Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Boycott Definition:

The enlisting of persons to withhold, patronage or services from a target.

Related Terms: Strike

A term of labor/labour law and also of antitrust/competition law but there is no significant difference between the meaning of the term in both areas of law.1

In Trident Neuro-Imaging Laboratory v. Blue Cross, Justice Hawkins of the United States District Court presents an excellent, concise definition:

"The generic concept of boycott is a method of pressuring a party with whom one has a dispute by withholding, or enlisting others to withhold, patronage or services from the target."

Or in Determined Productions v. R. Dakin & Co.:

"A boycott generally involves concerted action, normally by competitors or by suppliers or customers of the affected firm, having the purpose or effect of barring a trader's access to a market."

The standard antitrust definition of a boycott is exemplified by these words of Justice Coffin of the United States Court of Appeals in Barry v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance:

"In antitrust law, a boycott is a concerted refusal to deal with a disfavored purchaser or seller."

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