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简明反垄断法法英文指南/赵庆庆译

2008-03-24 来源:互联网 作者:赵庆庆译
核心提示:Promoting Competition, Protecting Consumers: A Plain English Guide to Antitrust Laws TABLE OF CONTENTS Preface An Antitrust Primer Illegal Business Practices Maintaining or Creating a Monopoly Mergers
Promoting Competition,
Protecting Consumers:
A Plain English Guide to Antitrust Laws
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface
An Antitrust Primer
Illegal Business Practices
Maintaining or Creating a Monopoly
Mergers
Price Discrimination
Frequently Asked Questions
Keeping Markets Competitive
简明反托拉斯法英文指南

目录:
序 言
反托拉斯入门
非法商事行为
维持和引发垄断
合并
价格歧视
常见问题
保持市场竞争性
Preface
序言:
The Bureau of Competition of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) share responsibility for enforcing laws that promote competition in the marketplace. Competition benefits consumers by keeping prices low and the quality of goods and services high.
联邦贸易委员会竞争署和司法部反托拉斯局共同负责实施促进市场竞争的法律。市场竞争则是通过保持商品的低价以及商品和服务的高质量使消费者受益。
The FTC is a consumer protection agency with two mandates under the FTC Act: to guard the marketplace from unfair methods of competition, and to prevent unfair or deceptive acts or practices that harm consumers. These tasks often involve the analysis of complex business practices and economic issues. When the Commission succeeds in doing both its jobs, it protects consumer sovereignty -- the freedom to choose goods and services in an open marketplace at a price and quality that fit the consumer’s needs -- and fosters opportunity for businesses by ensuring a level playing field among competitors. In pursuing its work, the FTC can file cases in both federal court and a special administrative forum.
联邦贸易委员会是在《联邦贸易委员会法》规制下并拥有其两项授权的一个消费者保护机构:一是引导市场避免不公平的竞争;二是杜绝有损消费者利益的不公平或欺骗性的市场行为。它的这些任务通常包括了分析复杂的市场交易行为和有关的经济问题。当委员会成功地完成其任务时,消费者的主权就得到了很好的保护:他们自由地选择商品;以合适的价格和品质在一个公开的市场上接受服务;并通过整平市场竞争者之间的游戏场地来培育商机。为了实现其职能,联邦贸易委员会拥有在联邦法院和一专门的行政法庭的立案权。
The FTC has prepared this booklet to help you understand the antitrust laws -- how they can benefit consumers, and how they can affect you if you operate a business. The booklet explains how antitrust laws can be violated, answers frequently asked questions about potential violations, describes how you can help keep markets competitive, and tells where to find more information about the antitrust laws.
联邦贸易委员会特别准备了这个小册子以帮助您更好地理解反托拉斯法:如:它怎样使消费者受益;如果您正从事商业活动,它将怎样影响您的经营行为。同时,这本小册子还将介绍一些违反反托拉斯法的行为;回答一些常见的关于潜在违法性行为的问题;描述你可以如何帮助保持市场的竞争性;并告诉您在哪可能找到更多有关反托拉斯法的信息和资料。
The FTC also has available other publications that explain its numerous consumer protection activities.
当然,联邦贸易委员会还有一些介绍其经常性的消费者权益保护行动的出版物。
"Antitrust laws . . . are the Magna Carta of free enterprise. They are as important to the preservation of economic freedom and our free-enterprise system as the Bill of Rights is to the protection of our fundamental personal freedoms."
--The Supreme Court, United States v. Topco Associates,
Inc. 1972
“《反托拉斯法》-------在自由的企业制度中是位受欢迎者。其之于维持经济自由和我们自由的企业制度的重要性就像《人权法案》之于保护我们基本的人身自由的重要性那样.”
最高法院United States v. Topco Associates Inc. 1972
An Antitrust Primer
反托拉斯入门
The antitrust laws describe unlawful practices in general terms, leaving it to the courts to decide what specific practices are illegal based on the facts and circumstances of each case.
反托拉斯法只是在总体上描述了一些非法的实践,而让各法院根据每个案件的事实和背景去确定其具体的违法行为。
 Section 1 of the Sherman Act outlaws "every contract, combination . . . , or conspiracy, in restraint of trade," but long ago, the Supreme Court decided that the Sherman Act prohibits only those contracts or agreements that restrain trade unreasonably. What kinds of agreements are unreasonable is up to the courts.
