Resale Price Maintenance Under the Sherman Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act

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Conference Description

The Events

The Federal Trade Commission will hold a series of four to six public workshops early next year to explore, for the purposes of enforcing Section 1 of the Sherman Act and Section 5 of the FTC Act, how to best distinguish between uses of resale price maintenance (RPM) that benefit consumers and those that do not.  The Commission expects the workshops to focus on legal doctrines and jurisprudence related to RPM, theoretical and empirical economic research, and business and consumer experiences.  Each workshop will be free and open to the public, and pre-registration will not be required.  A more-detailed description of each workshop will be issued prior to the date it will be held; will include information on the workshop location; and will solicit additional public comment on the topic to be addressed.  Each workshop will be accessible to people with disabilities.  Anyone needing a related accommodation should contact Carrie McGlothlin at the FTC at 202-326-3388.  Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodations needed and contact information if more information is needed.

Background

RPM typically involves an agreement between a manufacturer and retailer setting the prices at which the retailer will resell the manufacturer’s goods to consumers. If the agreement requires the retailer to sell the goods only at or above prices established by the manufacturer, it is said to be minimum RPM. On the other hand, if the agreement requires the retailer to sell the products only at or below the price established by the manufacturer, it is said to be maximum RPM. Among other things, the workshops will examine when and where particular market facts or conditions make it more or less likely that the use of RPM will be procompetitive or neutral, and when or whether such RPM may harm competition and consumers.

As detailed in the Federal Register Notice announcing the workshops, which is available now on the Commission’s Web site and below, the FTC is requesting public comment from attorneys, economists, marketing professionals, the business community, consumer groups, law enforcers, academics, and other interested parties on three general subjects:

  1. The legal, economic, and management principles relevant to applying Sections 1 of the Sherman Act and Section 5 of the FTC Act to RPM, including the ability to administer current or potential antitrust or other rules for applying these laws;
  2. The business circumstances regarding the use of RPM that the Commission should examine in the upcoming workshops, including examples of actual conduct; and
  3. Empirical studies or analyses that might provide better guidance and assistance to the business and legal communities regarding RPM enforcement issues.
     

PRE-REGISTRATION

The event is free and open to the public. All attendees will be required to display a current driver's license or other valid form of photo identification. The Conference Center is accessible to people with disabilities. If you need an accommodation related to a disability, please call Ossie Neal, (202) 326-2358.

Pre-registration for this workshop is not necessary, but is encouraged, so that we may better plan for the event.

To pre-register, email your name and affiliation to rpmworkshop@ftc.gov.

NOTE: When you pre-register, we will collect your name, affiliation, and your email address. This information will be used to estimate how many people will attend. We may use your email address to contact you with information about the workshop.

FTC Privacy Policy

Under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) or other laws, we may be required to disclose to outside organizations the information you provide when you pre-register. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments, whether filed in paper or electronic form, and as a matter of discretion, we make every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments before posting them on the FTC website.

The FTC Act and other laws we administer permit the collection of your pre-registration contact information and the comments you file to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. For additional information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, see the Commission’s comprehensive Privacy Policy.