Anti-Trust Policy for U.S. Companies

As associations of competitors, trade associations must be vigilant to ensure that state and federal antitrust laws are respected. The general improvement of the industry benefits the public. This is why Congress granted the privilege of tax-exempt status to trade associations. Our focus must be the general improvement of our industry. We must refrain from actions, which either may suppress competition among members or give members a competitive advantage over non-members.

Anti-Trust Policy for European Union Companies

Fair and vigorous competition is essential to the maintenance of the European free enterprise system.  In furtherance of this principle, all activities are to be conducted in strict compliance with European antitrust laws. papiNet members, committee members, staff, and other participants are reminded that they are required to comply with the spirit and requirements of those antitrust laws.

A free exchange of ideas on matters of mutual interest to papiNet participants is necessary for the success of all meetings.  Such an exchange of views is essential to the successful operation of the papiNet standardisation work. It is not the purpose of this policy to discourage the exploration in depth of any matters of legitimate concern to participants.  Nevertheless, to ignore certain antitrust ground rules, either through ignorance or otherwise, is to create a hazard business people cannot afford.

Each European country has its antitrust laws and additionally there are the European Union laws, which set forth the broad areas of conduct considered illegal as restraints of trade.  In general, agreements or understandings between competitors or between sellers and customers that operate as an impediment to free and open competition are forbidden.  The broad language of these laws suggests the scope of antitrust prohibitions by forbidding any "agreement or understanding...to substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly in any line of commerce."  In particular, the antitrust laws prohibit:

     

  • discussing the fixing or regulating of prices, markups, or the conditions or terms for the sale.
  • discussing the establishment of geographic trading areas, allocation of markets or customers, or classification of certain customers as being entitled to preferential treatment.
  • discussing or participating in any plan designed to induce any manufacturer or distributor to sell or refrain from selling, or discriminate in favor of or against any particular customer or class of customers.
  • discussing limiting or restricting the quantity of products to be produced.
  • discussing or participating in any plan designed to control the meanof transportation or channels through which products may be sold.
  • discussing or participating in any plan which has the effect of discriminating against or excluding competitors.

This is, at best, only a general outline of some of the areas which pose antitrust dangers in discussions between competitors and between sellers and their customers.  They are provided to guide discussion during meetings, and in connection with social or other gatherings on those occasions.

If any question arises about an item on a meeting agenda, it should be reviewed by legal counsel before the meeting.  If the question does not arise until the meeting has begun, or if a questionable topic is about to be discussed in connection with any gathering, whether or not a formal meeting, that discussion should be immediately stopped and not resumed until approved by legal counsel.