We advise clients in connection with both state and federal antitrust laws, including the Sherman Act, the Clayton Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Robinson-Patman Act. While these laws have been in effect for decades, their application, interpretation and impact on business conduct and business plans can constantly change. Our experience extends to dealing with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and State Attorneys General, as well as defending clients against private enforcement actions brought in federal or state court.
Federal antitrust law strictly prohibits competitors from agreeing to fix prices. There are also prohibitions on manufacturers and suppliers determining the prices their customers may charge. Illegal resale price maintenance and permissible Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) are important antitrust concepts. We advise clients on permissible pricing practices and strategies.
Price Discrimination; Robinson-Patman Act
The Robinson-Patman Act of 1936 was enacted to protect so-called "Mom & Pop" stores from the purchasing power of large chain stores. The Robinson-Patman Act is a complex statute which can have important ramifications to decisions about price. We are well-versed in Robinson-Patman issues, and we counsel clients on compliance with the requirements of the Robinson-Patman Act.
Joint Ventures, Alliances and Collaborations among Competitors
Companies frequently seek to join with others in their industries in joint ventures and alliances. The federal enforcement agencies, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, recently issued guidelines for collaborations among competitors. We advise clients on the organization of joint ventures and other types of alliances taking into account the requirements of antitrust law.
How a company distributes its products and services -- through its own retail system or through independent distributors and dealers -- can be critical to the success of the business. The laws and rules dealing with distributors, dealers and franchisees are important factors which can effect that success. We are experienced in the preparation and negotiation of distribution agreements which can avoid the pitfalls created by antitrust law.
If a company has a large market share or monopoly power, the antitrust law can restrict the company's business conduct. Sherman Act Section 2 specifically deals with monopolization and attempts to monopolize. We are experienced in advising clients on monopolization and attempt to monopolize issues.
The intersection of intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets) and the antitrust law is a hotly debated subject. There may be a conflict between a company's intellectual property rights and the requirements of antitrust law. Our IP lawyers are important members of a team who analyze and advise practical approaches to complicated situations involving the protection of one of an organization's most valuable assets, its intellectual property.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Antitrust concerns are important issues in a proposed merger or acquisition. Depending upon the size of the transaction, a pre-merger filing with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act may be required. We have experience in determining whether the Hart-Scott-Rodino's filing requirements apply, as well as experience in handling the filings when required.
Civil Investigative Demands
As part of a civil investigation, the government often requires that information be provided. We are experienced in representing companies which have received CIDs and in working with the government in connection with these demands.
Grand Jury Investigations
In a criminal antitrust investigation, a grand jury is often impaneled. We are experienced in representing companies and individuals in connection with both state and federal grand jury investigations.
Our litigation lawyers have represented companies and individuals in both criminal and civil lawsuits involving alleged antitrust violations.
The healthcare industry is undergoing significant change. The federal antitrust enforcement agencies have issued specific, detailed guidelines dealing with the antitrust aspects of the healthcare industry. We have extensive experience in the healthcare industry, representing health plans, hospitals and physicians.
State Antitrust Law
Many states, including New York State, have their own separate antitrust statutes, which differ from federal antitrust law. With increasing frequency, state antitrust law is important to understand and to take into consideration in competition and trade regulation matters. We are experienced in advising clients on state as well as federal antitrust issues.
Antitrust Compliance Programs
We work with management to develop and provide antitrust compliance programs to educate employees on the requirements of antitrust law. Our advice is practical and straightforward with a goal of having management and employees feel confident that they understand how to perform their jobs without violating the law. Compliance programs can help demonstrate to employees that their company supports the American free market system and obedience to the nation's laws.
When competitors meet in trade association meetings, there is a risk that improper and sensitive topics may be discussed. Trade associations enjoy no special status or exemption under antitrust law. Trade associations and their members must be careful in preparing meeting agendas, controlling discussion and documenting meetings. We are legal counsel to trade associations and advise trade association leadership in this sensitive area.