Antitrust Laws Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Antitrust Laws, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Antitrust Laws?

v. a term used in contracts it means, 1.) to make a right over to another person as in, assign an estate, an annuity, a bond, etc. over to him, 2.) to appoint and allocate some duty to a person, or 3.) to set forth or point out as in, assigning errors or assigning false judgement.

History and Meaning of Antitrust Laws

Antitrust laws, also known as competition laws, are regulations designed to protect consumers from unfair business practices and to promote fair competition in the marketplace. These laws originated in the United States in the late 19th century, during a time when large corporations were becoming increasingly powerful and dominant in certain industries. The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 was the first federal law passed to regulate competition in the United States, followed by the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, which further strengthened the government's ability to prevent monopolies and promote competition.

The purpose of antitrust laws is to prevent companies from engaging in anti-competitive behavior, such as price-fixing, monopolizing a certain market, or colluding with competitors to create a monopoly. By promoting fair competition, antitrust laws encourage innovation, reduce prices for consumers, and allow smaller companies to compete on a level playing field.

Examples of Antitrust Laws

  1. The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Google in October 2020, alleging that the company engaged in anti-competitive practices by monopolizing the search engine market and making it difficult for competitors to enter the market.

  2. In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission fined Facebook $5 billion for violating antitrust laws by mishandling user data and limiting competition in the social media industry.

  3. The European Union fined Microsoft over €1 billion in 2004 for antitrust violations, including bundling its Internet Explorer browser with its Windows operating system and failing to provide competitors with adequate information to create competing products.

Legal Terms Similar to Antitrust Laws

  1. Monopoly: a situation where a single company or group dominates a specific industry or market.

  2. Price fixing: an illegal practice where companies agree to set prices for goods or services to artificially inflate prices and reduce competition.

  3. Cartel: a group of companies that work together to control prices and reduce competition in a particular industry or market.