Monopoly Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Monopoly?

(n) Monopoly is state of affairs of a business house whereby it controls the market functioning according to its plan and actions by controlling the supply of the product in which it has the controlling authority. Eg. Supplying the products only through limited outfits or distributors.

History and Meaning of Monopoly

Monopoly originates from the Greek words 'monos' and 'polein' which literally mean 'one seller'. It is defined as a state of affairs where a single entity or enterprise has control over a particular market or trade. The monopoly holder has complete control over the production and distribution of goods and services, usually resulting in high prices and limited supply to the consumers.

The concept of monopoly has been around for centuries, with examples dating back to the medieval era where the exclusive right to sell bread, wine, and other products were granted to specific individuals or groups. Today, laws and regulations have been put in place to prevent monopolistic practices, and to promote fair competition and the protection of consumers.

Examples of Monopoly

  1. Microsoft was deemed a monopoly during the late 1990s due to its dominance in the computer operating system market, resulting in an antitrust lawsuit.

  2. De Beers, a South African diamond mining company, was a monopoly in the diamond industry for many years by influencing diamond prices and controlling the supply and demand of the market.

  3. The board game Monopoly is a popular game where players attempt to become the sole owner of all properties and build their real estate empire, simulating the concept of a monopoly.

Legal Terms Similar to Monopoly

  1. Antitrust - Laws and regulations in place to prevent the formation of monopolies, prevent price-fixing, and protect consumers from monopolistic practices.

  2. Cartel - Similar to a monopoly, a cartel is a group of competing companies that come together to control the production, distribution, and price of a product or service.

  3. Oligopoly - A market structure where a few dominant firms control and dominate a specific industry, resulting in limited competition.