The Hydraulic Institute is a trade association of pump manufacturers and suppliers in North America. As an industry organization the Hydraulic Institute serves a legitimate and useful purpose, and may legally engage in a wide variety of activities which serve the industry — so long as they do not violate antitrust laws. Antitrust considerations require that Institute activities be structured so as to promote competition and the Institute must refrain from any activity that might be construed as unlawfully limiting competition among its members or with nonmembers of the Institute.
There are activities which the Institute can and should undertake which might later become illegal if they transform into devices for violating the antitrust laws. Because of the difficulty of determining what activities might become violations of antitrust, the following guidelines are presented so that no member of the Institute Staff, representative of an Institute member, or Institute committee member will knowingly or willfully further any questionable activity under the umbrella of the Institute.
Representatives of members of the Institute and committee members should know enough about antitrust laws to be able to avoid doing or discussing things in their work for or with the Institute that might raise questions. Representatives of Institute members, whether they be voting or non-voting, are urged to avoid not only actual violations of the law, but also any appearance of violation that might invite suspicion or investigation on the part of the enforcement authorities. A reasonable amount of common sense and good judgment must be used by those who serve the Institute, so that no risk will be created of violations of law. To protect the Institute, its members and non-members who participate in Institute activities, the Institute has adopted and observes several basic policies:
Antitrust laws are not intended to inhibit legitimate business activity. Their objective is to help preserve a free economy by encouraging competition in the marketplace. They outlaw artificial restraints on competition. The laws are maintained because certain unlawful business practices can threaten to distort the marketplace. Most experts believe that if these laws should fail to do their main job, they might be replaced by a much more inflexible system of government regulation and controls over business.
Antitrust suits fall into several categories:
To avoid possible problems, the following “don’ts” should be kept in mind by all Institute Staff, representatives of Institute members, and committee members when meeting for Institute activities:
The above comments are intended as guidelines and not as rules. Every individual must use his or her own judgment in activities relating to the Institute. If ever there is doubt in your mind regarding the legality of an activity or discussion — if there is a question in your mind that you might be violating the antitrust laws — discuss the matter with your corporate legal counsel or with the Institute’s staff and legal counsel before proceeding.