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19

California Attorney General Halts Resale Price Maintenance

Posted by : Matthew Wild | On : January 19, 2011

On January 11, 2011, Bioelements and the California Attorney General entered into a consent decree that enjoins Bioelements from entering into any agreements with retailers and distributors concerning what price they may charge for Bioelements’ products and to send notice to all retailers and distributors that any such polices are immediately rescinded.  The action was brought in California Superior Court under the Cartwright Act, which the California Attorney General has interpreted to provide per se treatment for resale price maintenance in contrast to Section 1 of the Sherman Act after Leegin.  See March 12, 2010 Post.  Notably, the injunction extends to all of Biolelements’ transactions even if they take place outside of California.  Bioelements also had to pay $51,000 in fines and expenses.  This action is a cautionary tale that companies cannot rely on Leegin that resale price maintenance will be subject to lenient rule of reason treatment.  A number of state attorneys general have brought resale price maintenance actions under their state laws and Maryland amended its antitrust law expressly to prohibit resale price maintenance.

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