Although the Ohio Attorney General is not authorized to give advisory opinions to private parties, the Attorney General has statutory enforcement responsibilities under Ohio’s antitrust laws. In order to inform and educate businesses and to allow an individual, business, industry group or other enterprise to plan future business activity that conforms to the antitrust laws, the Ohio Attorney General, through the Antitrust Section will, in certain circumstances and under specified conditions, review proposed business conduct and state its present enforcement intentions under the antitrust laws.
The guidelines for this business review process are subject to revision and are as follows:
A request for a business review letter must be submitted in writing to:
Chief of the Antitrust Section
Office of the Ohio Attorney General
150 E. Gay St., 23rd Floor,
Columbus, OH 43215
2. Proposed business conduct
The Antitrust Section will only consider requests with respect to proposed business conduct that may involve intrastate or interstate commerce. Hypothetical problems will not be considered for review.
3. Review discretion
The Antitrust Section may, at its discretion, refuse to consider a request.
A business review letter shall have no application to any party that does not join in the request.
5. Obligation of requesting party
The requesting party is under an affirmative obligation to make full and true disclosure with respect to the business conduct for which review is requested. Each request should be accompanied by a detailed description of the proposed conduct and all relevant data, including background information, copies of all operative documents and statements of collateral or oral understandings, if any. All parties requesting the review letter must provide any additional information or documents the Antitrust Section requests in order to review the matter. Any information given orally must be promptly confirmed in writing.
6. Regulatory review
Any business review letter issued will state only the Attorney General's present enforcement intentions under the antitrust laws, and shall in no way be taken to indicate the Attorney General's views on legal or factual issues that may be raised where the proposed business conduct is subject to approval, review or regulation by a state or federal agency, commission, department or board. The issuance of a business review letter is not to be represented to mean that the Attorney General believes that there are no anticompetitive consequences warranting a regulatory entity's consideration.
7. Oral clearance is not binding
No oral clearance, release or other statement purporting to bind the enforcement discretion of the Ohio Attorney General may be given. The requesting party may rely only upon a written business review letter signed by the Chief of the Antitrust Section or a designee.
8. Response by Attorney General
After reviewing a request the Attorney General, through the Antitrust Section, may:
State his present enforcement intention with respect to the proposed business conduct;
Decline the request; or
Take such other position as he considers appropriate.
9. Commitment of Attorney General
A business review letter will address the facts upon which it is issued, and will only reflect the enforcement intention of the Attorney General as of the date of the letter and with respect to the facts provided. The Attorney General remains free to bring whatever action may subsequently be required by the public interest. After expressing an intention to not bring an action, the Attorney General will not generally exercise his right to bring an enforcement action where there has been full and true disclosure at the time of the request.
10. Request may be withdrawn
Any requesting party may withdraw a request for review at any time. The Antitrust Section remains free to submit comments to the requesting party, or take such other action as deemed appropriate.