Has your company or client been served with a Civil Investigative Demand (CID)? Overwhelmed? Don’t despair – the future may be brighter, as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is now offering more clarity regarding its CID document requests process. On July 17, 2017 FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen issued a new internal process reform aimed at promoting clarity, efficiency and transparency, and designed to “reduce unnecessary and undue burdens” associated with FTC investigations.

The reform specifically addresses CIDs in consumer protection cases, and includes a plain-language explanation of the CID process and a more elaborate description of the purpose, scope and types of information sought by the FTC, so recipients can better comply and respond. The FTC will also work to lighten the burden on companies by limiting relevant time periods, expanding the response time and revising existing CID instructions for the production of electronically stored information. The FTC will adhere to its current practice and will follow up on the status of investigations “at least every six months” after companies comply with CIDs.

The reform will most likely be welcomed with open arms by the business community, as CID requests can be lengthy, broad and complex, and can seek multiple types of data and information; it is often a challenging task to determine the purpose of the investigation. Clarity in connection with the process and its scope is crucial, as the outcome of CID requests heavily relies on the data collected, reviewed and produced to the FTC. Coupled with a much less burdensome process, the reform will hopefully mitigate the friction between compliance with requests and conducting day-to-day business, as well as reduce the costs associated with compliance.

The press release can be viewed at, here.