Many of the user companies of the GS1 System compete with each other. The competition is both horizontal and vertical. This means that every activity of GS1 must be measured against the prevailing anti-trust laws which proscribe combinations and conspiracies in restraint of trade, monopolies and attempts to monopolize, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices. These are very broad. Violations of the anti-trust laws can result in injunctions, treble damage judgments, heavy fines, and even imprisonment.
Strict compliance with the anti-trust laws is and always has been the policy of the GS1. GS1 exercises extreme care to avoid not only violation, but anything that might raise even a suspicion of possible violation.
An action, seemingly innocent when taken by itself, may be viewed by anti-trust enforcers as part of a pattern of activity which constitutes an anti-trust violation. Therefore, participants on GS1 committees, task forces, work groups, task groups, or other similar bodies, must always remember the purpose of the committee, task force, or work group is to enhance the ability of all industry members to compete more efficiently and effectively to provide better value to the consumer or end user. However, because GS1 activity almost always involves the cooperation of competitors, great care must be taken to assure compliance with the anti-trust laws.