Antitrust Laws and How They Can Relate to Your Business
In business, it’s critical that you find a way to get ahead of the competition. Without customers and a competitive industry position, it’s impossible to grow. But, when looking for ways to grow and to stay ahead, it’s critical that small businesses do not risk their own integrity. This is where antitrust laws – which make it illegal to conspire to restrain trade or commerce in any marketplace, regardless of size – may come into the picture. While many individuals consider antitrust laws to apply only to large businesses and corporations, there are considerations that small businesses should be aware of.
What Antitrust Laws Address
Antitrust laws make certain activities and actions illegal. They include:
- Price Discrimination. A company cannot use dominant industry power to secure favorable product prices that are not available to smaller companies in the same industry.
- Conspiring to Fix Market Prices. Competitors may not discuss prices with one another even if only a small marketplace is affected.
- Conspiring to Allocate Markets or Customers. Competitors may not create agreements to divide customers, territories or markets.
- Conspiring to Boycott. Businesses may not work together to boycott competitors or suppliers in most situations.
- Monopolization. One company may not create a monopoly through acquiring competitors, excluding competitors or controlling market prices.
Do Antitrust Laws Apply to Small Businesses?
Based on the language of the guidelines and news coverage, it’s easy to think that only large businesses are affected by antitrust laws. After all, what will it hurt if a small business works to boycott a product or a competitor? The fact is,small businesses can be held liable in antitrust lawsuits, and as such, should be aware of how the laws relate to them. Learn more about how antitrust laws impact small businesses. Just because a business is small, it can still dominate a market, especially if the product offered is unique. Antitrust lawsuits have been filed against small companies. State and federal enforcement agencies are in place to prosecute antitrust violations. It’s important, as a small business owner, that you and your employees are aware of antitrust laws. Anyone who represents a business can be held liable should antitrust laws be violated. Have questions relating to antitrust laws? Want to be sure your business is in compliance? Speak with a business law expert like Attorney Michael Hynum with Hynum Law today. Our team will work to protect your company under law and to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Set up a consultation today!