US: FTC bars non-poaching agreements for ski gear makers

The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly settled with ski equipment manufacturers accused of anticompetitive behavior by striking non-poaching agreements with each other, a practice that has recently come under fire following the high-profile class action against major technology companies for the same agreements.

According to the FTC, Tecnica Group and Marker Völkl have settled with regulators and agreed to no longer make such agreements, which prevent each other from hiring each others’ employees or compete for each others’ ski endorsers.

Those ski endorsement deals, made with professional skiers, is the most expensive yet most effective ways to market ski equipment, the FTC said.

Regulators probed the companies and reportedly found that they had made the unfair agreements starting in 2004. The deals allowed the two companies to not bid against each other for endorsement deals.

Non-compete deals were the subject of a recently-settled class action lawsuit against major Silicon Valley companies including Google and Apple. Plaintiffs accused the companies of agreeing not to hire each others’ employees, and ultimately settled the case.

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