Antitrust and Trade Regulation Law
Antitrust law is based on the notion that the economy functions best when competitors have limits for permitted activities. It is a philosophy that favors the free market, but places reasonable limits on the activities of businesses participating in the marketplaces. Activities governed by antitrust laws include preventing monopolies, setting pricing limitations, prohibiting predatory practices, controlling mergers, and ensuring truth in advertising. Related areas of the law include consumer protection, torts (wrongful interference, slander, etc.), intellectual property, employment, and contracts.
Encourages Business and Better Prices
Antitrust laws attempt to encourage competition and to promote the production of quality goods and services at the lowest prices for consumers. The principal goal of antitrust law is to protect public welfare by ensuring that consumer demands are met by the manufacture and sale of goods at sensible prices. To reach those aims, antitrust law is legislated by the federal and state governments to control trade and commerce by preventing unlawful restraints, price-fixing, and monopolies.
To meet the aims of fair competition and reasonable pricing, one of the biggest focuses of antitrust legislation relates to monopolies. Anti-monopoly laws generally touch on four principal areas: agreements between or among competitors, contractual arrangements between purchasers and sellers, the pursuit or care of monopoly power, and mergers.
The Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 is the foundation for U.S. antitrust regulation, and the majority of states have created their own statutes based upon it. Congress enacted additional amendments to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act through 1950. The most notable are the Clayton Act of 1914 and the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936. Congress also made a regulatory agency to oversee and enforce the law: the Federal Trade Commission.
Founded in 1914, the Federal Trade Commission investigates companies to ensure that there are no violations of anti-trust laws, passes regulations regarding what constitutes anti-competitive behavior, and may issue cease-and-desist orders to violators. The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is also charged with enforcing antitrust laws through litigation of civil and criminal charges against businesses believed to be in violation.
The resources below will provide you with additional information regarding antitrust laws. Additionally, you can find an attorney on our Law Firms page who can assist you with your antitrust matters and answer any additional questions you may have related to your particular jurisdiction.
Know Your Rights!
Articles on HG.org Related to Antitrust Law
- USPTO Issues Guidance to Patent Examiner in Wake of Prometheus DecisionThe U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a memorandum to its patent examiners regarding the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. The memorandum provides preliminary guidance to the Patent Examining Corps. in light of the Court’s decision, and also indicates that further guidance will be forthcoming.
- Has Louis Vuitton Gone Too Far to Protect Its Trademark?The intellectual property world is buzzing about the trademark dispute brewing between luxury brand Louis Vuitton and University of Pennsylvania Law School. Louis Vuitton recently sent a strongly worded cease and desist letter demanding that the school remove posters advertising the Pennsylvania Intellectual Property Group’s (PIRG) annual symposium on fashion law because the posters "misappropriated and modified" Vuitton's trademarked monogram design.
- U.S. Gymnasts Are Not the First “Fab Five”If the U.S. women’s Olympic team wants to capitalize on their gold medal win, they may need to hire an experienced trademark attorney. The group’s famous nickname—the Fab Five—is already trademarked by NBA player Jalen Rose.
- China Leads the World in Patent FilingChina was the world’s top patent filer for 2011, according to a new Thompson Reuters report. The significant uptick is attributed to the country’s desire to transform from a "made in China" to a "designed in China" market.
- Copyright FAQ: What Is a “Useful Article?”In a recent copyright infringement case involving Batman’s famous ride, the Batmobile, a U.S. federal judge ruled that the famous car was protected under the Copyright Act because it possessed non-functional artistic elements that could be separated from the utilitarian aspect of the automobile.
- Patent FAQ: Is My Invention Patentable?A patent is a valuable property right because it excludes others from “making, using, offering for sale, or selling your invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a certain period of time. However, before embarking on the patent process, the first step is determine if your invention can indeed be patented.
- Rock Legend Seeks Trademark for New Audio FormatWhat Does Neil Young Have Against MP3s? Legendary rocker Neil Young reportedly does not like how his songs currently sound on his iPod. To remedy the problem, he is working on a new, high-resolution audio format to replace MP3s, as evidenced by several trademarks applications recently filed on his behalf.
