A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order yesterday that blocks a proposed merger of Owens-Illinois Inc. and a Florida-based glass company for up to six weeks.

U.S. District Judge Joyce Green granted a request by the Federal Trade Commission for the order after it had been agreed to by attorneys for Owens-Illinois, which is based in Toledo, Ohio.

In a complaint filed earlier in the day with the court, the FTC had sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent the company from completing the proposed merger with Brockway Inc. of Jacksonville, Fla. The agency had argued that such a merger might violate federal antitrust laws.

Green set a Jan. 25 hearing date for arguments on whether a preliminary injunction should be issued. An injunction would block the proposed merger indefinitely.

The FTC said it has reason to believe the acquisition would violate the Clayton Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act.

The commission said the merger could eliminate competition between Owens-Illinois and Brockway, increase concentration in the market and eliminate Brockway as a substantial independent competitive force in the industry.

"The reestablishment of Brockway Inc. as an independent viable entity after it were to become a part of Owens-Illinois Inc. ... would be extremely difficult, and there is a substantial likelihood that it would be impossible to restore the business as it originally existed," the FTC said.

Owens-Illinois is the nation's largest maker of glass containers; Brockway is the nation's third-largest maker of glass containers.