts or practices under section 5(l) of the FTC Act;
  • from $11,000 to $16,000 for unfair or deceptive acts or practices under section 5(m)(1)(A) of the FTC Act;
  • from $11,000 to $16,000 for unfair or deceptive acts or practices under section 5(m)(1)(B) of the FTC Act;
  • from $6,500 to $7,500 for recycled oil labeling violations under section 525(a) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act;
  • from $11,000 to $16,000 for energy conservation violations under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, section 525(b); and
  • from $2,500 to $3,500 for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, section 621(a)(2).

The vote approving the Federal Register notice was 4-0. The changes will become effective 30 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register. (FTC File No. P859907; the staff contact is Kathleen R. Johnson, Office of General Counsel, 202-326-2869.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

(FYI 62.2008.wpd)

FTC Files Comment with Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission About Retail Electricity Pricing and Customer Participation

The FTC has approved the filing of a comment with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PA PUC) concerning the PA PUC’s implementation plan for its Energy Efficiency and Conservation Program. The comment also replies to the November 18, 2008, presentation made by the Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA) at the PA PUC’s en banc hearing on demand-side response, energy efficiency, and conservation.

According to the FTC comment, dynamic power pricing and demand response involve customers in addressing electric power systems’ most pressing problems, and this has “the potential to enhance consumer welfare and increase economic efficiency at both the wholesale and retail levels.” The Commission commends the Pennsylvania Legislature and the PA PUC for taking the initiative on these important topics, and states that “[m]ore efficient pricing, advanced metering, and improvements in the technology used to determine when (and how much) energy is consumed are all critical to the future performance of the power industry in Pennsylvania and in the United States as whole.”

The comment states that while many of the specific questions proposed at the hearing pertained to Conservation Service Providers, the FTC recommends that these questions be framed in the context of empowering consumers to manage their peak and overall electric power consumption. The comment thus describes several aspects of encouraging demand-side participation, energy efficiency, and conservation as ways to deliver consumer benefits.

The comment also gives examples of how well-designed dynamic pricing and demand response programs can enlist consumers to help meet important challenges facing the power system.

The FTC summarizes its recommendations by stating that the PA PUC should: 1) encourage real-time or other dynamic pricing programs that increase economic efficiency; 2) urge utilities to design and market dynamic pricing programs that appeal to customers; 3) eliminate regulatory provisions that financially penalize power suppliers if they facilitate efficient dynamic pricing; 4) offer fair standby pricing policies for customers with onsite generation investments; and 5) advocate for demand response bid flexibility. The FTC comment states that “[d]ynamic pricing and demand response programs can be powerful tools to empower customers to help manage peak and overall load.”

The Commission vote approving the filing of the comment was 4-0. It was submitted to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on December 17, 2008. (FTC File No. V090001; the staff contact is John H. Seesel, Associate General Counsel for Energy, Office of the General Counsel, 202-326-2702.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

(FYI 62.2008.wpd)

FTC Files Comment with Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission About Retail Electricity Pricing and Customer Participation

The FTC has approved the filing of a comment with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PA PUC) concerning the PA PUC’s implementation plan for its Energy Efficiency and Conservation Program. The comment also replies to the November 18, 2008, presentation made by the Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA) at the PA PUC’s en banc hearing on demand-side response, energy efficiency, and conservation.

According to the FTC comment, dynamic power pricing and demand response involve customers in addressing electric power systems’ most pressing problems, and this has “the potential to enhance consumer welfare and increase economic efficiency at both the wholesale and retail levels.” The Commission commends the Pennsylvania Legislature and the PA PUC for taking the initiative on these important topics, and states that “[m]ore efficient pricing, advanced metering, and improvements in the technology used to determine when (and how much) energy is consumed are all critical to the future performance of the power industry in Pennsylvania and in the United States as whole.”

The comment states that while many of the specific questions proposed at the hearing pertained to Conservation Service Providers, the FTC recommends that these questions be framed in the context of empowering consumers to manage their peak and overall electric power consumption. The comment thus describes several aspects of encouraging demand-side participation, energy efficiency, and conservation as ways to deliver consumer benefits.

