Fair Trade Revisited

by Marshall Howard

Fall 1967

Volume 10
Issue 1

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This article discusses some severe judicial and legislative setbacks received by fair trade in the last dozen years in the U.S. In a few cases, state legislatures have repealed fair trade acts or the vital nonsigner provisions whereby all resellers are bound by any one contract. Furthermore, court decisions now make it quite clear that the task of maintaining a program of resale price maintenance on branded goods is replete with so many complications and ramifications that it may be found, on balance, to be unprofitable. When business chooses to operate within the support of fair trade laws, it will find that it must gear its operations strictly within the wording and interpretation of these laws. The use of fair trade for resale price maintenance is a form of price fixing, and the limits of action, within this statutory right to fix prices, are to be construed strictly. A distinct trend for state courts to find fair trade acts unconstitutional in whole or in part has become apparent and has accelerated.

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