Resale price maintenance: Jurlique decision

In Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Jurlique International Pty Ltd [2007] FCA 79 (8 February 2007), Justice Spender of the Federal Court ordered penalties totalling $3.4 million plus costs against companies in the Jurlique cosmetics group and its founder.

Judge Spender found Jurlique guilty of contraventions of s 48 of the Trade Practices Act in relation to resale price maintenance of skin care, cosmetic and herbal medicine products, and contraventions of s 45 in relation to price fixing of skin and body treatment services.

The penalties were suggested by the parties by agreement and Judge Spender found no reason why he should "depart
from the figures agreed by properly informed and legally assisted parties with
different interests in the outcome of these proceedings."

In assessing the penalty he took into account that the conduct:

  • was deliberate,
  • was
    the result of a long-standing company policy,
  • over a long period of time,
  • was set by senior management and
  • affected retailers in
    Australia and internationally, and that
  • the consolidated position of the group disclosed substantial
    assets and significant profits.

Judge Spender noted the view of certain economists that the offence of resale price maintenance should not apply to prestige products but he found that view irrelevant.

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