The broad purpose of the Robinson-Patman Act is to prohibit sellers from granting price allowances, and other specified benefits which give competitive advantage to a purchaser and also discriminate against his competitors. It came into existence largely because the Clayton Act had proven ineffective in dealing with the chain store, which made sizeable capital investments "in facilities for performing bulk storage, redelivery, and financing, so as to 'integrate' the retailing and wholesaling functions... and to eliminate middleman profits by dealing with the manufacturer directly." The claims generated such concern among the independents that they demanded and obtained legislative relief. Whether the Robinson-Patman Act neutralizes the economic power of the large chains is a question that has provoked heated controversy. However, there can be no argument that its application has given rise to many problems for businessmen and their legal advisors.
Arthur D. Austin, Meeting Competition in Good Faith, and the Premium Product, 14 Clev.-Marshall L. Rev. 610 (1965)