Tying charges arise when a company is said to have made the sale of one good dependant on the purchase of a second distinct good. The Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice is responsible for prosecuting this anti-competitive practice, and most states have additional laws against tying, enforced on the state level.
Horizontal tying allegations surface when a corporation is said to have compelled customers to pay for an unrelated product along with the desired one, and vertical tying accusations arise when that company is believed to have required customers to purchase related products or services.
The Sherman Act and Clayton Act prohibit certain tying arrangements. In order for the prosecuting agent to succeed in making a finding of tying, he or she must establish that the seller has sufficient market power (not necessarily monopoly power), and that the tying affects a "not insubstantial" amount of interstate commerce in the tied product market.
Defenses to Tying Charges
There are two recognized defenses to an alleged tying violation:
- The business justification defense: When there are sound business interests which justify the otherwise illegal tie
- The fledgling industry defense: When an industry is young and requiring a company to sell products or services separately would destroy that company and possibly the new industry as well. In order to protect the fledgling industry, the courts may permit the seller to continue the otherwise illegal tying.
Tying is one of the most common antitrust charges, and prosecution for this alleged offense is always aggressive and extensive.
We Can Help
Are you facing a federal Antitrust Charges? If so, you need the support of an experienced legal team. The Blanch Law Firm has the necessary wisdom and expertise to defend you against such charges, whether through litigation or a motion to dismiss.
Contact one of our attorneys by calling 646-797-4771 .