So you have been invited to your first trade association meeting. Sounds like fun, right? You get a chance to mix and mingle with others in your industry, maybe swap notes with your counterparts at competitors who face the same pressures you do. What could go wrong? A lot, from an antitrust perspective. While trade associations can provide tremendous benefits to members, by definition, they are meetings among competitors. Communication with competitors can lead to “agreements,” whether explicit handshakes or implicit winks and nods. And some of those agreements, like most related to competitive pricing, are automatically illegal and subject to severe penalties for both you and the company. Here, antitrust law follows Adam Smith’s admonition that People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. Invited to Your First Trade Association Meeting? Here Are Important Antitrust Tips So even if you remember your company’s training from when you joined years ago and know enough to spell “antitrust” without a hyphen, you still need to remember these tips.
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