15 U.S.C. § 45 : US Code - Section 45: Unfair methods of competition unlawful; prevention by Commission

    (a) Declaration of unlawfulness; power to prohibit unfair
      practices; inapplicability to foreign trade
      (1) Unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce, and
    unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, are
    hereby declared unlawful.
      (2) The Commission is hereby empowered and directed to prevent
    persons, partnerships, or corporations, except banks, savings and
    loan institutions described in section 57a(f)(3) of this title,
    Federal credit unions described in section 57a(f)(4) of this title,
    common carriers subject to the Acts to regulate commerce, air
    carriers and foreign air carriers subject to part A of subtitle VII
    of title 49, and persons, partnerships, or corporations insofar as
    they are subject to the Packers and Stockyards Act, 1921, as
    amended [7 U.S.C. 181 et seq.], except as provided in section
    406(b) of said Act [7 U.S.C. 227(b)], from using unfair methods of
    competition in or affecting commerce and unfair or deceptive acts
    or practices in or affecting commerce.
      (3) This subsection shall not apply to unfair methods of
    competition involving commerce with foreign nations (other than
    import commerce) unless - 
        (A) such methods of competition have a direct, substantial, and
      reasonably foreseeable effect - 
          (i) on commerce which is not commerce with foreign nations,
        or on import commerce with foreign nations; or
          (ii) on export commerce with foreign nations, of a person
        engaged in such commerce in the United States; and

        (B) such effect gives rise to a claim under the provisions of
      this subsection, other than this paragraph.

    If this subsection applies to such methods of competition only
    because of the operation of subparagraph (A)(ii), this subsection
    shall apply to such conduct only for injury to export business in
    the United States.
      (4)(A) For purposes of subsection (a), the term "unfair or
    deceptive acts or practices" includes such acts or practices
    involving foreign commerce that - 
        (i) cause or are likely to cause reasonably foreseeable injury
      within the United States; or
        (ii) involve material conduct occurring within the United
      States.

      (B) All remedies available to the Commission with respect to
    unfair and deceptive acts or practices shall be available for acts
    and practices described in this paragraph, including restitution to
    domestic or foreign victims.
    (b) Proceeding by Commission; modifying and setting aside orders
      Whenever the Commission shall have reason to believe that any
    such person, partnership, or corporation has been or is using any
    unfair method of competition or unfair or deceptive act or practice
    in or affecting commerce, and if it shall appear to the Commission
    that a proceeding by it in respect thereof would be to the interest
    of the public, it shall issue and serve upon such person,
    partnership, or corporation a complaint stating its charges in that
    respect and containing a notice of a hearing upon a day and at a
    place therein fixed at least thirty days after the service of said
    complaint. The person, partnership, or corporation so complained of
    shall have the right to appear at the place and time so fixed and
    show cause why an order should not be entered by the Commission
    requiring such person, partnership, or corporation to cease and
    desist from the violation of the law so charged in said complaint.
    Any person, partnership, or corporation may make application, and
    upon good cause shown may be allowed by the Commission to intervene
    and appear in said proceeding by counsel or in person. The
    testimony in any such proceeding shall be reduced to writing and
    filed in the office of the Commission. If upon such hearing the
    Commission shall be of the opinion that the method of competition
    or the act or practice in question is prohibited by this
    subchapter, it shall make a report in writing in which it shall
    state its findings as to the facts and shall issue and cause to be
    served on such person, partnership, or corporation an order
    requiring such person, partnership, or corporation to cease and
    desist from using such method of competition or such act or
    practice. Until the expiration of the time allowed for filing a
    petition for review, if no such petition has been duly filed within
    such time, or, if a petition for review has been filed within such
    time then until the record in the proceeding has been filed in a
    court of appeals of the United States, as hereinafter provided, the
    Commission may at any time, upon such notice and in such manner as
    it shall deem proper, modify or set aside, in whole or in part, any
    report or any order made or issued by it under this section. After
    the expiration of the time allowed for filing a petition for
    review, if no such petition has been duly filed within such time,
    the Commission may at any time, after notice and opportunity for
    hearing, reopen and alter, modify, or set aside, in whole or in
    part any report or order made or issued by it under this section,
    whenever in the opinion of the Commission conditions of fact or of
    law have so changed as to require such action or if the public
    interest shall so require, except that (1) the said person,
    partnership, or corporation may, within sixty days after service
    upon him or it of said report or order entered after such a
    reopening, obtain a review thereof in the appropriate court of
    appeals of the United States, in the manner provided in subsection
    (c) of this section; and (2) in the case of an order, the
    Commission shall reopen any such order to consider whether such
    order (including any affirmative relief provision contained in such
    order) should be altered, modified, or set aside, in whole or in
    part, if the person, partnership, or corporation involved files a
    request with the Commission which makes a satisfactory showing that
    changed conditions of law or fact require such order to be altered,
    modified, or set aside, in whole or in part. The Commission shall
    determine whether to alter, modify, or set aside any order of the
    Commission in response to a request made by a person, partnership,
    or corporation under paragraph (!1) (2) not later than 120 days
    after the date of the filing of such request.