 《谢尔曼法》第一条宣布 “关于限制贸易的任何契约、合并、串谋”均为非法。但许久以前最高法院认为《谢尔曼法》禁止的只是那些不合理限制贸易的契约或协定。但具体哪一种协定是不合理的则由法院来确认。
 Section 2 of the Sherman Act makes it unlawful for a company to "monopolize, or attempt to monopolize," trade or commerce. As that law has been interpreted, it is not necessarily illegal for a company to have a monopoly or to try to achieve a monopoly position. The law is violated only if the company tries to maintain or acquire a monopoly position through unreasonable methods. For the courts, a key factor in determining what is unreasonable is whether the practice has a legitimate business justification.
 《谢尔曼法》第二条宣布一公司 “独占或企图独占”市场交易为非法。该法同时还作出解释:一公司拥有垄断或企图谋取垄断地位并不是构成非法的必要条件,只是当该公司通过某种不正当的手段试图维持或谋取垄断地位时,它才被认定是非法的。对于法院来说,确认其手段合理与否的一个关键因素是该公司对其所实施的行为是否有正当的商事抗辩理由。
 Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act outlaws "unfair methods of competition" but does not define unfair. The Supreme Court has ruled that violations of the Sherman Act also are violations of Section 5, but Section 5 covers some practices that are beyond the scope of the Sherman Act. It is the FTC’s job to enforce Section 5.
 《联邦贸易委员会法》第五条宣布 “不公平的竞争手段”为非法,但并未对所谓的 “不公平”下确切的定议。最高法院曾裁定违反《谢尔曼法》的行为同时也是违反本条规定的。然而,第五条还涵盖了一些超出谢尔曼法规制范围的违法行为。第五条的实施权是归属于联邦贸易委员会的。
 Section 7 of the Clayton Act prohibits mergers and acquisitions where the effect "may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly." Determining whether a merger will have that effect requires a thorough economic evaluation or market study.
 《克莱顿法》第七条禁止“可能有实质性弱化竞争或引有发垄断趋向”的效果的企业合并。确定一合并案是否有上述效果则需要彻底的经济效益评估和市场调查。

 Section 7A of the Clayton Act, called the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, requires the prior notification of large mergers to both the FTC and the Justice Department.

 《克莱顿法》第七条A款,亦称Hart-Scott-Rodino法,要求大合并案中当事方在合并时要事先照会联邦贸易委员会和司法部。
Some cases are easier than others. The courts decided many years ago that certain practices, such as price fixing, are so inherently harmful to consumers that a detailed examination isn’t necessary to determine whether they are reasonable. The law presumes that they are violations (antitrust lawyers call these per se violations) and condemns them almost automatically.
某些案件比其它的案子要来得简单一些。诸如价格限定这类行为,因其对消费者固有的危害性,法院多年前曾确认在认定这些行为是否合理时,并不需要对它们进行详细的审查,而是由法律直接假定它们违法而且几乎是自动地谴责它们。(反托拉斯律师们称其为实质性违法)。
Other practices demand closer scrutiny based on principles that the courts and antitrust agencies have developed. These cases are examined under a "rule of reason" analysis. A practice is illegal if it restricts competition in some significant way and has no overriding business justification. Practices that meet both characteristics are likely to harm consumers -- by increasing prices, reducing availability of goods or services, lowering quality or service, or significantly stifling innovation.
其它的一些行为则需要根据法院和反托拉局业已发展起来的一些原则对其进行详细的审查。这些案子是在 “理性原则”的分析下接受审查的。一种行为倘若其以某种明显的方式限制了竞争且没有免责正当的商事抗辩理由,那么它就是非法的。这些行为常有以下这些特征:通过提价,降低商品或服务的可用性,提供低品质的商品或低质量的服务,以及显著的抑制技术革新等手段来损害消费者的利益。
The antitrust laws are further complicated by the fact that many business practices can have a reasonable business justification even if they limit competition in some way. Consider an agreement among manufacturers to adopt specifications that require fire-resistant materials for certain products. The set of specifications may be called a standard. The agreement to adopt the standard is restrictive: the manufacturers have limited their own ability to use other materials, and they have limited consumer choice. But the agreement to adopt the standard may benefit consumers in that it provides assurances of safety.
