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Zimmerman's Research Guide


Federal Trade Commission

The FTC administers Federal antitrust and consumer protection laws. The FTC's Web address is www.ftc.gov.

The following explains where you'll find selected FTC materials.

Actions: "Documents, complaints, decisions and orders, final orders, etc." from FTC lawsuits are posted on the FTC Web site actions back to 1996 (www.ftc.gov/os/index.shtml).

See also "Complaints," "Decisions," and "Orders," below in this entry.

Advisory Opinions: The FTC Advisory Opinions page has both Antitrust and Consumer Protection "Staff Opinion" letters.

FTC Opinion Letters are published in Federal Trade Commission Decisions back to in 1915. Federal Trade Commission Decisions is searchable back to 1946 (Volume 49) on Lexis (ADMIN;FTC) and Westlaw (FATR-FTC).

Westlaw's has individual databases for FTC Closing and other Opinion Letters (FTC-CPLETTERS), Fair Credit Reporting Act Staff Opinions (FTC-FCRASO) and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Opinion Letters (FTC-FDCPOP).

Briefs: Recent amicus briefs filed by the Federal Trade Commission are posted on the FTC Web site (www.ftc.gov/policy/advocacy/amicus-briefs).

Complaints: FTC antitrust-related complaints are published in volumes at the end of the CCH Trade Regulation Reporter. They are also available on Lexis (TRADE;FTC) back to January 1990. See also "Actions," above and "Decisions," below in this entry.

Consent Agreements and Consent Orders: The FTC puts out "proposed consent agreements" and "proposed consent orders" and that parties can use to settle their trade cases. I believe they are also called "consent decrees." Many of these agreements / orders / decrees are published in the Federal Register. I believe they are also published along with FTC analysis in Federal Trade Commission Decisions starting with volume 129. Consent agreements are searchable on Lexis (TRADE;CNSENT) and Westlaw. Selected consent decrees are published in the CCH Business Franchise Guide (available through Intelliconnect)

Decisions: FTC Administrative Law Judge Decisions are published in Federal Trade Commission Decisions, starting in 1915; they are posted on the FTC Web site starting in 1969 (volume 75). Formal and informal decisions are searchable on Lexis (TRADE;FTC) and Westlaw (FATR-FTC), both back to 1946 (Volume 49).

Note: These Decisions are generally comprised of a "Complaint" and an "Order," so see also "Actions," "Complaints" and "Orders" sections in this entry.

Formal Interpretations: Companies can ask the FTC to publish formal or informal interpretations clarifying specific aspects of its Hart-Scott-Rodino rules (under 16 CFR 803.30). The "Formal Interpretations" issued by the FTC in response to these requests are posted on the FTC Web site (www.ftc.gov/bc/hsr/frmlintrps).

Litigation Status: The FTC posts a status report for pending Federal trade cases.

News: The FTC posts FTC-related news, speeches, etc. in its online Newsroom. For an outside perspective, read FTC Watch (subscription only).

Operating Manual: The FTC operating manual is an internal FTC document that explains procedures for various "stages in the progress of cases, other Commission activities or functions, or general information of use to the staff." The Manual is posted on the FTC Administrative Staff Manuals page in the FOIA section of the FTC website. I have heard the Manual has not gotten much attention in the since the 2000s and may not contain all curret procedures.

Orders: FTC antitrust-related orders are published in volumes at the end of the CCH Trade Regulation Reporter. Orders issued since 1996 are posted with the relevant Action by case name and date. See also the "Actions" and "Decisions" sections, above in this entry.

In addition, FTC Orders are searchable on Lexis (TRADE;FTC) back to January 1990.

Rules and Guides: FTC Rules are published in Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 0 to 999. Click here for the current Rules. See the "Code of Federal Regulations" entry for commercial and historical editions of the CFR.

Unpublished Materials: Westlaw's FATR-FTC database includes unpublished FTC documents going back to 1984.

See Also
Antitrust Law
Fair Credit Reporting Act
Federal Register
Mergers and Acquisitions

For comments, questions and suggestions, email the author
Copyright 2015 Andrew Zimmerman