Professor Tim Wu Testifies About FTC Enforcement at Senate Hearing

Antitrust Expert Says Section 5 Competition Protection Does Not Cause Undo Confusion

 New York, April 5, 2016—The Federal Trade Commission’s Section 5 is accomplishing its goal of protecting competition without creating unpredictability in enforcement, Columbia Law School Professor Tim Wu told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights today.

“I think Section 5 has grown to provide an important protection for competition,” Wu testified. “I also think it does so without introducing a level of uncertainty that is exceptional for antitrust law or the American legal system in general.”

Wu, who served as a senior adviser to the Federal Trade Commission in 2011 and 2012, said that the once-wide-ranging Section 5, which prohibits unfair or deceptive practices in interstate commerce, has been narrowed sufficiently to target particularly “extraordinary and nefarious” examples of fraud.

“There have, after all, only been a small handful of Section 5 complaints issued over the last decade,” Wu told the subcommittee. “Hence, the notion that there is any kind of crisis of Section 5 over-enforcement is exaggerated at best.”

Read the testimony here.

The hearing was titled “Section 5 and ‘Unfair Methods of Competition’: Protecting Competition or Increasing Uncertainty?”