FTC allows ConocoPhillips, Holly to modify licensing agreement

The US Federal Trade Commission approved ConocoPhillips’s request to reopen and modify a final order settling the agency’s competition concerns arising from Conoco Inc.’s 2002 merger with Phillips Petroleum Co. FTC also approved a change to ConocoPhillips’s licensing agreement with independent refiner-marketer Holly Corp.

FTC’s 2002 order required ConocoPhillips to sell to Holly a Phillips refinery at Woods Cross, Utah, with a 10-year license to use “Phillips,” “Phillips 66,” and related brands for 10 years at retail outlets in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. ConocoPhillips sold the 25,000-b/d refinery to Holly in compliance with the order, and the current agreements between the two companies include the required exclusive rights, FTC said.

The application indicated that ConocoPhillips and Holly have negotiated an extended agreement that continues the license agreement for 7 years in the four states on a nonexclusive basis, FTC said. The companies have entered into an amended agreement as part of these negotiations that would convert Holly’s FTC-ordered license in Wyoming and Montana from an exclusive to a nonexclusive license for the current license term’s remaining 2 years, according to the application. It said ConocoPhillips asked FTC to reopen and modify the order to match the new agreement’s terms by removing the Montana and Wyoming exclusivity provision. Holly supported the application, which FTC has approved, the agency said.

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