Antitrust Consulting and Compliance

Antitrust: Consulting, Government Contracting

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A corporation is profitable because people value your goods and buy them. As a successful company that is worth a lot of money it is important that its owners know that it is regulated by antitrust laws. Companies are prohibited from restricting fair trade and cannot monopolize the market they are in. If a company receives a subpoena and is faced with a federal government investigation of alleged Antitrust violations, our firm can help. It is helpful to have independent resources help to respond to the federal government and to review the companies’ practices, processes, and procedures. Our investigations will help uncover the information that is necessary to respond. Our work is considered independent and impartial because none of our professionals working on your investigation are hired or retained by the firm in question nor the government. The only connection is the investigation, therefore there can be no perception of bias or interest in the outcome.

The relationships we have with other attorneys and professionals is what makes our law firm special. We bring in our experts of impressive backgrounds to your matter to consult, advise, analyze, negotiate, respond, document results—anything you need to get through an investigation. We are also able to evaluate your chances in court if the matter must be litigated.

Antitrust Laws

There are three (3) major federal antitrust laws to know about:

The Clayton Act
Any mergers or acquisitions that lessen competition are against the law. If two social media companies merge and there are no other companies that offer the same products that lessens consumers choices, forcing them to only have one. Because in our country we promote free trade, meaning the freedom to have choices over products and prices, it would be a civil violation. Civil penalties apply if a monopoly happens as a result of a merger or acquisition.
The Sherman Antitrust Act
This law makes it illegal to unreasonably restrain interstate and foreign trade. A company cannot monopolize any product and push out competition. This is not the same as a company dominating the market because its product is better than other company’s product. The federal government is concerned with ensuring that consumers have a variety of choices so that they can choose the best product at the price that suits them. Criminal penalties apply if this law is broken.The Federal Trade Commission Act
Similar to the Sherman Antitrust Act, this law prohibits unfair methods of competition, unfair acts and practices, in interstate commerce. Any violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act can also be a violation of The Federal Trade Commission Act. However, the penalties are civil.

Examples of Antitrust Violations

Some examples of antitrust violations include the following:

  • Two competitors enter into an agreement that one of them will take all of one region of customers and the other will take all of the other region of customers, effectively pushing out other competitors.
  • A company acquires another company that makes the same product, yet each has some unique characteristics. Now having merged into one company, it is the only one that makes these products in the country. Consumers have no choice but to purchase products from the one company because it has monopolized the market.
  • Two or more competitors agreeing to sell goods at a fixed price.
  • Bid rigging where a few competitors enter into an agreement to each submit a bid on a government contract, they have predetermined which one will bid lowest to obtain the contract.

Response to Federal Investigations

If a company enters into an agreement to acquire another company, then under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, there is a requirement to notify the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s Assistant Attorney General prior to the acquisition. Only certain companies are subject to this requirement; generally those that will acquire more than $10,000,000 in voting securities or assets. Additionally, there is a waiting period prior to completing an acquisition while an investigation is ongoing by the federal government, namely the Department of Justice or Federal Trade Commission. Our firm helps companies get through the demands of the federal government. Our professionals are skilled and knowledgeable at auditing, investigations, analyses of data, and have various backgrounds in law, federal government, and industry, that is valuable in helping to respond and deliver to the federal government.

Preventing Violations

We believe in prevention. It is important to prevent violations of the antitrust laws. We are skilled in the art of developing strategies for helping to do just that. We will be an advocate and advise the company so that you it can stay ahead of any potential violations as best it can. We can also discuss establishing and implementing a compliance program to reduce the risk of future federal government investigations.

We are happy to provide more specific information. Call 202.870.3021 or email info@pdavislawfirm.com for more information about how we can help.