- Strong v. Weak Trademarks: How to Tell the DifferenceStrong trademarks are so distinctive that it is easy to prevent a third-party from using the mark. It is subsequently less difficult to both register and defend these trademarks. In contrast, “weak” trademarks are often descriptive and/or already used by others to describe their goods or services. As a result, weak trademarks are difficult to legally protect.
- Fair Use in TrademarksUnlike copyrights, the defense of fair use in trademark law is relatively new and not as developed.
- Can You Patent a Tattoo? Nokia Says YesPatents and patent applications are often the first indicators that a new technology or product is on the horizon. This may be the case with Nokia’s recent patent application for a vibrating tattoo.
- All Antitrust and Competition Law Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Antitrust and Trade Regulation including: competition law, international trade, trade investment and unfair competition.
Antitrust Law - US
- ABA - Antitrust Law Section
The American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law is the leading professional organization for those interested in the fields of antitrust and competition law, trade regulation, consumer protection and economics.
- Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law - Wikipedia
Competition law is known in the United States as "antitrust law". The substance and practice of competition law vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Protecting the interests of consumers (consumer welfare) and ensuring that enterpreneurs have an opportunity to compete in the market economy are often treated as important objectives.
- Clayton Antitrust Act
This Act is a civil statute (carrying no criminal penalties) that prohibits mergers or acquisitions that are likely to lessen competition. Under this Act, the government challenges those mergers that careful economic analysis shows are likely to increase prices to consumers. The Act also prohibits other business practices that may harm competition under certain circumstances.
- Federal Trade Commission Act
The Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 (15 U.S.C §§ 41-58, as amended) established the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a bipartisan body of five members appointed by the President of the United States for seven year terms. This Commission was authorized to issue Cease and Desist orders to large corporations to curb unfair trade practices. This Act also gave more flexibility to the US congress for judicial matters.
- FTC - Guide to the Antitrust Laws
Free and open markets are the foundation of a vibrant economy. Aggressive competition among sellers in an open marketplace gives consumers — both individuals and businesses — the benefits of lower prices, higher quality products and services, more choices, and greater innovation. The FTC's competition mission is to enforce the rules of the competitive marketplace — the antitrust laws. These laws promote vigorous competition and protect consumers from anticompetitive mergers and business practices. The FTC's Bureau of Competition, working in tandem with the Bureau of Economics, enforces the antitrust laws for the benefit of consumers.
- Robinson-Patman Act
The Robinson-Patman Act of 1936 (or Anti-Price Discrimination Act, Pub. L. No. 74-692, 49 Stat. 1526 (codified at 15 U.S.C. § 13)) is a United States federal law that prohibits what were considered, at the time of passage, to be anticompetitive practices by producers, specifically price discrimination. It grew out of practices in which chain stores were allowed to purchase goods at lower prices than other retailers. The Act provided for criminal penalties, but contained a specific exemption for "cooperative associations".
- Sherman Antitrust Act - Wikipedia
The Sherman Antitrust Act (Sherman Act, July 2, 1890, ch. 647, 26 Stat. 209, 15 U.S.C. § 1–7), was the first United States government action to limit cartels and monopolies. It is the first and oldest of all U.S., federal, antitrust laws.
- USDOJ - Antitrust Division
The mission of the Antitrust Division is to promote economic competition through enforcing and providing guidance on antitrust laws and principles. In 1933, under the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Attorney General Homer S. Cummings, the Antitrust Division was established, and Harold M. Stephens was appointed the first Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division.
- USDOJ - Antitrust Enforcement and the Consumer
Many consumers have never heard of antitrust laws, but when these laws are effectively and responsibly enforced, they can save consumers millions and even billions of dollars a year in illegal overcharges. Most states have antitrust laws, and so does the federal government. Essentially, these laws prohibit business practices that unreasonably deprive consumers of the benefits of competition, resulting in higher prices for inferior products and services.
