Antitrust laws make headlines when major corporations, like those in the banking or airlines industry, plan on merging. Antitrust can be a complex area of law, requiring the use of mergers and acquisition expert witnesses, economists, and industry specific business expert witness in order to prove a case. But it’s not just big businesses that are impacted by antitrust law.The goal of antitrust laws are to foster competition so the marketplace will have the greatest range of services and products with the widest range of quality and price. Antitrust laws seek to prevent monopolies and agreements among competitors to restrain trade (such as allocating markets, fixing prices or boycotting suppliers). An example of an illegal agreement is exchanging price or cost information and then acting in concert.Depending on a number of factors, a small business may legally dominate the local market for a good or service. Some industries are more prone to antitrust issues, like those with a group of businesses that regularly bid on work, or if the market is controlled by a small number of businesses. Additional, industries with rare products also have increased risk of violation.There are state and federal antitrust laws. The federal laws are broken down into the
- Sherman Antitrust Act
- A criminal law prohibiting all contracts, combinations and conspiracies that unreasonably restrain interstate and foreign trade, including agreements among competitors to fix prices, rig bids and allocate customers, which are punishable as felonies,
- Clayton Act
- A civil law prohibiting mergers or acquisitions that are likely to lessen competition and the
- Federal Trade Commission Act
- A civil law prohibiting unfair methods of competition in interstate commerce.