    (c) Review of order; rehearing
      Any person, partnership, or corporation required by an order of
    the Commission to cease and desist from using any method of
    competition or act or practice may obtain a review of such order in
    the court of appeals of the United States, within any circuit where
    the method of competition or the act or practice in question was
    used or where such person, partnership, or corporation resides or
    carries on business, by filing in the court, within sixty days from
    the date of the service of such order, a written petition praying
    that the order of the Commission be set aside. A copy of such
    petition shall be forthwith transmitted by the clerk of the court
    to the Commission, and thereupon the Commission shall file in the
    court the record in the proceeding, as provided in section 2112 of
    title 28. Upon such filing of the petition the court shall have
    jurisdiction of the proceeding and of the question determined
    therein concurrently with the Commission until the filing of the
    record and shall have power to make and enter a decree affirming,
    modifying, or setting aside the order of the Commission, and
    enforcing the same to the extent that such order is affirmed and to
    issue such writs as are ancillary to its jurisdiction or are
    necessary in its judgement to prevent injury to the public or to
    competitors pendente lite. The findings of the Commission as to the
    facts, if supported by evidence, shall be conclusive. To the extent
    that the order of the Commission is affirmed, the court shall
    thereupon issue its own order commanding obedience to the terms of
    such order of the Commission. If either party shall apply to the
    court for leave to adduce additional evidence, and shall show to
    the satisfaction of the court that such additional evidence is
    material and that there were reasonable grounds for the failure to
    adduce such evidence in the proceeding before the Commission, the
    court may order such additional evidence to be taken before the
    Commission and to be adduced upon the hearing in such manner and
    upon such terms and conditions as to the court may seem proper. The
    Commission may modify its findings as to the facts, or make new
    findings, by reason of the additional evidence so taken, and it
    shall file such modified or new findings, which, if supported by
    evidence, shall be conclusive, and its recommendation, if any, for
    the modification or setting aside of its original order, with the
    return of such additional evidence. The judgment and decree of the
    court shall be final, except that the same shall be subject to
    review by the Supreme Court upon certiorari, as provided in section
    1254 of title 28.
    (d) Jurisdiction of court
      Upon the filing of the record with it the jurisdiction of the
    court of appeals of the United States to affirm, enforce, modify,
    or set aside orders of the Commission shall be exclusive.
    (e) Exemption from liability
      No order of the Commission or judgement of court to enforce the
    same shall in anywise relieve or absolve any person, partnership,
    or corporation from any liability under the Antitrust Acts.
    (f) Service of complaints, orders and other processes; return
      Complaints, orders, and other processes of the Commission under
    this section may be served by anyone duly authorized by the
    Commission, either (a) by delivering a copy thereof to the person
    to be served, or to a member of the partnership to be served, or
    the president, secretary, or other executive officer or a director
    of the corporation to be served; or (b) by leaving a copy thereof
    at the residence or the principal office or place of business of
    such person, partnership, or corporation; or (c) by mailing a copy
    thereof by registered mail or by certified mail addressed to such
    person, partnership, or corporation at his or its residence or
    principal office or place of business. The verified return by the
    person so serving said complaint, order, or other process setting
    forth the manner of said service shall be proof of the same, and
    the return post office receipt for said complaint, order, or other
    process mailed by registered mail or by certified mail as aforesaid
    shall be proof of the service of the same.
    (g) Finality of order
      An order of the Commission to cease and desist shall become final
    - 
        (1) Upon the expiration of the time allowed for filing a
      petition for review, if no such petition has been duly filed
      within such time; but the Commission may thereafter modify or set
      aside its order to the extent provided in the last sentence of
      subsection (b).
        (2) Except as to any order provision subject to paragraph (4),
      upon the sixtieth day after such order is served, if a petition
      for review has been duly filed; except that any such order may be
      stayed, in whole or in part and subject to such conditions as may
      be appropriate, by - 
          (A) the Commission;
          (B) an appropriate court of appeals of the United States, if
        (i) a petition for review of such order is pending in such
        court, and (ii) an application for such a stay was previously
        submitted to the Commission and the Commission, within the 30-
        day period beginning on the date the application was received
        by the Commission, either denied the application or did not
        grant or deny the application; or
          (C) the Supreme Court, if an applicable petition for
        certiorari is pending.

