In April we reviewed several new initiatives within the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) focused on eliminating “wasteful, legacy regulations and processes that have outlived their usefulness,” in the words of FTC Acting Chair Maureen K. Ohlhausen. As part of these initiatives, the FTC recently announced that its Bureau of Consumer Protection will be implementing “process reforms” for civil investigatory demands (CIDs), and they also could lighten the burden of responding in antitrust investigations.
According to the FTC’s press release, process reforms to be implemented by the Bureau of Consumer Protection include:
- Providing plain-language descriptions of the CID process and developing business education materials to help small businesses understand how to comply.
- Adding more detailed descriptions of the scope and purpose of investigations to give companies a better understanding of the information the agency seeks.
- Where appropriate, limiting the relevant time periods to minimize undue burden on companies.
- Where appropriate, significantly reducing the length and complexity of CID instructions for providing electronically stored data.
- Where appropriate, increasing response times for CIDs (for example, often 21 days to 30 days for targets, and 14 days to 21 days for third parties) to improve the quality and timeliness of recipient compliance.