In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court held that agreements between a manufacturer and its distributors or retailers to fix the resale price of the manufacturer’s products were no longer automatically illegal under the federal antitrust laws. Since that time, several states have initiated actions against manufacturers for resale price maintenance agreements under state antitrust laws, and one state – Maryland – has enacted a statute to prohibit the practice. Meanwhile, new federal legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress that would, in effect, make resale price maintenance agreements illegal in all circumstances yet again.
As the law presently stands, such agreements may be illegal under federal law in certain cases, and they are illegal without respect to the circumstances in several states. Any policy by a manufacturer or distributor to fix the prices at which its products are sold to other distributors or ultimate consumers should be carefully reviewed by competent antitrust counsel. This includes agreements or policies that seek to restrict the price at which products are advertised.
For More Information
For more information on how you can avoid missteps in this area, please contact any member of the Taft Antitrust team or your primary Taft attorney.