Clayton Antitrust Act

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The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, codified at 15 U.S.C. 12-27, is one of the primary pieces of antitrust legislation in the United States. This act was designed to bolster the Sherman antitrust Act and outlaws the following conduct:

  • price discrimination against competing companies;
  • conditioning sales on exclusive dealing;
  • mergers and acquisitions when they may substantially reduce competition;
  • serving on the board of directors for two competing companies.

Each of these prohibitions is designed to prevent monopolistic conduct, particularly by companies attempting to purchase their competition. Penalties for violating the Clayton Act are strictly civil. Individuals harmed by the above anti-competitive actions can sue for triple damages and an injunction

Notably, unlike the Sherman Act, labor unions are explicitly excluded from needing to comply with the Clayton Antitrust Act.  

[Last updated in July of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]