The comment also gives examples of how well-designed dynamic pricing and demand response programs can enlist consumers to help meet important challenges facing the power system.

The FTC summarizes its recommendations by stating that the PA PUC should: 1) encourage real-time or other dynamic pricing programs that increase economic efficiency; 2) urge utilities to design and market dynamic pricing programs that appeal to customers; 3) eliminate regulatory provisions that financially penalize power suppliers if they facilitate efficient dynamic pricing; 4) offer fair standby pricing policies for customers with onsite generation investments; and 5) advocate for demand response bid flexibility. The FTC comment states that “[d]ynamic pricing and demand response programs can be powerful tools to empower customers to help manage peak and overall load.”

The Commission vote approving the filing of the comment was 4-0. It was submitted to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on December 17, 2008. (FTC File No. V090001; the staff contact is John H. Seesel, Associate General Counsel for Energy, Office of the General Counsel, 202-326-2702.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

(FYI 62.2008.wpd)

FTC Issues Third Interim Report to Congresson Results of Studies Required by FACT Act

For Your Information

The Federal Trade Commission has issued an interim report to Congress under Section 319 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, which requires the FTC to study the accuracy and completeness of information in consumers’ credit reports and to consider methods for improving the accuracy and completeness of such information. The requirement includes five interim reports (every two years from December 2004) and a final report in 2014. The current report (attached) is the third interim report.

The previous interim report to Congress (December 2006) reviewed the results of an initial pilot study designed for testing a potential methodology for a nationwide survey, and it proposed a second pilot study to address certain problems uncovered in the first study. In both pilot studies, randomly selected consumers reviewed their credit reports with an expert to identify potential errors, and then disputed potential errors that the expert believed could have a material effect on their credit standing. The current report explains the methodological improvements tested in this second pilot study. As a next step, in 2009 FTC staff plans to submit a proposal, subject to approval by the Office of Management and Budget, for a nationwide study assessing credit report accuracy.

The Commission’s goal is to conduct a nationwide survey of credit reports that is based on a nationally representative sample, uses a reliable method for identifying errors and omissions, and categorizes errors by type and seriousness in terms of potential consumer harm. The Commission vote authorizing staff to issue the report to Congress was 4-0.

(FACTA accuracy)
(FTC File No. P044804)

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Frank Dorman,
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2674
STAFF CONTACT:
Peter J. Vander Nat,
Bureau of Economics
202-326-3518

FTC Issues Third Interim Report to Congresson Results of Studies Required by FACT Act

For Your Information

The Federal Trade Commission has issued an interim report to Congress under Section 319 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, which requires the FTC to study the accuracy and completeness of information in consumers’ credit reports and to consider methods for improving the accuracy and completeness of such information. The requirement includes five interim reports (every two years from December 2004) and a final report in 2014. The current report (attached) is the third interim report.

The previous interim report to Congress (December 2006) reviewed the results of an initial pilot study designed for testing a potential methodology for a nationwide survey, and it proposed a second pilot study to address certain problems uncovered in the first study. In both pilot studies, randomly selected consumers reviewed their credit reports with an expert to identify potential errors, and then disputed potential errors that the expert believed could have a material effect on their credit standing. The current report explains the methodological improvements tested in this second pilot study. As a next step, in 2009 FTC staff plans to submit a proposal, subject to approval by the Office of Management and Budget, for a nationwide study assessing credit report accuracy.

The Commission’s goal is to conduct a nationwide survey of credit reports that is based on a nationally representative sample, uses a reliable method for identifying errors and omissions, and categorizes errors by type and seriousness in terms of potential consumer harm. The Commission vote authorizing staff to issue the report to Congress was 4-0.

(FACTA accuracy)
(FTC File No. P044804)

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Frank Dorman,
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2674
STAFF CONTACT:
Peter J. Vander Nat,
Bureau of Economics
202-326-3518

FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies

The Federal Trade Commission and the Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic at the University of Washington School of Law will host a conference on the use of digital rights management technologies, a widespread practice that is expected to become increasingly prevalent in the U.S. marketplace in the coming years.

