For more than 100 years, the premise of the antitrust laws has remained the same: “to protect the process of competition for the benefit of consumers, making sure there are strong incentives for businesses to operate efficiently, keep prices down, and keep quality up.”
The Sherman Act, created in 1890- outlawed “any monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize.” This Act doesn’t prohibit every restraint of trade, only those deemed unreasonable. Some of the Sherman Act protections also include plain arrangements between competing individuals or businesses to price fix, divide markets, or rig bids because these actions are so detrimental to other competitors. The penalties for violating this Act can be serious and can affect an individual or a business. Criminal penalties can be up to $100 million for a corporation and $1 million for an individual along with up to 10 years in prison.
The Federal Trade Commission Act bans “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” Though the FTC Act doesn’t technically enforce the Sherman Act, many of the violations listed under the Sherman Act can be brought up under the FTC Act.
The Clayton Act which was established at the same time as the Federal Trade Commission Act in 1914, “addresses specific practices that the Sherman Act doesn’t clearly prohibit, like mergers and interlocking directorates (the same person making business decisions for competing companies).”
While the antitrust laws are federal, most states also have their own antitrust laws in addition to these to ensure fair business practices throughout their state. As companies grow and expand, they are in tune with the requirements necessary to ensure they aren’t violating any of these laws. Add on compliance adherence in product labeling and a myriad of other laws and rules that businesses must manage, it is no wonder companies look for partners to handle some of these areas. Undoubtedly, these laws help ensure consumer safety and consumer choice, but companies must also be tuned in to the best way to manage it all. Pragmatyxs has over 25 years of experience helping companies manage their product labeling design, compliance, and process documentation archival.