The FTC Complaint against Intel Corporation: Implications for Consumer Protection

Maureen Ohlhausen, Apr 19, 2010

The Federal Trade Commission’s controversial complaint against Intel Corporation contains much that will keep antitrust experts busy litigating, writing law review articles, and conducting conferences for many years to come. Beyond the fine points of antitrust law, however, the FTC’s action has three important aspects that will likely have equally significant implications for consumer protection law and which may affect any business subject to the FTC’s broad jurisdiction over commercial conduct. The FTC’s expansive interpretation of Section 5 of the FTC Act coupled with the proposed strengthening of the FTC’s remedial authority currently pending in Congress; the corrective advertising remedy it seeks; and the truncated process it followed in bringing the complaint all signal extraordinary changes in the FTC’s approach that may have far-reaching effects for American business. The Washington Post neatly summarized these concerns in a recent editorial that observed “the agency’s actions are aggressive and potentially worrisome” and its proposed remedies are “disconcertingly intrusive.”