Resale price maintenance
Unlike many areas of competition law in Australia, the substance of Australia's resale price maintenance laws have remained largely unchanged since the introduction of the Trade Practices Act in 1974. Minimum RPM has, since the introduction of the TPA, been prohibited per se. The key changes to RPM laws have been:
- introduction of an authorisation mechanism in 1995 (Hilmer Committee recommendation)
- extension of RPM to services in 1995 (Hilmer Committee recommendation)
Authorisation of RPM
Despite the availability of authorisation for 20 years, it was not until 2014 that the first authorisation application for RPM was made. This application was successful, with the ACCC granting authorisation to Tooltechnic in December 2014: see Tooltechnic Systems (Aust) Pty Ltd Authorisation page for details and commentary.
There remains debate, globally, about whether or not it is appropriate to treat RPM as a per se prohibition. Much of the recent debate has followed the US Supreme Court decision in Leegin, which removed long-standing per se treatment of RPM.
As part of the current Competition Policy Review (Harper Review) the Panel has considered the issue of whether RPM should remain a per se ban. Briefly, the Panel's Draft Report recommends that RPM remain per se prohibited but that a notification option be available.
Download my summary of proposed RPM changes.
This recommendation also appeared in the final Harper report and was subsequently accepted by the Government.
It appears in Exposure Draft legislation released in September 2016.
Images copyright: Image ('Price Magnifier Definition Means Promotions And Savings') courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.