The U.S. Attorney General and Enforcement of the U.S. Antitrust Law

The core of antitrust law.

First of all, let’s see what the term “antitrust” means to make the main theme of the following article clear for a reader. So, in the United States the term “antitrust” is used to determine a body of laws, providing the prohibition of unfair business practice and threatening monopolies existing in different systems of production or services. Antitrust laws are also known as competition laws, because antitrust statutes tend to organize fair competition in business affairs and stop any actions in business area, which may cause some harm to consumers or other commercial organizations.

Basically antitrust law was adopted in the late 19th century; it was directed against the formation of huge corporate conglomerates, which acted out of any competition and without any rivals. The fundamental law was adopted in 1890 by the U.S. Congress; it was the Sherman Antitrust Act, with its adoption the legislative base for modern antitrust law was laid.

Main targets of the U.S. antitrust law.

Promoting competition for any kind of commercial activity and prohibiting unfair practices are the key directions for the antitrust laws. Many people regard them as laws banning the formation of any business monopoly. Such monopolies may be formed by an entity or a group of entities, which have enormous control over production and distribution of certain goods or service. But there is a distinction between monopolies, which are under law action. Antitrust laws do not prohibit all the monopolies, they forbid only which are formed through illegal way and promote unethical practices. 

For example, a water company has technical monopoly over a given area (because of existence of pipe infrastructure), so this practice is not regarded as somewhat harmful to the economy. However, some other company threatening competitors and running unfair business is, with no doubt, the target of the antitrust laws and for the antitrust attorney litigation trial.
Here are the most common dishonorable business practices prohibited by the U.S. antitrust statutes:

fixing of price – artificial determination of the price for goods or service by means of making agreements between competitors;

fixing of territory - making agreements between competitors, according which their markets are divided geographically;

unfair bids – organizing in advance a group of bidders to win a bid.

Handling the enforcement of the U.S. antitrust laws.

The enforcement of the U.S. antitrust laws on a national level is fulfilled by the Department of Justice (under control of the U.S. Attorney General ) and the Federal Trade Commission. On a state level it may be followed by the state attorney general in civil court. By the way, private citizens can file suit against a company that they feel violating federal or state antitrust laws.

Controversial approaches to antitrust laws.

Supporters of antitrust laws find them very sensible, for they increase competition between businesses, achieving thus lower prices and higher quality goods and services. Oppositionists think antitrust laws do more harm than good, for they may force businesses to avoid potentially beneficial undertakings not to be the subjects of litigation.