Digital rights management (DRM) refers to technologies typically used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, and copyright holders to attempt to control how consumers access and use media and entertainment content. Among other issues, the workshop will address the need to improve disclosures to consumers about DRM limitations.

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
WHERE: William H. Gates Hall, Room 133
University of Washington Law School
15th Avenue NE & NE 43rd Street
Seattle, Washington
Directions: http://www.law.washington.edu/About/Direction.aspx
AGENDA: Opening remarks; demonstrations of DRM-related technology; panel discussions regarding burdens on, and benefits for, consumers, and other market and legal issues involving DRM; a review of industry best practices; and consideration of the need for government involvement to better protect consumers.

The Commission invites interested parties to submit requests to be panelists and to recommend other topics for discussion. The requests should be submitted electronically to [email protected] by February 9, 2009. Interested parties should include both a statement detailing their expertise on the issues to be addressed at the Town Hall, and complete contact information. The Commission will select panelists based on their expertise and on the need to represent a range of views.

Interested parties may submit written comments or original research until February 9, 2009. Comments should refer to “DRM Town Hall – Comment, Project No. P094502.” To file electronically, follow the instructions and fill out the form at https://secure.commentworks.com/ftc-DRMtechnologies. Paper comments should include this reference both in the text and on the envelope, and should be mailed or delivered to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-135 (Annex A), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Comments containing confidential material, however, must be filed in paper form, must be clearly labeled “Confidential,” and must comply with Commission Rule 4.9(c). The FTC is requesting that any paper comments be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because postal mail in the Washington area and the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.

The Town Hall is free, and open to the university community and all members of the public. Pre-registration is not required. Members of the public and press who wish to participate but who cannot attend can view a live webcast on the FTC’s Web site.

Information about accessibility for persons with disabilities on the UW campus is available at https://www.washington.edu/admin/ada/newada.php. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests should be submitted via e-mail to [email protected] or by calling Carrie McGlothlin at 202-326-3388. Requests should be made in advance. Please include a detailed description of the accommodation needed, and provide contact information.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

(DRM FYI.wpd)

FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies

The Federal Trade Commission and the Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic at the University of Washington School of Law will host a conference on the use of digital rights management technologies, a widespread practice that is expected to become increasingly prevalent in the U.S. marketplace in the coming years.

Digital rights management (DRM) refers to technologies typically used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, and copyright holders to attempt to control how consumers access and use media and entertainment content. Among other issues, the workshop will address the need to improve disclosures to consumers about DRM limitations.

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
WHERE: William H. Gates Hall, Room 133
University of Washington Law School
15th Avenue NE & NE 43rd Street
Seattle, Washington
Directions: http://www.law.washington.edu/About/Direction.aspx
AGENDA: Opening remarks; demonstrations of DRM-related technology; panel discussions regarding burdens on, and benefits for, consumers, and other market and legal issues involving DRM; a review of industry best practices; and consideration of the need for government involvement to better protect consumers.

The Commission invites interested parties to submit requests to be panelists and to recommend other topics for discussion. The requests should be submitted electronically to [email protected] by February 9, 2009. Interested parties should include both a statement detailing their expertise on the issues to be addressed at the Town Hall, and complete contact information. The Commission will select panelists based on their expertise and on the need to represent a range of views.

Interested parties may submit written comments or original research until February 9, 2009. Comments should refer to “DRM Town Hall – Comment, Project No. P094502.” To file electronically, follow the instructions and fill out the form at https://secure.commentworks.com/ftc-DRMtechnologies. Paper comments should include this reference both in the text and on the envelope, and should be mailed or delivered to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-135 (Annex A), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Comments containing confidential material, however, must be filed in paper form, must be clearly labeled “Confidential,” and must comply with Commission Rule 4.9(c). The FTC is requesting that any paper comments be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because postal mail in the Washington area and the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.

The Town Hall is free, and open to the university community and all members of the public. Pre-registration is not required. Members of the public and press who wish to participate but who cannot attend can view a live webcast on the FTC’s Web site.

