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ANTITRUST INFORMATION

Antitrust laws combine a few black-and-white proscriptions with many grayer directives that depend on the facts of each case. I pulled most of this information from an antitrust information site that got the information from the book  "The Antitrust Laws A Primer, Third Edition, AEI Books", 1998, pp. 123-126 By John H. Shenefield and Irwin M. Stelzer. It is the first link at the bottom.  I am not a lawyer so for additional information please consult with your attorney.  

1. Do not discuss prices with your competitors. The Department of Justice or Federal Trade Commission can be counted on to bring a criminal prosecution if they learn that you have met with your competitors to fix prices or any other terms of sale. Jail time as well as steep fines are being handed down in criminal cases.
This is valid on email lists also. Email lists are considered to be meeting places.

2. You can compete for all the business you can get. Antitrust laws do not penalize success achieved by lawful methods. Try any new marketing or pricing strategies that you have a sound business reason to create. If you can offer it at a lower price because it is either cheaper or better, or both, don't worry. Just because you are big does not make it bad.

3. You can suggest retail prices to dealers but you cannot force them to charge that price. You can send them suggested price lists and promotional literature mentioning price. But do not get an agreement from them to charge that price or threaten to cancel their dealerships if they elect an independent pricing strategy: You may request the pricing but you may not have signed agreements nor may you use coercion.

4. Use exclusive dealing arrangements if they are justified by business necessity. The higher your market share and the longer the term of the agreement, the more important a compelling business justification. I have heard of soapmakers agreeing not to sell their product to other vendors in a small town. What is the business justification. Is there another method that can be used to make the product exclusive for this one shop (i.e. private label with specific scents)

5. Consult with counsel when specific problems or questionable activities occur. Antitrust law is highly fact-specific and there is no substitute for competent advice based on the detailed facts unique to your situation.

 

The following sites will give you information about the antitrust laws:
http://www.antitrust.org/aei/Guidelines.htm

http://www.ftc.gov/os/1999/9910/jointventureguidelines.pdf
http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/public/div_stats/1638.htm
http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/foia/divisionmanual/two.htm
http://home.mpinet.net/cmueller/ii-03.html

 






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