The purpose of this policy is to describe the Antitrust and Competition Policy (Policy) of the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). TIA and its members support effective competition and the many benefits it brings to consumers. The U.S. Government and governments around the world take steps to ensure the markets function properly by setting appropriate rules and regulations. TIA and its members support and want to comply fully with these rules and regulations.
The provisions in this Policy apply to all TIA activities of any nature, and to all participants in these activities, including TIA employees, TIA Board of Directors, TIA member representatives, guests, consultants and others. All participants in TIA activities are expected to be sensitive to and comply with this Policy, and to take steps to prevent noncompliance. A complementary policy regarding standards development by volunteers on TIA Engineering Committees can be found in the TIA Standards Legal Guides on the TIA website. By participating in TIA’s activities, including activities undertaken by Engineering Committees, you agree to this Policy. If you do not agree, please do not participate in TIA’s activities.
Proper Activities or Conduct
Group activities of competitors are inherently suspect under the antitrust laws. Improper activities and conduct are described in the section below entitled Improper Activities or Conduct. Many activities among competitors, however, are both legal and beneficial to society and the industry. These activities typically undertaken by trade associations like TIA include but are not limited to networking, educational events designed to keep the public or industry informed about developments, government-industry conversations designed to inform the government, industry and public, and promotional programs to promote the industry as a whole.
Improper Activities or Conduct
Anticompetitive joint action is improper and prohibited under antitrust and competition laws. Participants in TIA activities should not discuss or exchange any information regarding the following, whether seriously or in jest:
Restraint of Trade Agreements, including the establishment of prices, production quotas, and similar restraints on competition.
Prices or Costs, including company prices or costs, price changes, price differentials, pricing patterns or policies, terms and conditions of sale affecting price such as discounts, allowances, credit terms, warranties, rebates, special financing, or indemnification agreements. Do not discuss industry pricing policies, price levels, price changes, pricing procedures, profit margins or other data that bear on price. Do not discuss company plans concerning the design, production, distribution or marketing of particular products or product features, including possible or proposed customer territories. Agreements with competitors (1) to control or limit production, (2) restrict or allocate exports or imports, (3) control or limit product quality or research, or (4) allocate sales according to customers, territories or products.
Marketing Procedures or Policies, including territorial restrictions, allocations of customers, restrictions on types of products or any other kind of market division. Companies should not exchange information relating to individual company costs of production or distribution and any formulas for computing such costs. Agreements among competitors to boycott certain suppliers, customers or competitors are per se unlawful. In the trade association context, restrictions on membership and participation in association activities, disciplinary proceedings and standard-setting activities generate most boycott issues. In particular, TIA members should not engage in any discussion about whether to refuse to do business with any other entity or whether to limit or terminate any existing relationship.
NOTE: This list is not exhaustive, and understanding and acting in compliance with U.S. and foreign antitrust laws sometimes can be difficult. If you have any questions about the propriety of TIA activities or discussions in a meeting, you are encouraged to contact TIA counsel or your company’s legal counsel. You should object to improper discussions, remove yourself from the discussion and/or meeting, and immediately notify a TIA staff member. Violations of antitrust laws can result in criminal and civil penalties and liability for the companies and individuals involved.