        (3) For purposes of subsection (m)(1)(B) of this section and of
      section 57b(a)(2) of this title, if a petition for review of the
      order of the Commission has been filed - 
          (A) upon the expiration of the time allowed for filing a
        petition for certiorari, if the order of the Commission has
        been affirmed or the petition for review has been dismissed by
        the court of appeals and no petition for certiorari has been
        duly filed;
          (B) upon the denial of a petition for certiorari, if the
        order of the Commission has been affirmed or the petition for
        review has been dismissed by the court of appeals; or
          (C) upon the expiration of 30 days from the date of issuance
        of a mandate of the Supreme Court directing that the order of
        the Commission be affirmed or the petition for review be
        dismissed.

        (4) In the case of an order provision requiring a person,
      partnership, or corporation to divest itself of stock, other
      share capital, or assets, if a petition for review of such order
      of the Commission has been filed - 
          (A) upon the expiration of the time allowed for filing a
        petition for certiorari, if the order of the Commission has
        been affirmed or the petition for review has been dismissed by
        the court of appeals and no petition for certiorari has been
        duly filed;
          (B) upon the denial of a petition for certiorari, if the
        order of the Commission has been affirmed or the petition for
        review has been dismissed by the court of appeals; or
          (C) upon the expiration of 30 days from the date of issuance
        of a mandate of the Supreme Court directing that the order of
        the Commission be affirmed or the petition for review be
        dismissed.
    (h) Modification or setting aside of order by Supreme Court
      If the Supreme Court directs that the order of the Commission be
    modified or set aside, the order of the Commission rendered in
    accordance with the mandate of the Supreme Court shall become final
    upon the expiration of thirty days from the time it was rendered,
    unless within such thirty days either party has instituted
    proceedings to have such order corrected to accord with the
    mandate, in which event the order of the Commission shall become
    final when so corrected.
    (i) Modification or setting aside of order by Court of Appeals
      If the order of the Commission is modified or set aside by the
    court of appeals, and if (1) the time allowed for filing a petition
    for certiorari has expired and no such petition has been duly
    filed, or (2) the petition for certiorari has been denied, or (3)
    the decision of the court has been affirmed by the Supreme Court,
    then the order of the Commission rendered in accordance with the
    mandate of the court of appeals shall become final on the
    expiration of thirty days from the time such order of the
    Commission was rendered, unless within such thirty days either
    party has instituted proceedings to have such order corrected so
    that it will accord with the mandate, in which event the order of
    the Commission shall become final when so corrected.
    (j) Rehearing upon order or remand
      If the Supreme Court orders a rehearing; or if the case is
    remanded by the court of appeals to the Commission for a rehearing,
    and if (1) the time allowed for filing a petition for certiorari
    has expired, and no such petition has been duly filed, or (2) the
    petition for certiorari has been denied, or (3) the decision of the
    court has been affirmed by the Supreme Court, then the order of the
    Commission rendered upon such rehearing shall become final in the
    same manner as though no prior order of the Commission had been
    rendered.
    (k) "Mandate" defined
      As used in this section the term "mandate", in case a mandate has
    been recalled prior to the expiration of thirty days from the date
    of issuance thereof, means the final mandate.
    (l) Penalty for violation of order; injunctions and other
      appropriate equitable relief
      Any person, partnership, or corporation who violates an order of
    the Commission after it has become final, and while such order is
    in effect, shall forfeit and pay to the United States a civil
    penalty of not more than $10,000 for each violation, which shall
    accrue to the United States and may be recovered in a civil action
    brought by the Attorney General of the United States. Each separate
    violation of such an order shall be a separate offense, except that
    in a case of a violation through continuing failure to obey or
    neglect to obey a final order of the Commission, each day of
    continuance of such failure or neglect shall be deemed a separate
    offense. In such actions, the United States district courts are
    empowered to grant mandatory injunctions and such other and further
    equitable relief as they deem appropriate in the enforcement of
    such final orders of the Commission.
    (m) Civil actions for recovery of penalties for knowing violations
      of rules and cease and desist orders respecting unfair or
      deceptive acts or practices; jurisdiction; maximum amount of
      penalties; continuing violations; de novo determinations;
      compromise or settlement procedure
      (1)(A) The Commission may commence a civil action to recover a
    civil penalty in a district court of the United States against any
    person, partnership, or corporation which violates any rule under
    this subchapter respecting unfair or deceptive acts or practices
    (other than an interpretive rule or a rule violation of which the
    Commission has provided is not an unfair or deceptive act or
    practice in violation of subsection (a)(1) of this section) with
    actual knowledge or knowledge fairly implied on the basis of
    objective circumstances that such act is unfair or deceptive and is
    prohibited by such rule. In such action, such person, partnership,
    or corporation shall be liable for a civil penalty of not more than
    $10,000 for each violation.
      (B) If the Commission determines in a proceeding under subsection
    (b) of this section that any act or practice is unfair or
    deceptive, and issues a final cease and desist order, other than a
    consent order, with respect to such act or practice, then the
    Commission may commence a civil action to obtain a civil penalty in
    a district court of the United States against any person,
    partnership, or corporation which engages in such act or practice -
    