反托拉斯法亦基于一个这样的事实而趋于复杂化。那就是许多商事行为虽然在某种程度上限制了竞争,但它们拥有正当的商事抗辩理由。例如,厂商们之间关于采用防火材料制造特种产品的规范的协定。这一整套的规范可称之为标准。厂商们采纳的这种标准事实上是限制竞争的:厂商自我限制了其使用其它材料的能力,同时也限制了消费者的选择范围。然而,这种关于采纳某一标准的协定对消费者可能是有利的-------它提供了具有安全保证的商品。
What if manufacturers did not use a uniform standard for electrical outlets and plugs? The likely result would be incompatibilities between parts produced by different manufacturers. But because of the standard, parts manufactured by different companies become interchangeable; competition for the parts increases, and prices go down.
如果厂商们不采用电源和插座的行业统一标准会有什么情况发生呢?极可能导致不同厂商制造的零部件相互之间不相容。由于统一标准的存在,不同公司制造的零部件变得可以通用,于是此类零部件市场的竞争加强了,从而使其价格回落。
Illegal Business Practices
非法商事行为
Horizontal agreements among competitors:
Agreements among parties in a competing relationship can raise antitrust suspicions. Competitors may be agreeing to restrict competition among themselves. Antitrust authorities must investigate the effect and purpose of an agreement to determine its legality.
竞争者间的横向协定: 相互之间有竞争关系的市场主体间的协定很可能引起反托拉斯当局的怀疑。竞争们可能协商在他们自己之间进行限制竞争。反托拉斯当局需要通过调查该协定的影响和目的来确认其合法性。
Agreements on price. Agreements about price or price-related matters such as credit terms potentially are the most serious. That’s because price often is the principal way that firms compete. A "naked" agreement on price -- where the agreement is not reasonably related to the firms’ business operations -- is illegal. Hard core -- clear or blatant -- price-fixing is subject to criminal prosecution.
价格协定。关于价格或诸如信用证条款等有关价格事项的协定是极具潜在危害性的。这是因为价格通常是商家之间竞争的最主要的手段。一项与公司的商业运作不适当地联系在一起的纯价格协定是非法的。Hard core -- clear or blatant -- price-fixing is subject to criminal prosecution. 限价行为不论其是清晰的还是极为显著的,都将面临到刑事指控。
Are similarity of prices, simultaneous price changes or high prices indications of price-fixing? Not always. These conditions can result from price-fixing, but to prove the charge, antitrust authorities would need evidence of an agreement to fix prices. Price similarities -- or the appearance of simultaneous changes in price -- also can result from normal economic conditions. For example, vigorous competition can drive prices down to a common level. A general increase in wholesale gasoline costs due to production shortages can cause gasoline stations to increase retail prices around the same time. As for the appearance of uniformly "high" prices, collusion may not be the only basis for the situation. Prices may increase if consumer demand for a product is particularly high and the supply is limited. Ask any shopper in search of a particularly popular children’s toy.
是否近似价格、同时发生的价格变动或高价格都是限价行为的迹象呢?并非总是如此。这些情形可以是由限价行为而引发的,但是反托拉斯当局需要有一限价协定作为证据以支持其指控。近似价格、同时发生的价格变动也可以是由正常的经济环境变动而引发的。例如,激烈的竞争促使价格下降到一个正常的水平;因产量不足而引起的汽油成本整体性上升会促使各加油站在一个大体相同的时间提高它们的零售价格;至于出现的统一的高价格,串谋也可能不是出现这样情形的唯一原因。价格上涨可能是由于消费者对某一供应不足的产品需求特别大。如,要求商家提供一非常受欢迎的儿童玩具。
Agreements to restrict output. An agreement to restrict production or output is illegal because reducing the supply of a product or service inevitably drives up its price.
产量限制协定。一项关于限制产量的协定是非法的。因为它削减了产品和服务的供应量,这就不可避免地引发了价格上涨。
Boycotts. A group boycott -- an agreement among competitors not to deal with another person or business -- violates the law if it is used to force another party to pay higher prices.
联合抵制。一团体的联合抵制(即竞争者之间有关禁止与其它人交易的协定)若是以迫使另一团体支付更高的价格为目的,那么这种行为就是非法的。
Boycotts to prevent a firm from entering a market or to disadvantage a competitor also are illegal. Recent cases involved a group of physicians charged with using a boycott to prevent a managed care organization from establishing a competing health care facility in Virginia and retailers who used a boycott to force manufacturers to limit sales through a competing catalog vendor.
