Agreements between competitors to boycott, to refuse to deal or to attempt to coerce a vendor, payer or other third party. There are two types of concerted refusals to deal:
- Horizontal Made between competitors not to compete among themselves
- Vertical Attempts to leverage market power through exclusive dealing with certain parties
Generally, an "integrated joint venture," that is, the introduction of a new product or service that individual competitors could not sell on their own, may avoid antitrust difficulty. However, precautions must be taken not to share information unrelated to the new product or service. Non-integrated joint venture arrangements may also avoid antitrust difficulties by arranging third party contracts through an independent administrative officer.
Reciprocal dealing is when competitors mutually agree to buy and sell goods and services between themselves. If one party has significantly greater purchasing power, and the party uses that power to coerce the other party, antitrust laws may be violated just like in a tying arrangement.
A tying arrangement results when a vendor conditions a purchase so that the consumer must also purchase other products or services. A great example of this is when discharged patients are referred to affiliated service providers.
If you face allegations that you have violated an antitrust statute, immediate legal counsel should be sought. Violations of U.S. antitrust law are serious offenses carrying both civil and criminal penalties. Speaking with the proper lawyer will inform you of your legal rights as well preserve any possible remedies you may have. If you believe another business violated the antitrust acts and harmed you or your company, you should speak to a business lawyer who can properly review your case.