A free exchange of ideas on matters of mutual interest to the members is necessary for the success of all meetings.
Indeed, such an exchange of views is essential to the successful operation of every trade association and the law
specifically allows legitimate exchange of views pertaining to, e.g., quality control, safety, building design and
construction integrity, etc.
It is not the purpose of this memorandum to discourage the exploration in depth of any matters of legitimate
concern to meeting participants. Nevertheless, to ignore certain antitrust ground rules, either through ignorance or
otherwise, is to create a civil and criminal hazard businessmen simply cannot afford.
It is for these reasons that PTI provides you with a reminder that certain areas of formal and informal
communication between competitors or between manufacturers and their suppliers and customers must be
avoided, as posing potential antitrust problems.
The Sherman Antitrust Act, the Clayton Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, and the Robinson-Patman Act
comprise the basic federal antitrust laws, which set forth the broad areas of conduct considered illegal as restraints
of trade. In general, agreements or understandings between competitors that operate as an impediment to free and
open competition are forbidden. Federal antitrust prohibitions forbid any "agreement or understanding...to
substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly in any line of commerce." An important point to
keep in mind is that communications and discussions between competitors or between sellers and customers, about
matters which may be considered anti-competitive, often comprise the evidence from which courts infer antitrust
violations. It is the policy of the Post-Tensioning Institute that such agreements, understandings or
communications shall not be tolerated at any formal or informal meetings or social events of the Institute.
The general prohibitions contained in the federal antitrust laws, have been particularized in the form of a series of
consent decrees, originally entered against a number of member companies of various trade associations and the
associations themselves. It is important to note that these laws not only apply to PTI members, but also to PTI
itself. Often trade associations have been and are presently co-defendants in cases brought by the Justice
Department and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). Recently, the FTC has stated: “Because trade
associations are by their nature collaborations among competitors, the Commission and courts have long been
concerned with anti-competitive restraints imposed by such organizations under the guise of codes of conduct.
Competing for customers, cutting prices, and recruiting employees are hallmarks of vigorous competition.
Agreements among competitors not to engage in these activities injure consumers by increasing prices and
reducing quality and choice.” Similar “codes” or policies and requirements that encourage directly or indirectly
members’ unlawful activity are strictly forbidden by PTI in the course of its business with its members.