Associations: CSAE Workshop: “Competition Law: Codes of Ethics, Surveys and Recent Developments for Associations”
September 22, 2014
I am pleased to be a guest speaker at the Canadian Society of Association Executives’ (CSAE) National Conference 2014 in Niagara Falls this fall (October 29-31). I will be co-presenting with Mark Katz of Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, the co-author of our competition law and associations book. Below is an overview of our seminar.
September 21, 2014
Most association activities are legitimate and unlikely to raise competition law concerns. However, given that many, if not most, trade and professional association activities involve the direct interaction of competitors, it is prudent for association executives, staff and their advisors to take practical steps to reduce potential competition law risk.
Trade and professional associations have also grown as a Competition Bureau priority over the past few years including several high profile association related enforcement matters, regular discussion of association activities in Bureau personnel speeches and new enforcement guidelines including the Bureau’s recently issued pamphlet Trade Associations and the Competition Act. Some basic guidelines for associations to minimize potential criminal or civil competition law risk include:
Associations: Trade Association Members, Association Executive Fined in Paving Stone Price-fixing Case
September 11, 2014
Well summer is certainly over. The weather is distinctly cooler and “fall-like” and in the competition/antitrust law world the number of cases and antitrust agency activity is increasing again. In this respect, one interesting case that caught my eye earlier today was a German trade association case in which the German antitrust agency (the Bundeskartellamt) announced that it has imposed 6.2 million euros in further fines for alleged price-fixing by members of a concrete paving stone association and association executive (see: Bundeskartellamt imposes further fines on manufacturers of concrete paving stones on account of price-fixing agreements).
September 10, 2014
An interesting new Cardus report released yesterday (authored by Stephen W. Bauld and Brian Dijkema), entitled Hiding in Plain Sight: Evaluating Closed Tendering in Construction Markets, argues against closed tendering in public construction procurement. The report also includes discussions of recent Charbonneau Commission developments, construction unions and purported arguments for closed tendering in public procurement (such as for “safety” or “qualification” reasons). One of the central conclusions of the report is that local rules that limit competitive tendering are diametrically opposed to the key principles of public procurement: openness, fairness and transparency. Well worth a read (abstract below with a link to the complete report).
September 8, 2014
In an interesting case that caught my eye earlier today, the U.S. FTC announced a proposed settlement with Texas-based Applied Food Sciences Inc. (AFS) in relation to allegedly “baseless” green coffee extract weight loss claims. According to the FTC, AFS, which sells a green coffee ingredient used in foods and dietary supplements, made public claims (including following publicity on the Dr. Oz Show) that subjects lost weight “without diet or exercise” using their product. These claims were based on an Indian clinical trial which, in the FTC’s view, was a “botched study” that didn’t prove anything.
Competition Law Enforcement: Highlights of the Canadian Competition Bureau’s Innaugural Quarterly Report
August 29, 2014
Earlier today, Canada’s Competition Bureau announced that it has launched a new Quarterly Report as part of its ongoing “Transparency Initiative” (i.e., to increase its communication to Canadians regarding the work the Bureau does). According to the Bureau, its new Quarterly Report “presents statistics relating to a variety of intake measures, merger and non-merger enforcement matters, as well as advocacy, outreach and partnership initiatives”. I discuss a few key points below that caught my eye.
August 29, 2014
WHAT ARE TRADEMARKS?
A mark (words, names, symbols, devices, sounds, smells, trade dress) used to distinguish the goods and services of one business from similar goods and services of all other businesses.
August 28, 2014
WHAT IS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT?
Original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works. That is, an original expression (of an idea) fixed in some (usually, tangible) form: fixed or unfixed performances of a work by a performer; sound recordings, including sound recordings of a performance; broadcasts (communication signals).
August 24, 2014
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has proposed settlements in two cases involving professional associations and codes of ethics that the FTC alleged violated U.S. antitrust laws (the FTC Act) (see: here). In these two cases, involving the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) and National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), the associations agreed to remove provisions in their codes of ethics that, according to the FTC, limited competition among members and raised antitrust law concerns.