联合抵制一家新的公司进入市场或联合使某一竞争者陷入劣势境地同样也是非法的。新近的案例有:弗吉尼亚州一内科医生团体联合抵制一组织建立其竞争性的卫生保健设施而遭到起诉;及零售商们通过联合行动强迫制造商限制其经由竞争性零售网的销售。
Are boycotts for other purposes illegal? It depends on their effect on competition and possible justifications. A group of California auto dealers used a boycott to prevent a newspaper from telling consumers how to use wholesale price information when shopping for cars. The FTC proved that the boycott affected price competition and had no reasonable justification.
至于用于其它目的的联合抵制行动是否也是非法的呢?这则取决于它们对于竞争的影响和可能存在的正当抗辩理由。例如,一加利福尼亚的汽车代理商团体曾采取联合抵制行动阻止新闻媒体告诉消费者在购买汽车时怎样利用批发价信息。联邦贸易委员会最终认定这种联合抵制行为影响了价格竞争,而且也没有任何正当的抗辩理由。
Market division. Agreements among competitors to divide sales territories or allocate customers -- essentially, agreements not to compete -- are presumed to be illegal. At issue in one recent case was an agreement between cable television companies not to enter each other’s territory.
市场分割。竞争者之间关于市场领域划分或分享消费者的协定(本质上是也是限制竞争的)同样被认为是非法的。新近的一个案例是几家有线电视公司签订协定承诺互不进入对方的市场领域。
Agreements to restrict advertising. Restrictions on price advertising can be illegal if they deprive consumers of important information. Restrictions on non-price advertising also may be illegal if the evidence shows the restrictions have anticompetitive effects and lack reasonable business justification. The FTC recently charged a group of auto dealers with restricting comparative and discount advertising to the detriment of consumers.
广告限制协定。价格广告方面的限制若是剥夺了消费者需要的一些重要信息就是非法的。对非价格广告的限制亦有可能是非法的,只要有证据表明这种限制有反竞争性的影响同时又没有正当的商事抗辩理由。联邦贸易委员会不久前曾起诉了一群对比较和折扣广告进行限制,从而损害了消费者利益的汽车代理商。
Codes of ethics. A professional code of ethics may be unlawful if it unreasonably restricts the ways professionals may compete. Several years ago, for example, the FTC ruled that certain provisions of the American Medical Association’s code of ethics restricted doctors from participating in alternative forms of health care delivery, such as managed health care programs, in violation of the antitrust laws. The case opened the door for greater competition in health care.
道德准则。职业道德准则若是不适当地限制了其职业可能的竞争方式也是非法的。多年前,有这样一个案例:联邦贸易委员会裁定美国医药联合会确立的道德准则中的某些条款限制了医生参加一些提供选择性医疗服务的业务,例如卫生保健计划就违法了反托拉斯法。本案为卫生保健领域更为激烈的竞争打开了大门。
Restraints of other business practices. Other kinds of agreements also can restrict competition. For example:
其它商事限制行为。其它类型的协定同样可能限制竞争。例如:
 A large group of Detroit-area auto dealers agreed to restrict their showroom hours, including closing on Saturdays. The agreement reduced a service that dealers normally provide -- convenient hours -- and made it difficult for consumers to comparison shop. The FTC challenged the agreement successfully.
一些Detroit-area公司的代理商协定削减他们的营业时间,包括在周六停业。
该协定减少了这些代理商在人们便利的时间内其本应正常提供的服务。从而加大了消费者货比三家的难度。联邦贸易委员会成功地阻止了此项协定的生效。
 A group of dentists refused to make patients’ X-rays available to insurance companies. The FTC maintained that the agreement restricted a service to patients, as well as information that would be relevant to reimbursements. The Supreme Court upheld the FTC’s ruling.
 A group of dentists refused to make patients’ X-rays available to insurance companies. The FTC maintained that the agreement restricted a service to patients, as well as information that would be relevant to reimbursements. 最高法院亦支持了联邦贸易委员会的裁定。
Proving a violation in these kinds of cases depends largely on proving the existence of an agreement. An explicit agreement can be demonstrated through direct evidence -- a document that contains or refers to an agreement, minutes of a meeting that record an agreement among the attendees, or testimony by a person with knowledge of an agreement. But an agreement also can be demonstrated by inference -- a combination of circumstantial evidence, including the fact that competitors had a meeting before they implemented certain practices, records of telephone calls, and signaling behavior -- when one company tells another that it intends to raise prices by a certain amount. This evidence must show that a company’s conduct was more likely the result of an agreement than a unilateral action.