Antitrust Law - International
- ABA - International Antitrust Law Committee
The Committee is an international network of antitrust practitioners and officials from many jurisdictions, including those with established and developing antitrust regimes. We provide a unique forum for practitioners and others with an interest in antitrust to learn about antitrust developments around the world as they happen, influence international antitrust policy and laws, and connect with an interesting and fun group of professionals from all corners of the globe.
- Competition Policy and Law Database - APEC
Competition policy has emerged as an important aspect of international business. Businesses operating within the Asia Pacific region are no exception. Competition policy is complex and varies greatly from member to member. Some APEC member economies have laws dating back more than a century, some have relatively recent laws, and others still have no laws at all. Recognizing this disparity of conditions among member economies, gathering and collating information and the establishment of a regional database is one essential step towards narrowing the competition information gap among member economies.
- Global Competition Law Centre
The Global Competition Law Centre (GCLC) is a research centre of the College of Europe. It was founded on 1 January 2004, aims to promote rigorous legal and economic analysis of competition policy reforms in the EU and globally, and to provide a discussion forum for academics, practitioners, and enforcement officers in the competition field.
- International Bar Association - Antitrust Committee
The Antitrust Committee provides an international forum for the exchange of the most current thinking in the field of antitrust law. In addition, there is a strong commitment to bring together international practitioners to facilitate closer working relationships. The committee is increasingly relied upon by government officials and members of the private sector for its expertise and practical input into antitrust developments
Organizations Related to Antitrust Law
- American Antitrust Institute (AAI)
The American Antitrust Institute is an independent Washington-based non-profit education, research, and advocacy organization. Our mission is to increase the role of competition, assure that competition works in the interests of consumers, and challenge abuses of concentrated economic power in the American and world economy. We have a centrist legal-economic ideology and promote the vigorous use of antitrust as a vital component of national and international competition policy.
- International Competition Network
The International Competition Network (ICN) provides antitrust agencies from developed and developing countries with a focused network for addressing practical antitrust enforcement and policy issues of common concern. It facilitates procedural and substantive convergence in antitrust enforcement through a results-oriented agenda and informal, project-driven organization.
- International League of Competition Law
In the public part of this site you will find information about the League and how it works, the national groups and upcoming meetings (such as the Congress in Hamburg, Germany, September 25 till 28, 2008), as well as information about the questions addressed by the League. You will find issues of the International Review of Competition Law. There you will also find the most resolutions adopted by the LIDC as well as the archived one's.
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The OECD's Competition Committee is the world's premier source of policy analysis and advice to governments on how best to harness market forces in the interests of greater global economic efficiency and prosperity. Bringing together the leaders of the world's major competition authorities, the Committee is the chief international forum on important competition policy issues.
Publications Related to Antitrust Law
- Antitrust and Competition Policy Blog
Latest news and posts on Antitrust Law and Unfair Competition Laws.
- Centre for Competition Law and Policy - Oxford
This database is aimed at facilitating discussion between academics and practitioners and is devoted to scholarly works-in-progress and to the distribution of other materials on competition law and policy.
- Competition Law International
Competition Law International is the journal of the Antitrust and Trade Law Section of the IBA. It provides an insight into international competition law issues with articles that are of practical interest. Published twice a year, the journal reaches 1,200 competition law practitioners worldwide.
- Competition Law Review
The Competition Law Review is a fully refereed scholarly academic law journal. The CompLRev is distinctive from other competition journals by virtue of having a very strong scholarly basis and focus on particular topical competition law themes. It provides scholars with a forum in which to discuss in detail the complexities and underlying trends in modern competition law.
- Journal of Competition Law and Economics
A prestigious new journal dedicated to competition law and policy, the Journal of Competition Law and Economics publishes articles of a substantial length providing in-depth analysis of developments in competition law, including developments in the US and EU but also covering other regional and national developments. The journal also publishes economic papers relevant to legal theory and practice. While incorporating rigorous economic analysis, these papers address economic issues in a manner readily understandable by lawyers and policy-makers.