Competition law is a body of business law that regulates market competition between companies. It is also known as antitrust law or anti-monopoly law. There are three main aspects of competition laws:
- Prohibiting contracts which severely limit trade or commerce
- Prohibit monopolies
- Regulate business transactions that involve mergers and takeovers of multiple businesses
Competition laws are regulated and enforced through a wide range of federal statutes, state laws, and private company policies.
One of the main goals of competition laws is to ensure that one company does not dominate the entire field or industry of operation (i.e. to prevent monopolies from forming). Thus, many competition laws revolve around disputes that have to do with companies driving their competition out of business or related issues. Common competition law legal disputes include:
- Various business sales and marketing violations, such as false advertising and "bait and switch"
- Misrepresentation when dealing with consumers or other business entities
- Contracts which limit one party from participating freely in the market
- Various types of conduct that fall under the category of “unfair competition,” such as using illegal business tactics or methods
Many of these types of violations are outlined in detail in federal acts, such as the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and the Clayton Act. Such violations can result in serious penalties for the offending party.
Business competition laws and acts provide a wide range of legal remedies for competition violations. These will depend on the type of violation involved. Some common remedies include:
- Damages awards, especially special damages that are awarded to compensate for damage to business reputation
- Cease and desist orders, which are court-sanctioned orders instructing one company to stop performing a certain act, usually in connection with intellectual property usage
- Various contract remedies such as an injunction instructing one company to perform a certain act that they are otherwise refusing to do
Competition lawsuits can involve multiple plaintiffs. For instance, some lawsuits might affect a large group of consumers, while others may involve multiple businesses. These types of lawsuits might require a class action lawsuit filing.
Competition law is a broad area of law and contains many complex laws and statutes. You may need to hire a business lawyer near you if you need assistance with any type of competition law issue. Your attorney can provide you with legal assistance and representation if you have any legal conflicts or disputes. Your lawyer can help perform legal research so that you understand what your rights and options are under current anti-trust and competition law. Also, if you need to file a lawsuit, your lawyer can assist you during the court processes.