O’Melveny Worldwide

Competition Policy International: Buyer Cartel Doctrine: Lessons from Labor Antitrust

June 29, 2021


In this bylined article for Competition Policy International, O’Melveny counsel Sergei Zaslavsky and associate Laura Kaufmann investigate what employer wage-fixing and no-poach agreements—examples of specialized buyer collusion—can reveal about buyer cartel doctrine writ large. 

In the field of antitrust law, caselaw tends to home in on seller cartels, causing a dearth of related doctrine on buyer cartels. The authors research this neglected area of law by focusing on three questions: 1) whether a case falls under the rule of reason or the per se rubric; 2) what kind of competitive harm the plaintiff must show; and 3) how to define the relevant market.

Zaslavsky and Kaufmann suggest that “[w]ith all signs pointing to wage-fixing and no-poach litigation continuing to keep the courts busy for the foreseeable future,” this labor and employment subcategory is primed to play a major role in the evolution of buyer cartel doctrine.

Competition Policy International subscribers can read the full article here.