The Robinson-Patman Act and Consumer Welfare: Has Volvo Reconciled Them?
Seattle University Law Review, Vol. 30, p. 349, 2007
27 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2009
Date Written: 2007
This article analyzes the Supreme Court’s most recent Robinson-Patman case, Volvo v. Reeder-Simco, and shows that decision did not reconcile the Robinson-Patman Act with the other antitrust laws. In particular, it did not require a plaintiff in a secondary line R-P case (a case challenging discrimination among customers) to show that the discrimination reduced market wide competition. While the Court emphasized that the challenged conduct benefited competition and consumers, it offered this point as a reason to reject the expansive interpretation of the Act the plaintiff sought. Had the plaintiff brought a perfectly traditional secondary line case, the opinion indicates the Court would have analyzed it in the traditional way. The article bolsters this conclusion with discussions of the goals of the antitrust laws and the legal and economic significance of buyer power.
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