What Is Antitrust Law?
Antitrust law is a collection of regulations aimed at promoting competition among businesses and preventing monopolies. In many other countries, antitrust law is called “competition law,” which is a great way to think of it. Very generally, antitrust law precludes unlawful mergers, acquisitions, and business practices that are harmful to the economy.
Who’s In Charge Of Antitrust Law?
Antitrust law is composed of both State and Federal regulations. Federal Antitrust law is created by Congress and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (“The FTC”). The FTC has a great summary of antitrust regulations on its website. If you would like to learn more, check it out here.
What Are The Main Components of Antitrust Law?
The “main components” of Federal antitrust law are the Sherman Act of 1890, the Clayton Act of 1914, and the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914. These acts are intended to accomplish a few things:
- prohibit collusive practices which restrain trade;
- restrict corporate mergers/acquisitions which would substantially lessen competition;
- prohibit the creation of monopolies; and
- proscribe the abuse of monopoly power.
The Sherman Act of 1890
The Sherman Act proscribes “every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade,” and any “monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize.” The Act is recorded as 15 U.S.C. §§ 1 et seq., and its exact text can be found here.
The Clayton Act of 1914
The Clayton Act expands upon certain prohibitions not expressly addressed in the Sherman Act. More specifically, the Clayton Act proscribes such business activities that “may be substantially to lessen competition, or tend to create a monopoly.” The Act is codified as 15 U.S.C. §§ 18 et seq., and its exact text can be found here.
The Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914
The Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 disallows “unfair methods of competition” and “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” The Act is codified as 15 U.S.C. §§ 45 et seq., and its precise text can be found here.
Got An Antitrust Question?
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