Call for Submissions on FTC UMC Rulemaking Authority

Truth on the Market will host a virtual symposium, starting April 25, on the limits of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) rulemaking authority over unfair methods of competition (UMC). This symposium will be the first to incorporate a “new voices” writing competition: early-career scholars are encouraged to submit contributions. Winners, who will be selected by a panel of former FTC officials, will be published as part of the symposium. A first prize of $2,500 will be awarded to the best contribution, as selected by this panel.

The Limits of FTC UMC Rulemaking Symposium

There is widespread interest in the potential tools that the Biden administration FTC may use to address a range of competition-related and competition-adjacent concerns. Among other issues, there have been indications that the FTC may use its broad UMC authority under Section 5 of the FTC Act to make rules that address a wide range of conduct.

The symposium will feature contributions of 1,500 to 4,000 words discussing these issues, and written by academics, practitioners, and former agency officials. Sample topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • Constitutional limits on UMC rulemaking: does such rulemaking potentially present “major question” or delegation issues? If so, what is the scope of permissible rulemaking?
  • Substantive issues in UMC rulemaking: costs and benefits to be considered, prudential concerns, and the like.
  • Using UMC to address competition-adjacent issues: there is lots of discussion about how or whether to use the FTC’s UMC authority to address firm conduct that is governed by other statutory or regulatory regimes. For instance, firms using copyright law and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to limit competitors’ ability to alter or repair products, or labor or entry issues that might be governed by licensure or similar laws.

Examples of past TOTM symposia are available here.

‘New Voices’ Writing Competition

We are happy to announce an open call for symposium submissions as part of a “new voices” writing competition. The competition is open to any untenured academic or aspiring academic (including students and fellows). Submissions should be lightly formatted and lightly footnoted and submitted as a Word or Google Doc document; hyperlinks instead of footnotes are strongly encouraged.

Submissions and questions should be sent to both Gus Hurwitz ([email protected]) and Keith Fierro Benson ([email protected]). Please submit your contribution by Tuesday, April 19.

“New Voices” submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges comprising former FTC officials. Judges will both select papers for inclusion in the symposium and select the best submission, the author of which will receive a $2,500 prize.