The purpose of federal and state antitrust statutes is to assure the preservation of a free and competitive economy. To achieve this end, these laws embody a general prohibition against any contract, combination or conspiracy among competitors which has the effect of unreasonably restraining trade.
These guidelines are intended to familiarize members of the National Energy Services Association (NESA) with the broad contours of antitrust prohibitions so that antitrust compliance policies are achieved. If there is any question concerning the application of antitrust laws, an opinion should be obtained from legal counsel.
Membership in a trade association, such as the NESA, does not constitute an antitrust violation. Activities which ordinarily are considered appropriate for discussion are (inter alia), as follows:
Reports on general and industry economic trends;
Research reports and demonstrations of technology relating to the solution of industry problems;
Demonstrations of cost control methods by which members can become more efficient and profitable;
Reports on effective marketing techniques and methods;
Reports on new and improved products;
Reports on energy supply and utilization; and
Reports on governmental developments and their impact on the industry.
It is the policy of the NESA to conduct its activities in strict compliance with all applicable federal and state antitrust laws. Toward that end, the following brief set of guidelines was prepared to prevent the initiation of inappropriate discussions or actions.
CHECKLIST OF PROTECTIVE ACTIONS TO AVOID ANTITRUST INFRACTIONS
1. Do not engage in discussions or activities which may tend to:
Fix or otherwise restrict prices charged for any services, goods, or products;
Allocate markets, sales territories or customers;
Initiate or encourage boycotts of specific products or services, or refusals to deal with designated parties;
Limit production levels or otherwise restrict the availability of products, goods, or services;
Purposely hinder or discourage the competitive efforts of members or non-members;
Coerce or encourage anyone to refrain from competing;
Limit, impede or exclude anyone in the manufacture, production or sales of goods or services;
Promulgate or encourage unfair or misleading practices involving advertising or merchandising of products or services; or
Condition or tie the purchase of one product or service to the purchase of another product or service.
2. Do not discriminate against competitors by:
Developing unreasonable standards or specifications for products or services;
Setting unreasonable ethical standards; or
Communicating customer credit information.
3. Do not exchange data concerning prices, production levels and costs. The availability of historical data (as distinguished from future data) does not in itself constitute a violation of antitrust laws if the historical data reflects composite or average figures without identifying a company or if the historical data is from a public source.
4. Do not participate in the dissemination of suggested price lists.
5. Do not participate in informal discussion outside of the formal NESA sessions which disregard these guidelines.
The foregoing guidelines are not intended and should not be understood as a comprehensive summary of all antitrust problem areas.