Industry Eye: Shop Talk
Maryland's approach is in direct contrast to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Leegin Creative Leather Products Inc. v. PSKS Inc., which held that resale price maintenance agreements don't automatically violate federal antitrust laws.
Instead, such arrangements are subject to a "rule of reason." Here, each agreement is separately evaluated to determine whether the pricing restriction's anti-competitive effects outweigh its pro-competitive benefits.
As might be expected, the reaction to Leegin has been mixed. Though most manufacturers welcomed the decision, many retailers and politicians have been highly critical. But proposed federal legislation, the Discount Pricing Consumer Protection Act, would amend the Sherman Act to make minimum resale price maintenance agreements, per se, unlawful. The attorneys general of 35 states have signed on in support of this bill.
So, do manufacturer-imposed minimum resale prices aid or hinder competition? Manufacturers argue that resale price restrictions encourage retailers to invest in advertising and provide after-sale services to consumers, which help manufacturers compete against other companies. They also argue that pricing floors enhance the image of their products and enable them to attract higher-quality dealers.
On the other hand, many online and discount retailers, along with consumer groups, argue that minimum resale price restrictions result in higher costs to consumers and inhibit competition among retailers.
—George S. Isaacson, senior partner, Brann & Isaacson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Catalogs Grab Gold Ink Awards
The 22nd annual Gold Ink Awards, jointly presented by Printing Impressions, Publishing Executive and Book Business (all sister publications of All About ROI) in July, recognized the year's best projects in the printing industry.
This year's big winners include Cole Haan 2009 Spring Catalog, Gold (consumer catalogs, web printing); Emporio Armani Accessories, Gold (consumer catalogs, sheetfed printing); 2009 Pontiac Full Line Catalog, Gold (business catalogs, web printing); and Polytrade Paper Guide 2009, Gold (business catalogs, sheetfed printing). For the complete list of winners, go to www.goldink.com.