Tying and Bundling

About Anticompetitive Tying and Bundling Arrangements

Tying or bundling occurs when a company makes the purchase of one product or service (the tying good or service) conditional on the purchase of a second good or service (the tied good or service).

In cases where the seller offering the tied goods or services has sufficient market power, these arrangements can be anticompetitive. The arrangements harm competitors who sell the second (tied) good or service, and consumers, who are forced to purchase a good or service they do not necessarily want (or at least from that seller). This is especially true when the good is tied to a product that many consumers consider critical.

Laws Prohibiting Anticompetitive Tying

Anticompetitive tying arrangements violate federal antitrust law, notably the Clayton Antitrust Act, and are prohibited by state antitrust law, including the Cartwright Act in California.

Under federal and some state laws, private parties (businesses or consumers) who were harmed by anticompetitive conduct can bring antitrust lawsuits seeking damages (in some instance treble damages) and injunctive relief.

Victim of a Tying or Bundling Antitrust Violation?

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