How the FTC Could Beat Google
Robert H. Lande
University of Baltimore - School of Law
Jonathan L. Rubin
affiliation not provided to SSRN
CPI Antitrust Chronicle, October 2012 (1), pp. 2-3
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is rumored to be deciding whether to bring a “pure Section 5” case against Google as a result of complaints that the company unfairly favors its own offerings over those of its rivals in its search results. But the case will fail miserably at the hands of a reviewing court and the agency will be confined to relatively non-controversial enforcement violations if the FTC fails to impose upon itself a tightly bounded and constrained legal framework that contains clear limiting principles. The only way a court will allow the FTC to pursue a pure Section 5 theory against Google would be if the agency constrains itself with a coherent principle of competitive harm: the consumer choice framework.
This brief piece only summarizes the underlying issues. Readers interested in more information about the expansive use of Section 5 of the FTC Act should consult http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1562727. Readers interested in more information about the Consumer Choice approach to competition and consumer protection law should consult http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1121459.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 3
Keywords: Google, Federal Trade Commission, Section 5, unfair methods of competition, antitrust, FTC, search engines, consumer choice framework, consumer protection law
JEL Classification: K21, K29, K39, K49, L41, L49
Date posted: October 18, 2012