We introduced you to Antitrust Law in Part 1 of our series. In simple terms, antitrust laws are federal and state laws passed to regulate and discourage unfair competition in the marketplace. As Orlando construction attorneys, we understand the complexity of federal laws and the penalties that come with them. Unlawful agreements and anti-competitive behavior tactics are strictly prohibited where the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Justice Department are concerned. In this second part will give an overview of common antitrust violations and the penalties that accompany infractions.
What’s Against the Law?
- Monopolies occur when a business, or group of business, conspires to gain control of the market for a particular product or service by illegally eliminating competitors.
- Bid Rigging is when competitors agree in advance on who will win a bid
- Illegal interactions between competitors, also known as horizontal arrangements, can consist of the following:
• Group boycotts
• Joint ventures between many businesses that purposely exclude other businesses
• Market division with the intention of lessen competition amongst themselves
• Price fixing is when competitors illegally agree to raise and fix prices in their favor
• Tying is requiring buyers to purchase something in order to have access to something else
- Illegal relationships between businesses and customers, also known as vertical arrangements, can consist of the following:
Exclusive dealing where a business forbids a customer from buying from a competitor, through a contract agreement
Price discrimination where a business may sell the same good or service at different prices
What Happens to Lawbreakers?
Facts and circumstances are weighed when determining violations. Some violations are “Per Se”, meaning they are always legal, while others are analyzed case by case. Notwithstanding, antitrust violators are subject to the following:
- Lawsuits, damages, and attorney fees on the behalf of parties affected by unlawful business conduct
- Permanent restrictions that limit business
- Up to $100 million in fines per violation
- Individuals will be convicted of felony and fined up to $1 million and/or imprisoned.
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.