Regulation of Business – Robinson-Patman Act – A Further Look at Functional Discounts

Probably no sphere of governmental regulation of business in the United States has caused more concern or created more confusion than the attempted regulation of pricing practices. This problem has arisen, in part, because of the peculiar tendencies of certain segments of the American economy toward expansion and vertical integration and, also in part, because of the adoption of ambiguous and prejudicial legislation designed as a cure-all for allegedly harmful pricing practices. In addition, the attitude of the courts and the Federal Trade Commission in this field has been far from consistent over the years, with the result that neither businessmen nor lawyers have been- able to predict with any certainty the legal consequences of proposed pricing policies. It is the purpose of this comment to review the effect of governmental price regulation in the context of the so-called “functional” or “trade” discount.