Guide to Antitrust Laws (Preface)
The Bureau of Competition of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) share responsibility for enforcing laws that promote competition in the marketplace. Competition benefits consumers by keeping prices low and the quality of goods and services high.
The FTC is a consumer protection agency with two mandates under the FTC Act: to guard the marketplace from unfair methods of competition, and to prevent unfair or deceptive acts or practices that harm consumers. These tasks often involve the analysis of complex business practices and economic issues. When the Commission succeeds in doing both its jobs, it protects consumer sovereignty — the freedom to choose goods and services in an open marketplace at a price and quality that fit the consumer’s needs — and fosters opportunity for businesses by ensuring a level playing field among competitors. In pursuing its work, the FTC can file cases in both federal court and a special administrative forum.
The FTC has prepared this booklet to help you understand the antitrust laws — how they can benefit consumers, and how they can affect you if you operate a business. The booklet explains how antitrust laws can be violated, answers frequently asked questions about potential violations, describes how you can help keep markets competitive, and tells where to find more information about the antitrust laws.
The FTC also has available other publications that explain its numerous consumer protection activities.
"Antitrust laws . . . are the Magna Carta of free enterprise. They are as important to the preservation of economic freedom and our free-enterprise system as the Bill of Rights is to the protection of our fundamental personal freedoms."
–The Supreme Court, United States v. Topco Associates,
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