If you’re in the construction industry, Florida’s Antitrust Law is a law you should become familiar with. Competition in the construction is intense. Healthy competition is the key to sustainability in the marketplace. Unfair industry practices can make it difficult for businesses to make a profit and affects consumers purchasing power. This is why antitrust laws were created. In this first article, we’ll introduce you to antitrust laws and the three core laws that make up this law. In Part 2 we’ll inform you of typical antitrust violations and the penalties associated with them.
What are Antitrust Laws?
The Florida Antitrust Act of 1980 was created to regulate unlawful business practices, encourage competition, and protect consumers against illegal business acts in the marketplace. Antitrust laws seek to prevent unlawful practices in mergers and acquisitions, advertising, territory selections, and terms of trade, to name a few. Florida construction lawyers understand the intricacies of federal and state statutory laws that make up antitrust laws. We urge you to seek further legal assistance when approaching these laws to ensure your business doesn’t fall victim to antitrust disputes.
1.The Sherman Act
The Sherman Act forbids “every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade” and “monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize.” The act prohibits intentionally eliminating competition through price fixing, dividing the market, or bid rigging. Willful violation of the Sherman Act is a criminal offense and can result in prosecution by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Department of Justice.
2. The Federal Trade Commission Act
Under the FTC, all unjust methods of competition, acts, or practices are prohibited. The FTC investigates violations of antitrust laws, pass regulations, and issue cease-and-desist orders to violators.
3. The Clayton Act
The Clayton Act is an amendment to the Sherman Act addressing illegal acts such as:
- tying and exclusive dealing contracts that prevent buyers from interacting with competition
- mergers and acquisitions that create monopolies or weaken competition
- price discrimination
- interlocking directorates where the same members participate on the boards of competitors.
How the Acts Converge
The FTC and Department of Justice enforce antitrust laws and consult with one another regarding investigations. The antitrust laws are interconnected in that every violation of one act also violates another act. Businesses must alert the FTC prior to pursuing large mergers and acquisitions. In addition to these federal statutes, most states have antitrust laws that are based on federal antitrust laws and are strictly enforced.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.