The US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit holds that a seller’s discount program that is available to competing purchasers does not violate the Robinson-Patman Act (Smith Wholesale / R.J.R Tobacco)

The Robinson-Patman Act has given rise to some truly awful court decisions that have created a seller-buyer environment of sometimes unforgiving price rigidity, as well as complex and difficult-to-comply-with principles about when and to whom sellers must offer price discounts and nonprice promotions. For example: – Unlike any other antitrust statute, the Robinson-Patman Act can be violated merely upon proof of a « reasonable possibility » that competition between two buyers might be impaired (the Morton Salt standard). – The old Fred Meyer case requires sellers to offer promotions to entities that do not buy from the sellers and with whom the sellers may not even want to have a relationship. – The meeting competition defense (which allows a seller to lower its price to a buyer in a

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Michelle K. Fischer, Thomas Demitrack, The US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit holds that a seller’s discount program that is available to competing purchasers does not violate the Robinson-Patman Act (Smith Wholesale / R.J.R Tobacco), 21 February 2007, e-Competitions February 2007, Art. N° 33825

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