Antitrust laws are rules and regulations that are levied by putting limitations on the market power of some specific firm. The ‘trust’ part of antitrust refers to the group of organizations that collude to form a monopoly to take over the control of pricing.

Antitrust is not just one law, but a group of laws clubbed together to ensure fair and just competition in the market. People in favor of Antitrust laws argue that they are significant as they provide lower prices to consumers and the alternative of more innovation in the market. 

What is Antitrust?

Antitrust is in place to ensure that mergers or acquisitions don’t take over the market through monopolies or by breaking up the already established monopolies. This averts companies from forming cartels, taking over the market share and practicing price-fixing. Since there are ambiguities around how the competition should be limited, antitrust has acquired special legal status. 

Laws under Antitrust

Antitrust laws include The Sherman Act, Clayton Act and The Federal Trade Commission Act. Before The Sherman Act, there was the Interstate Commerce Act which was also suitable for antitrust laws but less influential than the others. 

The Interstate Commerce Act was created by Congress in 1887 because of the increasing public demand for the regulation of railroads. This made it mandatory for the railways to charge a fair fee from the travelers and reveal it publicly, and this was the inception of the antitrust laws. 

The Sherman Act put restraints on trade and monopolization to stop people who were competing from fixing prices, segmentation of the market or joining rig bids. This law had penalties, and fines if someone violated them. 

In 1914, Congress created the Federal Trade Commission Act and barred companies from unfair competition and scrupulous trade practices. The Clayton Act was also launched in 1914, defining the practices that Sherman Act does not ban and regulate the decision by competing corporations. 

Other considerations

FTC (Federal Trade Commissions) and the Department Of Justice (DOJ) have the right to impose federal antitrust laws. In certain cases, they will team up with regulatory agencies to ensure mergers that are in favor of the public interest. 

FTC’s main focus is on the economy when the factors related to consumer spending are high, including healthcare, food, drugs, technology, energy and digital communications. The things that can lead to intervention by FTC are premerger filing, consumer correspondence, congressional inquiries, articles on economic subjects, etc. 

If the FTC thinks that the law is being violated in any case, they will put a brake on the service or search for a way to settle it through resolution. If no settlement is decided upon, FTC will continue with an administrative complaint and take the case to the court. 

FTC will present the criminal antitrust violation evidence to the DOJ. The DOJ can impose criminal sanctions and can take upon antitrust jurisdiction in other sectors. 

Types of antitrust laws

You can find three antitrust laws that have taken effect in today’s time. These include the Sherman Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Clayton Act. These are handled by the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice, who ensure that the laws are compiled and there is harmony in the market. This prevents companies from being consumed with greediness and taking advantage of their powers. 


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