在这些类型的案件中确认一违法行为很大程度上取决于能否证明厂商间协定的存在。一外在的协定可以通过一些直接的证据予以证明。如一份包含或涉及协议的文件;数分钟的厂商间达成协定的会议记录;或一知晓协定内容的证人的证词。但协定也可以用类推的方式予以证明,主要是指一些合并的间接证据,包括竞争者在实施特定市场行为前开会;电话记录以及信号行为。(即一家公司将其提高商品价格的意图告诉另一家公司)。这些证据必需表明厂商的行为看起来更像是相互间串谋的结果,而非单方面行动。
Vertical agreements between buyers and sellers
买方和卖方间的纵向协定
Certain kinds of agreements between parties in a buyer-seller relationship, such as a retailer who buys from a manufacturer, also are illegal. Price-related agreements are presumed to be violations, but antitrust authorities view most non-price agreements with less suspicion because many have valid business justifications.
此类型的协定存在于相互间有买卖关系的各方之间,如一零售商与其供货制造商。虽然与价格相关的协定常被假定是非法的,但反托拉斯当局认为多数非价格协定无多嫌疑,因为它们之中许多都有正当的商事抗辩理由。
Resale price maintenance agreements. Vertical price-fixing -- an agreement between a supplier and a dealer that fixes the minimum resale price of a product -- is a clear-cut antitrust violation. It also is illegal for a manufacturer and retailer to agree on a minimum resale price.
转售价格维持协定。此为纵向限价,即一供货商与一销售商之间关于某一商品最低转售价格的协定。这种协定明显违反了反托拉斯法。同样,制造商和零售商对最低转售价格达成一致也是非法的。
The antitrust laws, however, give a manufacturer latitude to adopt a policy regarding a desired level of resale prices and to deal only with retailers who independently decide to follow that policy. A manufacturer also is permitted to stop dealing with a retailer who breaches the manufacturer’s resale price maintenance policy. That is, the manufacturer can adopt the policy on a "take it or leave it" basis.
反托拉斯法充许制造商在一定的价格浮动范围内采用其所意愿的最低转售价格政策,及只与可独立贯彻该政策的零售商交易。制造商同样也被允许有权终止与违反其转售价格维持政策的零售商的交易。That is, the manufacturer can adopt the policy on a "take it or leave it" basis.
Agreements on maximum resale prices are evaluated under the "rule of reason" standard because in some situations these agreements can benefit consumers by preventing dealers from charging a non-competitive price.
最高转售价格协定则是用 “理性原则”标准来评价的。因为,在某些情形中,此类协定可以防止代理商索取非竞争性价格,从而使消费者受益。
Non-price agreements between a manufacturer and a dealer. Manufacturer-imposed limitations on how or where a dealer may sell a product, e.g., service obligations or territorial limitations, are generally not illegal. These agreements may result in greater sales efforts and better service in the dealer’s assigned area, and more competition with other brands. Some non-price restraints may be anticompetitive. For example, an exclusive dealing arrangement may prevent other manufacturers from obtaining enough access to sales outlets to be truly competitive. Or it might be a way for manufacturers to stop competing so hard against each other. Take the case against the two principal manufacturers of pumps for fire trucks. It involved agreements that required their customers, the fire truck manufacturers, to buy pumps only from the manufacturer that was already supplying them. That meant that neither pump manufacturer had to fear competition from the other.
制造商和代理商间的非价格协定。制造商对代理商怎样及在哪销售其厂品做出了限制,如服务职责或地域限制。这些行为通常是合法的。因为这些协定可能产生更大销售业绩、促使各代理商在各自分配的地区提供更好的服务以及与其它品牌进行更多的竞争等正效应。但也有一些非价格限制协定也可能是反竞争性的。例如,一项严格控制的交易安排可能会阻止其它制造商取得真正的竞争性市场所应有的充足的销售渠道。或者,这种协定成为了制造商们停止对任何竞争者都不利的激烈竞争的一种手段。有案例如下,市场上两家为消防车生产水泵的主要制造商达成了这样一个协定:要求他们的消费者即消防车制造商只能从他们各自现有的供货商那购买水泵。这意味着两家水泵制造商中的任何一家都不必担心来自另一家的竞争威胁。
Tie-in sales. The sale of one product on condition that a customer purchase a second product, which the customer may not want or can buy elsewhere at a lower price, is a tie-in. Requirements like these are illegal if they harm competition. A recent example: The FTC charged a pharmaceutical manufacturer with tying the sale of clozapine, an antipsychotic drug, to a blood testing and monitoring service.
