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"Generic" version of interbrand bill debuted.

"Generic" version of interbrand bill debuted

U.S. Rep. Jack Brooks (D-TX) recently introduced H.R. 3151, entitled the Interbrand Competition Act of 1989. If enacted, the bill would confirm the legality of manufacturer-distributor agreements giving wholesalers the right to sell a trademarked product in a defined georgraphic zone as long as the product "is in substantial and effective competition with other products within the market area."

Unlike previous versions of the bill offered in the last four sessions of Congress, this one does not apply specifically to the beer industry but instead covers any product distributed through exclusive territories.

"We anticipate a hearing on the bill after the August recess," said Jack Lewis, vice president of government affairs, National Beer Wholesalers Assoc., referring to Congress' reconvening date, September 6. "It is important that beer wholesalers meet with their Congressmen--especially Judiciary Committee members--during their recess visits to their home districts.

Lewis explained that the bill would reduce the number of law suits brought against a wholesaler, citing one New York suit that has resulted in three years of litigation and millions of dollars in legal fees. The bill would not exempt wholesalers from antitrust challenges, Lewis noted, but would require a court to find no substantial or effective competition present before a case could go to a full-scale "rule of reason" trial.

"All the Interbrand bill will do is make threshold tests uniform, and sharpen the market power test to a finding of substantial and to a finding of substantial and effective interbrand competition."

In addition, Lewis added, Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ) is expected to introduce a Senate version of the bill when he returns from August recess.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Sep 4, 1989
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