This handbook offers guidance regarding the fundamentals and the
perplexing nuances of price discrimination laws. While paying
appropriate attention to the federal Robinson-Patman Act (RPA),1 the
handbook also discusses analogs under state law, so-called “locality”
price discrimination laws, and related industry-specific prohibitions—all
variations on the theme of protecting buyers against price discrimination
by sellers in statutorily defined circumstances. Reflecting the increasing
globalization of commerce, the handbook also discusses the price
discrimination laws and philosophies of other countries in which
multinational companies do business.
This chapter provides an overview of the various types of price
discrimination laws, their legislative rationales, and the continuing
debate over whether prohibitions against price discrimination are
consistent with other antitrust laws and the consumer welfare principles
underpinning them. Chapter II focuses on the specific prohibitions and
defenses provided under U.S. federal price discrimination law,
specifically, the RPA, and offers practical guidance on compliance and
the private litigation of RPA claims. Chapter III offers an overview of
1. 15 U.S.C. § 13. The core price discrimination provision of Section 2(a)
of the RPA, 15 U.S.C. § 13(a), states:
It shall be unlawful for any person engaged in commerce, in the
course of such commerce, either directly or indirectly, to
discriminate in price between different purchasers of
commodities of like grade and quality, where either or any of the
purchases involved in such discrimination are in commerce,
where such commodities are sold for use, consumption or resale
within the United States or any Territory thereof or the District
of Columbia . . . and where the effect of such discrimination may
be substantially to lessen competition or tend to create a
monopoly in any line of commerce, or to injure, destroy, or
prevent competition with any person who either grants or
knowingly receives the benefit of such discrimination, or with
customers of either of them.

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