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UPDATE 1-Axon loses appeals court fight with FTC over Vievu acquisition

(Adds comment from Axon, FTC)

WASHINGTON, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Axon Enterprise Inc lost an appeals court fight with the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday, with the court ruling that the agency did not violate Axon’s constitutional rights when it sued the company to undo a merger.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said that the FTC was within its right to challenge the acquisition before a judge in an internal, administrative enforcement process.

“Because the FTC statutory scheme ultimately allowed Axon to present its constitutional challenges to a federal court of appeals after the administrative proceeding, Axon did not suffer any cognizable injury,” the court said.

Axon, the manufacturer of Taser stun guns and body camera systems for police departments, said it would press on.

“We will continue this important fight and are evaluating both Ninth Circuit en banc and Supreme Court certiorari petition options,” said Pam Petersen, Axon’s vice president of litigation.

A spokesperson for the FTC said agency was “gratified” by the decision, and looked forward to litigating the primary case in its internal court.

The FTC had sued Axon in January 2020 to require it to sell Vievu, saying the deal meant that police departments may pay more for body cameras. Later that month, Axon sued the FTC to demand that the case be heard in federal court rather than an internal FTC process. Axon has denied that the Vievu deal was anticompetitive. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Dan Grebler)

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