Antitrust Law Violations

Antitrust law is an extremely complex and commonly misunderstood area of law. In essence, antitrust law is the law relating to competition. Antitrust law is an attempt to promote fair competition between individuals and businesses from the anti-competitive business practices of those in violations of the laws.

Antitrust laws are an attempt to prohibit either the wrongful acquisition of property and/or the preservation of what is commonly referred to as monopoly power. In addition, antitrust laws seek to control the proposition of business mergers and acquisitions which the government views as a threat to competition.

Antitrust laws are created and contained in numerous Federal laws, but most commonly two (2) separate acts known as the “Sherman Act” and “Clayton Act,” respectively. While these are Federal laws, there are similar laws on a statewide level in almost every State.

The most common violations under the body of law known as “antitrust” are “monopolization” and “conspiracy to restrain trade” and “abuse of dominant position.” Unlike the first 2 listed here, “”abuse of dominant position” is most commonly brought forth within the United States by an individual or organization which claims that the existing monopoly power created the issues before the Court.

“Monopolization” is a description of one business entity intentionally damaging or impacting the business of its competing business in order to obtain “monopoly power” over an area of the market. The reason this is illegal is that once a business firm develops monopoly power they have the ability to control output and price without any repercussions from rival firms.

Many businesses are accused of “monopolization” when they have in fact done nothing wrong. Not every instance of monopolization is unlawful. It stands to reason that some businesses develop services or skills that are far more advanced than their competitors. Being better at a particular line of business is not wrong or illegal. Conversely, it is a violation of antitrust laws for one business entity to take measure whose sole purpose it is to acquire a monopoly over a particular area of goods or services.

It is also illegal for two or more businesses to conspire with one another in order to monopolize a particular market.

As alluded to above, such monopolization related offenses are detailed in the Sherman Act, specifically in Section 2 of the act, and have been analyzed in depth by a litany of case law.

“Conspiracy to Restrain Trade” is another commonly alleged Antitrust violation. This theory makes it illegal for two or more businesses to work together in order to restrict the trade of goods or services in a particular area of the commerce system.

While many such allegations are fact driven and open to interpretation, there are certain so called trade restraints which are recognized as “per se” violations of the law. These types of violations are delineated in Section 1 of the Sherman Act. These “per se” crimes include “horizontal price-fixing,” the “rigging” of bids and group boycotts.

While the above are just a snippet of the areas of antitrust law you, or your business, may be accused of violating, these cases can be defended. Antitrust cases are won by knowledge, perseverance, determination and attention to detail in explaining the facts and circumstances to the prosecutor, the Court or the jury.

If you or your business have been accused or investigated for an antitrust violation, contact our Las Vegas Federal Criminal Defense Attorney’s today. We have the experience, skills and expertise to assist you in any criminal case, big or small. We look forward to meeting with you and discussing your unique situation and the best way to fight your charges.