Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

A federal government agency established to regulate business practices and enforce antitrust laws. The FTC often shows up in the news when big businesses attempt to merge, but it also plays a role in protecting consumers from unfair business practices, including actions by collection agencies and credit bureaus. While the FTC generally does not have authority to intervene in specific consumer disputes, it can take action against a company about which it has received numerous consumer complaints.

Exclusive License

A written contract in which the owner of a patent, copyright, trademark, or trade secret authorizes, for a limited time, someone (the licensee) to exclusively exercise one or more of the rights. For example, the copyright owner of a comic book may exclusively license the video game rights to a game company. Once a license terminates, the owner regains the rights. Compare: assignment

Conscious Parallelism

Price-fixing between competitors that occurs without an actual agreement between the parties. For instance, one company raises its price for a service and other competitors do the same. Can also be used to describe imitative activity over terms other than price. For example, one airline starts to require double miles for domestic trips and other airlines follow suit.


A group of independent corporations or other entities that join together to fix prices, control distribution, or reduce competition. For example, OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) is an intergovernmental organization that represents 13 oil producing countries. Many private (nongovernmental) cartels operate behind a veil of secrecy, particularly because they are illegal under United States antitrust laws (the Sherman and Clayton Acts).

Antitrust Laws

Federal and state laws created to regulate trade and commerce by preventing unlawful restraints, price-fixing, and monopolies. The laws are intended to promote healthy market competition and encourage the production of quality goods and services at the lowest prices. The primary federal antitrust laws are the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act.


Subscribe to RSS - antitrust