unfair competition

restraint of trade

Any activity (including agreements among competitors or companies doing business with each other) that tends to limit trade, sales, and transportation in interstate commerce or has a substantial impact on interstate commerce. Most restraints of trade are illegal under various antitrust statutes. Some state laws also outlaw local restraints on competitive business activity. (See also: monopoly)

insider

Someone who has a position in a business or stock brokerage, which allows him or her privy to confidential information (such as future changes in management, upcoming profit and loss reports, secret sales figures, and merger negotiations) which will affect the value of stocks or bonds. Use of such confidential information unavailable to the investing public in order to profit through sale or purchase of stocks or bonds is unethical and a crime under the Securities and Exchange Act.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

A comprehensive free-trade treaty signed by most developed nations. Among other things, member countries are required to treat all other member countries equally in the application of import and export tariffs, offer basic copyright protection to authors from member countries, consult with each other about trade matters, and attempt to resolve differences in a peaceful manner. GATT created an international regulatory body known as the World Trade Organization (WTO) to enforce compliance with the agreement.

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.

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