Significant segments of American business and professions are represented by trade and professional associations. Today, trade and professional associations have moved from a reactive role to one of leadership. Associations are setting product standards, certifying the expertise of professionals,...
Significant segments of American business and professions are represented by trade and professional associations. Today, trade and professional associations have moved from a reactive role to one of leadership. Associations are setting product standards, certifying the expertise of professionals, and actively opposing or promoting new legislative and regulatory initiatives. But association activities raise potential antitrust risks and their exposure to antitrust challenge has increased proportionately.
This Handbook helps association counsel and executives help to understand the antitrust issues associated with association activities and minimize their risk. It begins with a discussion of basic antitrust principles and the system of public and private remedies for violations, before turning to more detailed treatment of the analytical framework applicable to collaborative activities involving competitors. Subsequent chapters provide in-depth discussion of topics and problems that are routinely encountered by practitioners counseling trade associations, including membership criteria and expulsion, information collection and dissemination, industry codes of ethics, standards development, and joint petitioning of the government.
In addition, many association issues today fall outside the classic trade association and this important book deals with new major policy and case law developments in all of the following areas:
--Professional associations, such as those in medicine, dentistry, law, and engineering, whose members typically are individual professionals rather than companies.
--Standard-setting organizations, which increasingly are technical standard-setting bodies that exist outside of traditional industry trade associations. Notably, many of the recent antitrust developments in this area have not involved allegations of industry-wide misconduct but instead have focused on single-firm conduct or efforts by one segment of an industry to gain an economic advantage over rivals through questionable means.
--Various other forms of competitor collaborations, such as joint purchasing or joint selling alliances and R&D joint ventures. Included in this category are physician specialty groups and real estate multiple listing services. These types of collaborations generally do not operate along the lines of traditional trade associations.
This book also discusses professional codes of ethics and similar practices; standards-development organizations, and competitor collaborations. While sports leagues are not thoroughly covered in this Handbook, relevant precedents involving sports leagues are cited and discussed throughout.
This Handbook updates and expands substantially the Section's antitrust practice guide, published in 1996, entitled Antitrust & Trade Associations: How Trade Regulation Laws Apply to Trade and Professional Associations and serves as a general and accessible guide to the application of U.S. federal and state antitrust laws to the activities of trade and professional associations. It does not address enforcement regimes or potential issues arising under the competition laws of other jurisdictions. This Handbook should be an invaluable single-volume resource for those advising trade associations.