What are the antitrust laws?
The goal of the antitrust laws is to protect and promote competition for goods and services of all kinds. There are two main federal antitrust statutes. First, the Clayton Act prohibits mergers that are likely to substantially lessen competition. Second, the Sherman Act prohibits contracts, combinations and conspiracies that unreasonably restrain trade and also forbids monopolization by a dominant firm in a market. There are also laws in many states that are directed at promoting fair competition.
What conduct is illegal under the antitrust laws?
Some examples of conduct forbidden by the antitrust laws include price-fixing, market allocation, boycotts, tying arrangements, price discrimination, monopolization and attempted monopolization.
Who enforces the antitrust laws?
Private citizens and businesses, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission enforce the federal antitrust laws. Violations of the Sherman Act give rise to both civil damages and criminal punishment of up to 10 years imprisonment and $100 million in fines. Criminal penalties for violations of the Sherman Act, though, may only be sought by the U.S. Department of Justice. In states that have enacted antitrust laws, the executive branches of those states enforce them. In general, however, private citizens and businesses may also enforce state antitrust laws.
Of what benefit are antitrust lawsuits?
Antitrust actions may be brought as individual or class actions, depending on the facts of any given case and the desires of the injured plaintiffs. The decision to proceed on a class or individual basis, or to "opt out" of an existing action is one that involves balancing a number of factors, including economics, the probabilities of success, damages and relative bargaining power, among other factors. Scott + Scott works closely with its clientsto ensure such decisions are made prudently, on an informed basis and in the client's best interests.