Axon says FTC is not eligible to hear anti-trust proceedings

on Jan 5, 2020
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
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  • Axon says antitrust proceedings should be handled in a federal court and not by FTC.
  • Axon denies all claims of its acquisition deal with Vievu being anticompetitive.
  • Axon is adamant about not accepting any "settlement" offered by the FTC.
  • Axon accuses the FTC of threatening full-fledged law proceeding if the company doesn't unwind its acquisition of Vievu.
  • Axon says giving FTC the right to prosecute as well as judge is against the U.S constitution.

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Axon Enterprise Inc. said that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission should not be eligible to hear antitrust proceedings and such cases should be handled in a federal court. The police camera maker has sued the FTC on Friday saying that the antitrust proceedings regarding Axon’s acquisition of Vievu should not be dealt with in an internal FTC session as it risks bias. The company further stated that giving the prosecution as well as judging rights to the FTC is a threat to the companies’ constitutional rights.  

Axon Denies All Claims That Its Vievu Acquisition Was Anticompetitive

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The complaint registered by Axon in a District Court of Arizona, U.S, states that the FTC has been investigating its acquisition deal with Vievu for the past 18 months. While Axon is an established manufacturer of police equipment such as taser guns and body cameras, Vievu is a smaller provider in the same market.

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Axon denies all claims that its recent acquisition of Vievu was anticompetitive and says that it will prove its case in a federal court. However, the company is adamant about not accepting any “settlement” that comes of a decision made by the FTC. They state that the FTC would unconstitutionally be acting as prosecutor, judge, and jury- a violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection law.

Allegedly, FTC representatives asked Axon to cancel its acquisition deal with Vievu, divest the acquired assets and also provide patents to a new acquirer. The company also accuses the FTC of blackmailing and coercing them into accepting this settlement and letting go of the acquisition by threatening to begin a full-fledged law proceeding – an event which reportedly happened in December.

FTC Claims That The Deal Has Reduced Competition In The Market

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The FTC’s complaint outlines that the acquisition has hurt competition in the market for police body cameras. The Director of the Bureau of Competition, Ian Conner, says that action has been taken in order to ensure that police continue to get access to the highest quality equipment and can get it for the lowest prices possible as this is in the best interest of the department and crucial for law and order. After the acquisition, quality, prices, and innovation may be affected.

Axon, on the other hand, says that they will only respond to antitrust proceedings in a federal court or another internal law procedure but will not deal with the FTC directly. An appeal to the FTC internal law proceeding is made to an FTC commission. The decision can be challenged in a federal court but without presenting new arguments and/or evidence, which Axon believes puts companies at a disadvantage.

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