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On July 21, 2014, the FTC announced plans to settle charges with two Internet resellers of Universal Product Code barcodes accused of violating Section 5 of the FTC Act by inviting competitors to collude. The case reflects a continuing trend of government enforcement in this area and underscores the FTC’s view that simply proposing terms of coordinating competitive actions violates Section 5.
The FDA recently issued several draft guidance documents to assist manufacturers with their product communications via social media. While the documents acknowledge the unique characteristics of certain social media platforms and the need for some flexibility in promotional communications, the FDA will continue to apply traditional regulatory requirements as much as possible — an approach that manufacturers may find too restrictive when trying to utilize the Internet to market their products.
On July 15, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that President Obama and CFIUS unconstitutionally deprived Ralls Corporation of its property rights by forcing it to divest that property for national security reasons without first providing adequate due process. The court’s precedent-setting decision may add a new layer of uncertainty to CFIUS processes, impact both applicants’ rights and committee procedures, and increase the number of tactical decisions involved in preparing for a CFIUS review.
On July 1, 2014, the U.S. government issued the latest in a series of ongoing reforms to the U.S. export controls on defense articles, defense services and “dual-use” items. The latest changes affect a broad range of items that previously had been categorized as “military electronics” under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and have a number of important implications for companies that sell or otherwise engage in transactions involving the affected items.
On July 9, 2014, the European Commission published a white paper outlining the approach it intends to adopt with respect to the application of the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of minority shareholdings and the EU member state referral system. While the proposals relating to minority shareholdings likely will raise the administrative burden on businesses compared to the current system, the suggested changes to the referral system should be viewed as welcome news by companies. The public consultation related to EU merger reform remains open until October 3, 2014.
The CFTC has further extended the comment periods for its 2013 proposals concerning position limits aggregation and position limits for physical commodity derivatives. Comments will be accepted through August 4, 2014.