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FTC commissioner discusses global competition at Heath lecture

Published: March 21st, 2011

Category: News

FTC Commissioner William E. Kovacic delivered the second Bayard Wickliffe Heath Memorial Lecture on March 14. He has served as an FTC commissioner since 2006.

Federal Trade Commission Commissioner William E. Kovacic discussed global competition policy standards at this spring’s Bayard Wickliffe Heath Memorial Lecture.

The March 14 lecture titled “From Dominance to Oligopoly: The United States and the Future Development of Global Competition Policy Standards” was the second in the Heath lecture series.

As a law student at Columbia University in the 1970s, Kovacic decided to pursue a career in international competition law after he was advised to “never go into a field that would have no practical significance.” How times have changed, Kovacic said. The period of the U.S. monopoly of the laws ended in the late 1980s with the European merger creation. Now, he reports that 120 countries have competition laws.

The United States’ best opportunity to remain a major player in the field of international competition law is to develop better ideas, Kovacic said. “Dominance no longer permits the United States to set global standards, and it will have to use persuasion.”

Kovacic also recommended future collaborations with institutions of higher education to utilize the country’s national advantage of its large resource of academic centers and think tanks.

Kovacic has served as an FTC commissioner since 2006 and as chairman from March 2008 to March 2009. He was previously FTC’s general counsel. His experience includes teaching at the George Mason University School of Law and the George Washington University Law School. In addition to practicing antitrust and government contracts law, Kovacic served on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust and Monopoly Subcommittee.

The Heath Memorial Lecture Series was made possible by a gift from Inez Heath, Ph.D., widow of Bayard “Wick” Heath. Before his death in 2008, Heath was the senior competition consultant with Info Tech, a Gainesville firm specializing in statistical and econometric consulting, expert witness testimony and antitrust law.

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