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Antitrust Risks in E-Commerce Distribution: Avoiding RPM, MAP and Other Pitfalls in Online Sales and Pricing

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, March 16, 2017

Recorded event now available

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This CLE course will examine antitrust concerns for online retailers, distributors and manufacturers with direct to consumer e-commerce sales. The panel will also outline best practices to identify the potential for antitrust abuse and to avoid or minimize antitrust violations and liability.


With internet sales, pricing and distribution the norm, companies and their counsel must be aware of the impact of antitrust laws and regulations and the scrutiny of federal agencies on the behavior of suppliers and distributors.

Internet efficiencies allow consumers to quickly compare prices, making resale price maintenance (RPM) protections that limit the supplier/manufacturer's ability to control prices a key concern. Whether RPM practices in the U.S. are deemed illegal is a critical question, and is further complicated by the potential international implications of such practices.

Structuring policies that address minimum advertised price (MAP) restrictions on the internet creates other complexities, particularly when distinguishing between an advertised price and a selling price. Moreover, internet distribution raises thorny questions about potential price discrimination between internet and “brick and mortar” distributors under the Robinson-Patman Act.

Listen as our panel of experienced antitrust attorneys provides guidance on U.S. and state laws affecting RPM, MAP, Robinson-Patman, and other antitrust considerations affecting online sales, pricing and distribution. The panel will also discuss best practices for companies to minimize antitrust liability in e-commerce business practices.



  1. E-commerce vs. traditional distribution
  2. RPM (vertical price fixing)
  3. MAP restrictions
  4. Robinson-Patman and other traditional distribution considerations
  5. Best practices for avoiding internet distribution antitrust problems


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What are the challenges for online sellers in distinguishing between advertised prices and selling prices?
  • What is the e-commerce impact of the different state law approaches to the issue of whether minimum RPMs are illegal per se?
  • What steps can companies take to minimize antitrust exposure stemming from internet distribution?


James F. Herbison
James F. Herbison

Winston & Strawn

Mr. Herbison concentrates his practice on complex commercial litigation with an emphasis on civil and criminal...  |  Read More

Hicks, Jason
Jason C. Hicks

Womble Bond Dickinson

Mr. Hicks has experience litigating cases and counseling clients in a wide variety of matters involving federal and...  |  Read More

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