Last week, the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") approved final changes to its Guides for Advertising Allowances and Other Merchandising Payments (the "Guides"), also known as the Fred Meyer Guides. The Guides were originally issued in 1969, and subsequently revised in 1990, to help businesses comply with sections 2(d) and (e) of the Robinson Patman Act (the "Act"). The Act generally prohibits certain forms of price discrimination between suppliers and the merchants who resell their products. Sections 2(d) and (e), which are the focus of the Guides, are designed to prohibit disguised price discrimination in the form of promotional payments or services. In other words, a supplier is prohibited from paying allowances or furnishing services to merchants to promote the resale of the supplier's products, unless the allowances or services are offered to all competing merchants on proportionally equal terms. The Act aims to help small businesses compete against chain stores by prohibiting anticompetitive price discrimination by suppliers, and certain other kinds of business discrimination. In December 2012, the FTC sought public comment on the Guides, and input on the overall costs and benefits and continuing need for the Guides.
In response to the comments solicited, the FTC approved moderate changes to the Guides in order to update them with respect to current technological developments, changes in marketing methods (such as widespread online marketing), and FTC enforcement priorities. The changes also reflect jurisprudential developments since the last revision of the Guides.… Continue Reading
ICANN is fast approaching its release of a tsunami of new top level domains. Advertisers are simply not ready for what lies ahead and the millions it will cost. For the latest update on how no one seems to be able to stop ICANN’s juggernaut, please read “DOJ Antitrust Division refuses to issue review letter … Continue Reading
This week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reopened and extended the deadline until March 4, 2013 to provide comments to aid the FTC in its review of the Fred Meyer Guides ("Guides"). The Guides clarify the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936 ("Act") which is intended to help small retailers compete against the larger chain stores by prohibiting anti-competitive price discrimination that could harm competition between the smaller and larger retailers. The Guides explain how manufacturers and wholesalers can provide advertising allowances and other promotional payments and services to retailers in a manner that does not discriminate and thereby run afoul of the Act which requires that such benefits must be provided on proportionately equal terms to all competing customers.… Continue Reading