Agreements in restraint of trade refers to a contract provision that restricts an individual or company from engaging in certain business activities. These agreements are common in the business world and aim to protect trade secrets, confidential information, and prevent employees or former employees from competing with their former employer.
However, not all agreements in restraint of trade are legal. In fact, there is a wealth of case law surrounding these types of agreements, both in the United States and abroad.
One of the most significant cases in the United States is the 1895 case of United States v. Addyston Pipe and Steel Co. In this case, a group of manufacturers agreed not to compete with each other and to only sell their products at a fixed price. The Supreme Court found that this agreement violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and constituted an illegal restraint of trade.
In the 1920 case of Texas v. American Medical Association, the Supreme Court found that an agreement among doctors not to refer patients to chiropractors violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. The Court reasoned that the agreement was an unreasonable restraint of trade since it deprived chiropractors of a legitimate source of business.
More recently, the 2010 case of United States v. American Express Co. examined an agreement between American Express and merchants that prevented the merchants from encouraging customers to use lower-cost credit cards. The Supreme Court found that this agreement did not violate antitrust laws since it promoted competition among credit card companies by ensuring that American Express could continue to offer its high-end services.
Outside of the United States, the 2012 case of Bărbulescu v. Romania examined an employer`s right to monitor an employee`s electronic communications. The European Court of Human Rights found that the employer had violated the employee`s right to privacy by accessing his private messages, but also found that the employer had legitimate reasons for monitoring the employee`s communications.
These cases illustrate the complexity of agreements in restraint of trade and the various factors that are considered when determining their legality. As a professional, it`s important to ensure that any content related to these types of agreements is accurate and up-to-date with current case law. By staying informed, writers can provide valuable information to their readers and help them navigate the often-confusing world of business agreements.