Antitrust laws are intended to prevent corporations from acquiring competitors to the point where consumers are left without real choices. This often results in less competition and higher prices. Typically, antitrust laws are invoked when a company announces a merger or acquisition of another large company, creating a virtual monopoly.
Where Did Antitrust Laws Originate?
The first antitrust law enacted in the U.S. was the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890. Considered the most significant of the federal antitrust laws, the Sherman Act was intended to combat the "business trusts" of the American economy during the late nineteenth century, and to this day it remains the bedrock of antitrust enforcement in the U.S.
Maine Antitrust Laws
State laws also prohibit monopolies. Modeled on federal statutory provisions, Maine antitrust laws prohibit:
The Attorney General of Maine, through its Consumer Protection Division, is the primary enforcer of the state antitrust laws. Private parties may also bring a lawsuit to recover three (3) times the amount of damages in certain situations.
Example Of An Antitrust Violation
For example, let's pretend A's widgets company operates in the California and B's company does business in Maine. If B agrees to stay out of A's territory because the costs of doing business is so high that startups have no chance of competing, they both basically created a monopoly---and that's illegal.
Individuals or businesses that violate Maine's antitrust laws are subject to civil and criminal penalties including fines and possible incarceration. Violators may also have to pay restitution to any victims harmed as a result of violations of either the federal or state antitrust laws.
The basic provisions of Maine's antitrust laws are detailed in the following table. See FindLaw's Consumer Protection section to learn more.
|Antitrust Code Section||Tit. 10 §§1101, et seq.|
|Is a Private Lawsuit Possible?||Yes; attorney general also has the power to enforce.|
|Can a Successful Plaintiff Recover Attorneys' Fees?||Yes|
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Maine antitrust attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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