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7-4.000
ANTITRUST STATUTES

7-4.010 Statutes in General
7-4.100 Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. Secs. 1 to 7
7-4.200 Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. Secs. 14, 18, 19, and 20

7-4.010

Statutes in General

The principal statutes affecting the investigative and litigation activities of the Antitrust Division are the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act. Criminal violations of the Sherman Act are the types of antitrust violations most likely to come to the attention of United States Attorneys' offices.

7-4.100

Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. Secs. 1 to 7

The Sherman Act prohibits (a) contracts, combinations, or conspiracies in restraint of interstate commerce or foreign trade, and (b) monopolization, attempts to monopolize, or combinations or conspiracies to monopolize interstate commerce or foreign trade. While every violation of this Act is technically a felony, the Department reserves criminal prosecution for so called "naked" or "per se" unlawful restraints of trade among competitors, e.g., price fixing, bid rigging, and customer and territorial allocation agreements. Criminal violations of this Act carry a maximum fine of $100 million for defendant corporations, $1,000,000 for other persons, and a maximum prison sentence of ten years for individuals. See Antitrust Resource Manual at 6, "Identifying, Detecting, and Proving Per Se Violations of the Sherman Act."

[updated January 2012] [cited in USAM 7-5.230; USAM 7-5.420; Antitrust Resource Manual 6]

7-4.200

Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. Secs. 14, 18, 19, and 20

The Clayton Act prohibits corporate and other mergers—and the acquisition of stock or assets—of competing companies, where the effect of such action may be substantially to lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly. Anticompetitive tying and exclusive dealing contracts are also prohibited, as are certain interlocking directorates. Violations of this Act are prosecuted civilly.