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Anticompetitive and Unfair Trade Practices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

When businesses engage in unfair business practices, it can hurt consumers and other entities, as well as expose those businesses to liability. There are federal and state laws in place to prevent these types of behaviors and ensure fair competition for all in a particular market. Businesses who fail to follow these laws can be held liable for damages that occur as a result.

Antitrust Laws

The Sherman Anti-Trust Act, enacted in 1890, was the first federal antitrust statute; it has since been amended multiple times to cover a wide variety of unfair business practices. Pennsylvania and New Jersey also have their own regulations regarding anticompetitive practices.

At their core, these statutes are designed not to punish businesses for their success, but to preserve the free market by preventing a monopoly, in which one business has control over a particular market.

A business with this kind of control can fix prices to suit their needs, rather than what the market dictates, and has less incentive to produce quality goods and services, to the detriment of the consumer.

There are numerous activities which might trigger an antitrust case, including:

  • Vertical or horizontal price fixing
  • Below-cost pricing
  • Price discrimination
  • Pay-for-delay
  • Conspiring to monopolize
  • Collusion bidding or bid-rigging
  • Group boycotts
  • Tying arrangements in purchasing
  • Exclusive dealing agreements

Federal Trade Commission Regulation

When large businesses merge, or one acquires another’s assets, the transaction is reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in order to ensure that a monopoly is not being formed, and that the businesses involved are not engaging in anticompetitive behaviors to accomplish their goals.

Most large companies have their own antitrust teams in place to make sure the transaction is compliant with all applicable regulations. If not, they may need to bring in outside counsel to assist.

It is vital to make sure that the transaction is done by the book, as failing to adhere to antitrust regulations can lead to a rejection of the proposed merger, which could hurt both entities and put jobs at risk.

Other Unfair Trade Practices

Anticompetitive business practices regulated by the FTC can extend beyond mergers and acquisitions. Other unlawful practices include:

  • False advertising
  • Trademark or intellectual property infringement
  • Violation of noncompete agreements
  • Undue influence
  • Theft of trade secrets

Consumers benefit from a free market that provides them with options to get what they need. When a business uses unlawful or unethical behaviors to dominate the market, other businesses may not be able to compete. The FTC is continuously reviewing business practices to determine what constitutes a violation of unfair competition laws.

Businesses may pursue an antitrust claim if they feel they have been the victim of unfair trade practices. If successfully argued, they can force their competitors to change their practices, or recover damages to cover their losses. Businesses found to be in violation of antitrust laws may face civil or even criminal penalties.

Philadelphia Antitrust Lawyers at the Harty Law Group Provide Comprehensive Representation to Businesses Involved in Anticompetitive Claims

Cases alleging unfair business practices can be extremely complex and require a thorough understanding of both federal and state antitrust laws. The Philadelphia antitrust lawyers at the Harty Law Group have the knowledge and experience to handle all types of high stakes anticompetitive business practice cases. Armed with the latest technology and extensive litigation experience, we can help you navigate these complex issues, and will prepare a sound legal strategy to achieve the best possible outcome for your business. Located in the heart of Old City, we help businesses of all shapes and sizes throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 267-262-5650 or contact us online to review your case.

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