Find an Antitrust & Trade Regulation Lawyer

America's economy is founded on the basic principle of fair competition within a certain marketplace or arena of trade. Trusts and monopolies interfere with this idea by concentrating wealth in the hands of only a relatively small number of people. This kind of concentration is considered harmful to the public as well as individuals because such trusts and monopolies can not only limit, but in some cases destroy normal marketplace behavior/competition.

Antitrust Laws

Antitrust laws can be applied to practically all industries and level of business, including manufacturing, transportation, distribution, and marketing. They inhibit a variety of practices that prevent trade, such as price-fixing conspiracies, corporate mergers that are likely to reduce the competitive vigor of particular markets, and predatory acts designed to achieve or maintain monopoly power.

The Sherman Antitrust Act (1890)

To prevent these kinds of trusts and monopolies from developing and thus restraining trade and hindering competition, Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890. This act was designed to maintain economic freedom and eliminate opportunities for development of trusts and monopolies. The Sherman Antitrust Act declared illegal "every contract, combination…or conspiracy in restraint of trade or commerce" between states or foreign countries. Federal statutes, like the Sherman Antitrust Act, have a limited scope because of Constitutional constraints; however the act contains a commerce clause that does allow for wide interpretation and application of its principles. The Sherman Antitrust Act is the first and main source of Antitrust Law. Most states have comparable statutes prohibiting monopolistic conduct, price fixing agreements, and other acts in restraint of trade having strictly local impact.

Clayton Antitrust Act (1914)

The Clayton Antitrust Act, which was significantly amended in 1936 by the Robinson-Patman Act and again in 1950 by the Celler-Kefauver Antimerger Act, prohibits discrimination among customers through pricing as well as disallows mergers, acquisitions or takeovers of one firm by another if the effect will "substantially lessen competition." It also deals more specifically with types of restraints including exclusive dealing arrangements, tie-in sales, price discrimination, mergers and acquisitions, and interlocking directorates. This act carries only civil penalties and is enforced jointly by both the Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission.

Antitrust Law & Lawyers

When researching antitrust law and lawyers, it is important to find attorneys who specialize in this kind of law and are experts with issues like sales and distribution, antitrust and unfair competition, trademarks and copyrights, advertising law, consumer protection and franchising. It's not always necessary to find a law firm that deals with all of these issues; however it is good if they are well versed in most of them so as to provide legal representation across the spectrum of a client's business activity.

By Elysse Kimberlin           

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