Competition laws, or antitrust regulations, are designed to protect consumers against predatory business habits. They're intended to help make sure that the open market remains competitive and help prevent monopolies. In turn, that helps protect consumers against artificially inflated prices and overly limited supplies.
Some of the things that can spark an antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) include the following:
- You and a competitor are suspected of coordinating your business activities in a scheme to divide the market. A market allocation scheme creates regional monopolies without giving the appearance of a monopoly.
- There are allegations that you and another party are engaging in "bid-rigging" in order to dole out important contracts as you like. This creates a system where the competitors essentially agree to take turns, depriving customers of a fair bid for their services.
- There are allegations that your company is participating in price-fixing. When that happens, competitors with a substantially similar product simply agree to sell both products at the same price. The companies both profit by making it impossible for the normal mechanisms of supply and demand to work.
- Your company intends to merge with another leading company in your market. Before that happens, the FTC has to examine the situation to determine if the merger would create the possibility of a monopoly or set up a situation that would lead to antitrust issues or deprive the market of beneficial competition and a need for innovation.
Antitrust law can be very confusing and difficult to follow without experienced legal assistance. Your needs are unique, so you should look for an attorney who will take a dedicated interest in your case.