Can a textile company that also owns an apparel line refuse to sell me fabric because my intended product is similar to theirs?

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Can a textile company that also owns an apparel line refuse to sell me fabric because my intended product is similar to theirs?

I’m starting a new medical scrub line and I am currently trying to find a fabric supplier for my new line. The company that I would like to buy the fabric from also owns their own scrub line with a different business name using their fabric (they manufacture it) that is unique and hard to find. The company is refusing to sell me the fabric because I intend to use it to manufacture my own scrub line. Can they legally do that?

Asked on September 28, 2011 under Business Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Of course they can legally do this:there is no law requiring any business to do business with any particular person, apart from a few rules about not discriminating in hiring/employment; not discriminating in places of public accomodation (e.g. malls); and additional rules that bind companies closely doing business with the government. However, all these rules are about illegal discrimination, such as on racial basis. Apart from that, any company is free to decided when and whether to do business with someone, and is absolutely free to not sell materials or supplies to someone who is or hopes to be a competitor of theirs. The law does not force business 1 to help business 2 compete with it and take sales, market share, or money away from it.


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