Have you ever wondered why your handbag costs so much? How about your jogging suit? Blue jeans? Pillow? Backpack? Luggage? UGG boots?
A new price-fixing lawsuit against the dominant makers of "apparel fasteners" — including zippers — may hold part of the answer.
The case, Little Earth Productions, Inc. v. YKK Corp., No. 07-cv-04888-RBS (E.D. Pa.), accuses YKK, Prym, and Scovill of engaging in a "long-running worldwide conspiracy by Defendants and their co-conspirators to fix prices and allocate customers for fasteners and attaching machines."
It follows the September 19, 2007, announcement by the European Commission’s antitrust enforcers that it imposed nearly $500 million in fines (€328.6 million) on the conspiring companies for their involvement in four separate cartels. The first conspiracy started as far back as 1977, and the latest one didn’t end until 2003 at the earliest, according to the Commission’s press release.
The Little Earth complaint helpfully defines fasteners to include:
[S]nap fasteners, open prong fasteners, capped fasteners, hooks and eyes, rivets and burrs, post or prong rings, boot hooks, eyelets, tack buttons, sockets, backplates, studs, screw studs, posts, washers, grommets, caps, locking fasteners, and ‘notions" or small items of numerous kinds and types used for fastening material together in a wide variety of products int he garment, apparel, luggage, marine products and footwear industries.
Let us know if you’d like a pdf of the complaint.