The desirability of publishing an Antitrust and Associations
Handbook was noted several years ago by the leadership of what was
then known as the Trade Associations Committee of the Sect ion of
Antitrust Law. The Section’s 1996 practice guide entitled Antitrust &
Trade Associations had its origins in a coll ection of papers presented at a
Section program and was not c onceived as an integrated work. Despite
its high quali ty and great utility, the 1996 publication was incomplete in
some respects. Moreover, there have bee n significant developments in a
number of key areas in the intervening years. Nevertheless, what was
said in the Preface to the 1996 book remains true today:
Significant segments of American business and professions are
represented by trade and professional associations. Associations
increasingly serve as the focal point of change as the United States
economy shifts from a national to a global market, and new
technologies emerge that enable industries and professions to adapt
rapidly to these changing market conditions. To meet these challenges,
trade and professional associations have moved from a reactive role to
one of leadership. Associations are setting product standards, certifying
the expertise of professionals, and actively opposing or promoting new
legislative and regulatory initiatives.
The p otential procompetitive benefi ts of trade and professional
associations a re as apparent today as they were in 1996. It is also true,
however, that in 2009 as in 1996 association acti vities raise pot ential
antitrust risks. All practitioners are familiar with Adam Smith’s
comment about the inevitabl e tendency of competitors, when brought
together in one place, to conspire against the public good, and recent
international cartel cases provide sobering evidence that Smith’s
warning, though perhaps overstated, cannot be dismissed.
One of the challenges in preparing this Handbook is that the major
policy and case law developments in this area in recent years have
occurred in a variety of contexts that are, at least in some respects,
unlike the classic trade association. Those contexts include:

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