Anti-Competitive Practices


The term anti-competitive practice refers to business or government practices that restrict or reduce trade or competition in a given market.  Examples of anti-competitive practices include price fixing, bid rigging, boycotts, and tying agreements.


Also known as restrictive trade practices, anti-competitive laws in the United States were passed to promote fair competition for the benefit of consumers.  This includes a collection of both federal and state laws that are an extension of antitrust laws such as the Sherman Act of 1890, the Clayton Act of 1914, and the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914.

The laws that target anti-competitive practices may include one or more of the below:

  • Bid Rigging: includes agreements between competitors or suppliers that specify how much to bid or when to bid.
  • Boycotts: typically includes joint agreements between competitors to not do business with certain competitors, trade partners, or customers.
  • Disparagement:  making false claims or statements about a competitor.
  • Dividing Territories: agreements between customers, suppliers, or companies to allocate geographies, customers, or products and services.
  • Dumping: includes the sale of a product or service at a loss in a competitive market, with the intent to force competitors out of the market.
  • Exclusive Dealing: includes arrangements whereby a retailer or wholesaler purchases from a supplier with the understanding that no other distributor will receive supplies in a given geography.
  • Price Fixing:  includes agreements between competitors to establish prices, the rate or level of production.
  • Tying: agreements between a trade partner and customer that "tie" the purchase of one product or service to an unrelated product or service.
  • Unethical Collection of Business Intelligence: includes the use of unlawful or unethical means such as theft, spying, or bribery to collect information about a business.

Related Terms

confidentiality agreement, conflict of interest, dividing markets, price fixingbid rigging, group boycott, disparagement, dumping, exclusive dealing, tying arrangements, Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, limit pricing, Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914, resale price maintenance