Resale Price Maintenance Policies A Century After Colgate

By Michael Murphy, Morgan Nickerson, Chris Finnerty and Jack Brodsky (May 30, 2019, 1:06 PM EDT) -- Nearly 100 years ago, on June 2, 1919, the U.S. Supreme Court held in U.S. v. Colgate & Co.[1] that the Sherman Antitrust Act[2] does not prevent a manufacturer from: (1) unilaterally announcing prices at which goods may be advertised and/or sold; and (2) subsequently refusing to deal with retailers that choose not to acquiesce with the announcement.

Before Colgate, a manufacturer's resale price maintenance policy was subject to per se scrutiny under the Sherman Act, where simple proof of the policy's existence was dispositive for finding of an illegal price-fixing agreement.[3] In the wake of Colgate, manufacturers began to take...

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