搭售。某一商品的销售以强制要求消费者购买另一种他可能并不需要或在别处可以更低廉的价格购得的商品的行为称为搭售。诸如此类的要求若是损害了竞争则是非法的。在一新近的案例中:联邦贸易委员会对一家药品生产商的一种药名为clozapine 用于血液监测的安定药品的销售提出了搭售指控
Maintaining or Creating a Monopoly
维持和引发垄断
While it is not illegal to have a monopoly position in a market, the antitrust laws make it unlawful to maintain or attempt to create a monopoly through tactics that either unreasonably exclude firms from the market or significantly impair their ability to compete. A single firm may commit a violation through its unilateral actions, or a violation may result if a group of firms work together to monopolize a market.
纵然,在市场上拥有垄断地位本身并不违法。但反托拉斯法却认定通过将其它竞争者排除与市场之外或显著地损害他们的竞争能力等战略性手段维持或谋取垄断地位的行为是非法的。单个公司可能因其单方面行为而违反反托拉斯法的规定;同样,纵多的企业则可因他们垄断市场合作行为而违法。
A common complaint is that some companies try to monopolize a market through "predatory" or below-cost pricing. This can drive out smaller firms that cannot compete at those prices. But the lower prices a large retailer offers may simply reflect efficiencies from spreading overhead costs over a larger volume of sales. Because the antitrust laws encourage competition that leads to low prices, courts and antitrust authorities challenge predatory activities only when they will lead to higher prices.
一种常见的申诉是一些公司通过掠夺性定价或倾销价企图垄断市场。这可以挤出那些无力在此价格下进行竞争的小公司。但是纵多零售商提供的的低价可能仅仅是反映出因大规模销售而分散成本的功效。由于反托拉斯法是鼓励因竞争而产生低价格的,所以法院和反托拉斯当局只对引起高价的掠夺性定价行为进行规制。
While the FTC has not found predatory pricing violations in recent years, it examines potential violations very carefully and maintains a close watch for other kinds of tactics -- like raising competitors’ costs -- that may disadvantage rivals.
尽管联邦贸易委员会近年来并未发现有关掠夺性定价的违法行为。但它仍然是非常谨慎地调查潜在的违法行为,并对其它类型的谋取市场垄断地位战略性行为保持高度的警惕。例如,可能对竞争对手不利的提高竞争者的成本的行为。
Special situations
特殊情形。
The solicitation of price fixing -- also called an "invitation to collude" -- indicates an inclination to engage in illegal behavior, but usually is not unlawful under the Sherman Act. Section 5 of the FTC Act provides more flexibility to challenge this kind of undesirable behavior.
限价引诱,又称为 “串谋邀请”,反映了市场竞争者从事某一非法行为的倾向,但根据《谢尔曼法》这通常并不构成非法。《联邦贸易委员会法》第5条对此类不受欢迎的行为也只是做出了灵活性的规定。
Mergers
合并
The United States is in the midst of a "merger wave." The number of mergers reported under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act rose from 1,529 in 1991 to a record 3,702 in 1997 -- a 142 percent jump. During this period, the FTC successfully challenged a host of potential mergers, saving consumers millions of dollars that they otherwise would have paid in higher prices. Identifying and challenging anticompetitive mergers is a difficult task that can take thousands of hours of investigative work and often, litigation.
美国目前正处于企业合并的大潮之中。在Hart-Scott-Rodino法规制之下的合并案记录已从1991年的1529宗上升到1997年3702宗,上升了142个百分点。在此期间,联邦贸易委员会成功地阻止了大量潜在的合并,为消费者挽回了可能因支付更高的价格而引起的数百万美元的损失。鉴别和规制反竞争性的合并是一项十分艰巨的工作,它可能要花费大量的调查时间并经历多次的诉讼。
Most mergers actually benefit competition and consumers by allowing firms to operate more efficiently. But some are likely to lessen competition. That, in turn, can lead to higher prices, reduced availability of goods or services, lower quality of products, and less innovation. Indeed, some mergers create a concentrated market, while others enable a single firm to raise prices.
多数合并实际上因其使公司的运营更富有效率而使市场竞争和消费者受益。但也存在一些可能弱化竞争的合并。这种合并多导致高价格;商品和服务的效用或厂品的质量的降低;及技术革新迟缓。实际情况是,一些合并形成了一集中的市场,其它的则只是使个别公司提高价格。
In a concentrated market, there are only a few firms. The danger is that they may find it easier to lessen competition by colluding. For example, they may agree on the prices they will charge consumers. The collusion could be in an explicit agreement, or in a more subtle form -- known as tacit coordination or coordinated interaction. Firms may prefer to cooperate tacitly rather than explicitly because tacit agreements are more difficult to detect, and some explicit agreements may be subject to criminal prosecution.