Information about accessibility for persons with disabilities on the UW campus is available at https://www.washington.edu/admin/ada/newada.php. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests should be submitted via e-mail to [email protected] or by calling Carrie McGlothlin at 202-326-3388. Requests should be made in advance. Please include a detailed description of the accommodation needed, and provide contact information.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

(DRM FYI.wpd)

Economics Director Michael Baye to Leave FTC

Federal Trade Commission Chairman William E. Kovacic announced today that Michael R. Baye, director of the Bureau of Economics for the past year and a half, will leave the FTC on December 31 to return to Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business to continue his role as professor of business economics and public policy. The director serves as the agency’s chief economist, supervises economic analysis at the Commission, and advises the Commission on economic policy matters.

“I am grateful to Mike for his exceptional work at the FTC, his excellent service, and his outstanding achievements. Mike ensured that the FTC made investments in building knowledge that will serve this agency well for decades to come. We have benefitted greatly from his expertise and his insight, his leadership in much of our policy work, and his invaluable guidance in our litigation matters,” Chairman Kovacic said. “We are most fortunate that Pauline Ippolito will take over as Acting Director of the Bureau.”

Since 1997, Baye has served as the Bert Elwert Professor of Business Economics in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. His previous appointments include tenured academic positions at Penn State University and Texas A&M University, and visiting appointments at Cambridge and Oxford universities in the United Kingdom. Baye also has served as an independent consultant on a variety of antitrust and pricing matters for the U.S. Department of Justice, the Canadian Competition Bureau, and private clients ranging from small Internet companies to Fortune 500 firms.

Baye’s academic research applies tools from game theory and industrial organization to examine the impact of various business strategies on consumer welfare and firm profits. His studies of pricing strategies in online and other environments where consumers search for price information have been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Fulbright Commission; published in leading economics and marketing journals such as the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Management Science, and the Journal of Political Economy; and featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and The New York Times. His research on mergers, auctions, and innovation has been published in such journals as the American Economic Review, the Review of Economic Studies, the Economic Journal, and the Journal of Competition Law & Economics.

While at the FTC, Baye promoted effective interaction of economists in the Bureau of
Economics with attorneys in the Bureaus of Competition and Consumer Protection, ensuring that the Bureau’s economic analysis in support of the FTC’s missions was analytically sound and effectively communicated. He was also the public face of the Bureau and traveled extensively to communicate the FTC’s work through speeches, interviews, writings, and personal outreach to lawyers, economists, the general public, foreign antitrust authorities, universities, and other government agencies. Baye’s expertise in the economics of the Internet was of particular value as the Commission analyzed the Google/DoubleClick merger and other antitrust matters involving the online marketplace, as well as in assessing the policy ramifications of various regulations directed at online behavioral advertising.

During Baye’s tenure, the Bureau sponsored a conference on consumer information and the mortgage market that highlighted and assessed the role of consumer information in the current mortgage crisis from an economic perspective. Baye also enhanced the policy research of the Bureau by establishing and holding the first annual Microeconomics Conference (co-sponsored with Northwestern University’s Searle Center and its Center for the Study of Industrial Organization) to bring together academic scholars working in industrial organization, information economics, game theory, quantitative marketing, consumer behavior, and other areas related to the FTC’s antitrust and consumer protection missions.

Ippolito, a nationally recognized scholar, has held a variety of management and staff positions while serving the FTC with distinction for 30 years. She received the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive, the highest award available to a government executive, for her contributions to improving consumer protection policy for the nation.

Ippolito’s research documents the effects of consumer policy choices on business behavior and consumer welfare. Her work on major policy initiatives has led to improvements in policies for the agency and the nation, as demonstrated by her work on health claims in food advertising and labeling. Her research on resale price maintenance led to changes in antitrust policy, which ultimately has been reflected in Supreme Court jurisprudence. Ippolito has a PhD from Northwestern University.

The Bureau of Economics assists the Commission in evaluating the economic impact of its antitrust and consumer protection actions. The Bureau’s analytical work provides economic advice for enforcement actions, working closely with the bureaus of Competition and Consumer Protection; studies the effects of legislative options and regulations as part of the advocacy program coordinated by the Office of Policy Planning; and analyzes market issues to create economic reports and recommendations on various markets and industries.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

(BE Changes 08)