When individuals employed by competing organizations meet, the potential for violating antitrust laws exist. In order to minimize that potential, certain topics of discussion must be avoided. These include any discussions of pricing policies, marketing strategies, or similar topics such as:
  • Past, current or future prices of products or services
  • What constitutes a “fair” profit margin
  • Increases, decreases, standardization, or stabilization of prices
  • Pricing procedures
  • Cash discounts and credit terms
  • Control of sales territories
  • Allocation of markets
  • Refusals to deal with a particular company because of its pricing or distribution practices
  • Whether or not the pricing practices of an industry are unethical or involve unfair or deceptive trade practices
  • Status of litigation against competitors
The penalties for violating the antitrust laws can be severe. In addition to awards of triple damages and attorneys’ fees, some violations can result in criminal fines and even jail terms.
In order to minimize the risk of an antitrust situation, all meetings should have a set written agenda circulated in advance. Any discussions that arise which involve pricing policies, marketing strategies, or similar topics should be ended immediately. Minutes of the meeting should accurately reflect what transpired.