在一个集中的市场上,只有少数的几家公司。此类市场的威胁在于这些少数的几家公司可能发现通过串谋来限制竞争是很容易的。如,他们可能在对消费者索取的价格上达成一致。这种串谋可以是一个很明显的协定,也可能是以较为隐蔽的方式。较知名的方式有tacit coordination or coordinated interaction 较之鉴定明显的协定,公司可能更倾向于采用沉默式的合作,因为默示的协定通常很难被发现,况且一些公开的协定还可能会遭受刑事指控。
When a merger enables a single firm to increase prices without coordinating with its competitors, it has created a unilateral effect. A firm might be able to increase prices unilaterally if it has a large enough share of the market, if the merger removes its closest competitor, and if the other firms in the market can’t provide substantial competition.
当一项合并使个别公司在没有与其竞争者协调的情况下提价,这只是会产生单方面的影响。倘若一家公司拥有足够大的市场份额,倘若其合并排挤了最主要的市场竞争者,倘若市场上其它的公司无法与之进行实质性的竞争,那么该公司就可能有能力单方面地提高价格。
Generally, at least two conditions are necessary for a merger to have a likely anticompetitive effect: The market must be substantially concentrated after the merger; and it must be difficult for new firms to enter the market in the near term and provide effective competition. The reason for the second condition is that firms are less likely to raise prices to anticompetitive levels if it is fairly easy for new competitors to enter the market and drive prices down.
总的来说,一项可能有反竞争性影响的合并至少应包含两个条件:市场在合并后极可能是充分集中的;这种市场对于一家新的公司来说,其在早期是很难进入市场并提供有效竞争。第二个条件的原因是:倘若一家新的公司可以平等地且很容易地进入市场,从而使价格降低,那么市场上原有的公司将价格提高到一个限制竞争的水平的可能性就很小。
Under these conditions, one of three basic kinds of mergers might facilitate coordinated or unilateral anticompetitive behavior: horizontal mergers, which involve two competitors; vertical mergers, which involve firms in a buyer-seller relationship; and potential competition -- or conglomerate mergers -- in which one of the firms is likely to enter the market and become a potential competitor of the other.
在这些条件下,one of three basic kinds of mergers might facilitate coordinated or unilateral anticompetitive behavior:两个竞争者之间的横向合并;相互间有买卖关系的几家公司间的纵向合并;以及潜在竞争-- or conglomerate mergers – 即一家公司试图进入某一市场,他就成了市场上原有公司的潜在竞争者。
Horizontal mergers
横向合并
In a horizontal merger, the acquisition of a competitor could increase market concentration and increase the likelihood of collusion. The elimination of head-to-head competition between two leading firms may result in unilateral anticompetitive effects.
在横向合并中,市场竞争者可获得的是提高市场的集中程度及增加串谋的可能性。消除两家处于市场中领导地位的公司间势均力敌的竞争可能导致单方面的反竞争效应。
Witness the recent attempt by Staples, Inc., one "superstore" retailer of office supplies, to acquire Office Depot, another giant retailer of office supplies. In many areas of the country, the merger would have reduced the number of superstore competitors, often leaving Staples as the only superstore in the area. Evidence from the companies’ pricing data showed that Staples would have been able to keep prices up to 13 percent higher after the merger than without the merger. The FTC blocked the merger, saving consumers an estimated $1.1 billion over five years.
有证据表明,办公用品零售业巨头Staples公司近来试图与另一同领域巨人Office Depot公司合并。该合并案将在整个国家的多数地区减少同领域竞争者的数量,使得Staples公司公司成为本地区唯一的经营办公用品的超级市场。有关来自于公司定价数据的证据表明,合并后Staples公司可以将市场价格提高13%。联邦贸易委员会阻止了此合并案,在过去的五年中为消费者大约节省了11亿元的费用。
Vertical mergers
纵向合并
Vertical mergers involve firms in a buyer-seller relationship -- a manufacturer merging with a supplier of component products, or a manufacturer merging with a distributor of its products. A vertical merger can harm competition by making it difficult for competitors to gain access to an important component product or to an important channel of distribution. This is called a "vertical foreclosure" or "bottleneck" problem.
