Federal regulation ensures that the US free market economy remains a fair place to compete.
With no restrictions whatsoever, rich and acquisitive individuals and corporations might take whatever actions they wanted to eliminate their competition — even if those actions were unethical. The marketplace would be dominated by a very few wealthy companies, smaller businesses would not be able to compete and, importantly, consumers would suffer.
Beginning in the late 19th century era of the robber barons, the federal government took steps to restrict monopolies and cartels. Today, both civil and criminal penalties are in place to prevent trusts, which are large corporations that form, or attempt to form, a monopoly in the marketplace.
- The first US antitrust legislation was the Sherman Antitrust Act, created in 1890. Under the Sherman Act, it is illegal to form trusts or conspiracies that would monopolize commerce. Individuals and corporations can both be prosecuted under the Sherman Act.
- The Clayton Act, passed in 1914, expands the terms of the Sherman Act by addressing issues such as mergers and acquisitions, price fixing and price discrimination.
- The Federal Trade Commission Act in 1914 established the bipartisan Federal Trade Commission, which is authorized to enforce the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act, and to curtail unfair trade practices by big businesses.
- In 1936, the Robinson-Patman Act further restricted unfair business practices.
Federal antitrust laws have been structured to protect both fair competition and consumers. A plaintiff company not only has to show its own business has been hurt by an unscrupulous competitor – the plaintiff also has to prove that the defendant tried to undercut competition in a specific market and in doing so harmed the plaintiff in the process.
Federal Antitrust Violations
- Attempts to create a monopoly
- Unfair competition
- Restraining trade
- Price fixing
- Bid fixing
- Unfair mergers and acquisitions
- Unfair business practices
Alleged antitrust violations are pursued relentlessly by the federal government, and federal prosecutors will fight to impose the maximum penalties.
If you are indicted for an antitrust violation, you will need to retain a defense attorney who will stand up to federal authorities and protect your rights.
Questions? Contact us today.
If you are charged with a federal crime, the consequences can be devastating. Fienman Defense will fight tenaciously to protect your constitutional rights. We will guide you through a court system that can be complex and intimidating, and provide you with the strongest possible defense.