        (1) after such cease and desist order becomes final (whether or
      not such person, partnership, or corporation was subject to such
      cease and desist order), and
        (2) with actual knowledge that such act or practice is unfair
      or deceptive and is unlawful under subsection (a)(1) of this
      section.

    In such action, such person, partnership, or corporation shall be
    liable for a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each
    violation.
      (C) In the case of a violation through continuing failure to
    comply with a rule or with subsection (a)(1) of this section, each
    day of continuance of such failure shall be treated as a separate
    violation, for purposes of subparagraphs (A) and (B). In
    determining the amount of such a civil penalty, the court shall
    take into account the degree of culpability, any history of prior
    such conduct, ability to pay, effect on ability to continue to do
    business, and such other matters as justice may require.
      (2) If the cease and desist order establishing that the act or
    practice is unfair or deceptive was not issued against the
    defendant in a civil penalty action under paragraph (1)(B) the
    issues of fact in such action against such defendant shall be tried
    de novo. Upon request of any party to such an action against such
    defendant, the court shall also review the determination of law
    made by the Commission in the proceeding under subsection (b) of
    this section that the act or practice which was the subject of such
    proceeding constituted an unfair or deceptive act or practice in
    violation of subsection (a) of this section.
      (3) The Commission may compromise or settle any action for a
    civil penalty if such compromise or settlement is accompanied by a
    public statement of its reasons and is approved by the court.
    (n) Standard of proof; public policy considerations
      The Commission shall have no authority under this section or
    section 57a of this title to declare unlawful an act or practice on
    the grounds that such act or practice is unfair unless the act or
    practice causes or is likely to cause substantial injury to
    consumers which is not reasonably avoidable by consumers themselves
    and not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or to
    competition. In determining whether an act or practice is unfair,
    the Commission may consider established public policies as evidence
    to be considered with all other evidence. Such public policy
    considerations may not serve as a primary basis for such
    determination.