Price Fixing

Price-fixing occurs when competitors collaborate to control or manipulate prices of goods or services. This can happen without a specific price agreement, including, without limitation, any form of understanding or implied consensus aimed at influencing product or service prices. Such violations of antitrust laws can be proven through indirect or economic evidence, not necessarily requiring direct proof. 

Price-fixing encompasses various aspects that impact prices, such as shipping charges, warranties, discount policies, and financing terms. It also extends to employers who conspire to restrict employee recruitment or manipulate employment terms, affecting both buyers and sellers. Price-fixing is considered illegal in these contexts.

Bid Rigging

Bid-rigging involves collusion among parties to pre-determine the winner of a bid, often seen in industries where contracts are obtained through competitive bidding, such as government contracts or real estate projects. This practice disrupts the intended free-market competition. 

Bid-rigging can take various forms, such as complementary bidding, where competitors submit non-competitive bids to ensure that a party wins, while maintaining the illusion of fairness. This strategy, often repeated over time, ensures each conspirator eventually benefits from the scheme, undermining the essence of competitive bidding.

Supply Agreements

In antitrust and unfair competition law, it’s not only pricing strategies that can constitute a violation. Collusion among competitors to manipulate the supply of goods or services is also considered unlawful. This includes agreements to increase, maintain, or decrease supply levels, paralleling the illegal nature of price fixing. Both actions distort the market’s competitive landscape and are prohibited under antitrust laws.

Customer Allocations or Market Division

Customer allocation or market division involves anticompetitive agreements where competitors divide or allocate markets among themselves. These schemes become legally questionable when there is an agreement to segregate customers, products, services, or geographical areas, disrupting fair market competition. Such practices infringe upon antitrust laws, as they restrict free market dynamics by dividing market territories or customer bases among competing entities.

Group Boycotts

Group boycotts occur when competitors collectively agree to exclude a party from the market, often by refusing to conduct business with them. This anti-competitive behavior aims to marginalize another competitor, supplier, or customer, disrupting the principles of fair market competition.


In antitrust law, tying refers to situations where a business with market power or monopoly power conditions the sale of one product or service on the purchase of another. This practice, often deemed as “per se” liability, includes, without limitation, bundling or mandating the joint sale of distinct goods or services. Negative tying also arises when a business prohibits another entity from engaging with competitors, further complicating the competitive landscape.

Information Sharing

In antitrust law, sharing sensitive information among competitors, even through intermediaries, such as consultants or trade associations, can lead to liability. This encompasses a range of data, from pricing to research and development. The legality of such information sharing depends on various factors, including, without limitation, the role of third parties in data collection, the anonymity of data sources, the type of data (historical, current, or prospective), market share of the data providers, public availability of the data, access fees, and whether the product or service is a commodity. The legality often hinges on the competitive effects of the exchange, and if it facilitates price-fixing, it could be illegal under a “per se” analysis.

Standard Setting and Purported Best Practices

Trade associations that develop product or service standards must have legitimate business justifications. If competitors collude to set standards without such justifications, particularly if these standards exclude others, it may result in legal liability. This principle also applies to professional associations’ standards of conduct or responsibility. These must be reasonably designed for public protection; if used to limit competition, they could lead to legal liabilities.

Price Discrimination and Predatory Pricing

Businesses may face liability for engaging in price discrimination or predatory pricing, if these practices are intended to eliminate competition. These activities involve unfairly setting different prices for the same product or intentionally lowering prices to a level unsustainable for competitors, to ultimately monopolize the market.

Resale-Price Maintenance

Resale-price maintenance or vertical price-fixing involves agreements where manufacturers or distributors stipulate that retailers must sell products at or above a specified price. This can include subtler forms, such as minimum-advertised-price agreements. Such practices may violate federal or state antitrust and unfair competition laws, including specific statutes, such as the California Cartwright Act and the New York Donnelly Act.

Antitrust Violations and Intellectual Property Rights

Companies can be liable for leveraging intellectual property rights, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, or trade secrets, to harm competition. For example, pharmaceutical companies can face antitrust liability for executing anticompetitive pay-for-delay deals with generic-drug companies. Another example of the intersection between antitrust and intellectual property law is the use of Standard Essential Patents (“SEP”) that give patent holders the power to determine who may participate in a market through licensing decisions. Antitrust law should be considered when working with SEP patents, which are typically subject to Fair and Reasonable Non-Discriminatory (“FRAND”) obligations. Breach of a FRAND commitment given in exchange for standardization of the underlying technology can have a market-wide impact and serious antitrust implications. 


It is not necessarily illegal to have monopoly power; rather, how a business attains monopoly power or maintains it can trigger liability. Such liability can be triggered by monopolization, a conspiracy to monopolize, or attempted monopolization. 

The dividing line for liability often hinges on whether the business attained or maintained such market power through, one the one hand, a superior product, lower prices, innovation, or other merit, versus through, on the other hand, exclusionary, manipulative, misleading, predatory, unlawful, or otherwise restrictive practices resulting in anticompetitive effects that outweigh procompetitive effects. Anticompetitive conduct impairs or excludes rivals, suppliers, or customers and either (i) does not further competition on the merits or (ii) does so in an unnecessarily restrictive way. 

Several types of exclusionary acts can trigger liability, including, without limitation, tying, negative tying, bundling, exclusive supply or purchase contracts, predatory or below-cost pricing, refusals to deal with customers, suppliers, or competitors, blocking market access, or anticompetitive use of intellectual property rights and the judicial process. 

Nematzadeh PLLC: Your Partner in Navigating Antitrust Law

At Nematzadeh PLLC, we are committed to advising our clients through the cutting-edge, evolving legal landscapes surrounding antitrust and unfair competition laws. Staying abreast of these changes and understanding their nuances is crucial in providing effective counsel and representation to clients who are navigating these challenges. We are such counsel, and we have been at the leading edge of working on important matters that implicate antitrust laws in the ever-changing and evolving digital marketplaces of the current economy.

Our comprehensive knowledge of and experience in antitrust law enables us to offer strategic representation and guidance through the contemporary landscape. Whether you have been a victim of anticompetitive harm, are facing a lawsuit or investigation, or want to be a confidential whistleblower to report violations, our team is equipped to provide you with unmatched legal guidance. 

Contact Nematzadeh PLLC by calling (646) 799-6729 or emailing for a confidential, free consultation.