纵向合并是相互间存在买卖关系的公司间的合并。如一制造商与其零配件供应者间的合并,或与其产品销售商间的合并。纵向合并加大了其它市场竞争者获取零配件或市场销售渠道的难度,从而对市场竞争造成了损害。这通常被称为 “纵向排斥”或 “瓶颈”问题。
Take the merger of Time Warner, Inc., producers of HBO and other video programming, and Turner Corp., producers of CNN, TBS, and other programming. The FTC was concerned that Time Warner could refuse to sell popular video programming to competitors of cable TV companies owned or affiliated with Time Warner or Turner -- or offer to sell the programming at discriminatory rates. That would allow Time Warner-Tuner affiliate cable companies to maintain monopolies against competitors like Direct Broadcast Satellite and new wireless cable technologies. What’s more, the Time Warner-Turner affiliates could hurt competition in the production of video programming by refusing to carry programming produced by competitors of both Time Warner and Turner. The FTC allowed the merger, but prohibited discriminatory access terms at both levels to prevent anticompetitive effects.
在Time Warner(HBO与一些其它视频节目的制片人)与Turner Corp(CNN,TBS和一些其它节目的制片人)的合并案中,联邦贸易委员会关注的是Time Warner可以拒绝向有线电视公司所有或附属的且与Time Warner或Turner Corp有竞争关系的公司销售流行的视频节目。抑或Time Warner可以以歧视性的价格销售。这便可使得Time Warner或Turner Corp附属的有线电视公司可以在市场上保持垄断地位,并抵制像Direct Broadcast Satellite 和 new wireless cable technologies这样的竞争者。况且,Time Warner-Turner还可以拒绝传送两家公司的竞争者所制作发行的节目,这便对视频产品节目市场的竞争造成了损害。虽然,联邦贸易委员会批准了本合并案,但其禁止了有关歧视性条款以防产生反竞争性的后果。
Potential competition mergers
潜在竞争合并
A potential competition merger is the acquisition of a company that is planning to enter a market and compete with the acquiring company (or vice versa). It results in the elimination of a potential competitor. That can be harmful in two ways. For one thing, it can prevent the increased competition that would result from the firm’s entry. For another, a firm can have a procompetitive effect on a market simply by being recognized as a possible entrant. The reason? The firms already in the market will avoid raising prices to levels that would make the outside firm’s entry more likely. The elimination of the potential entrant through a merger would remove the threat of entry and make anticompetitive pricing a real possibility.
A potential competition merger is the acquisition of a company that is planning to enter a market and compete with the acquiring company (or vice versa). 它的后果是排除了一个潜在的市场竞争者。此类合并在两个方面显示出了它的危害性:一方面,它妨害了因一家新公司进入市场而引起的市场竞争加剧;另一方面,a firm can have a procompetitive effect on a market simply by being recognized as a possible entrant. 原因是什么呢?市场上原来的公司总是避免将价格提高到令场外公司更有可能进入的水平。通过合并来排除潜在的市场进入者将会消除一新进入市场的竞争者所带来的威胁,同时使反竞争性的定价行为成为可能。
Several years ago, the Questar Corp., which operated the only pipeline transporting natural gas to Salt Lake city, tried to acquire a major part of a firm that was planning to begin service to the city. The potential entrant was already having a procompetitive effect on pricing. The FTC blocked the merger, preserving the price benefits for Salt Lake City consumers.
多年前,Questar公司是唯一一家运营通往盐湖城的输气管线的公司。它企图获取另外一家正计划在盐湖城提供类似服务的公司的多数股份。The potential entrant was already having a procompetitive effect on pricing. 联邦贸易委员会阻止了此项合并,维持了有利于盐湖城的消费者的价格水平。
Price Discrimination
价格岐视
A seller charging competing buyers different prices for the same "commodity" or discriminating in the provision of "allowances" -- compensation for advertising and other services -- may be violating the Robinson-Patman Act. This kind of price discrimination may hurt competition by giving favored customers an edge in the market that has nothing to do with the superior efficiency of those customers. However, price discriminations generally are lawful, particularly if they reflect the different costs of dealing with different buyers or result from a seller’s attempts to meet a competitor’s prices or services.
一销售商就相同的商品向不同的竞买者索取不同的价格或在限量供应(如对广告或其它服务的补偿)中对购买者实行歧视的行为可能违反《鲁宾逊-帕特曼法》。这种价格歧视可能使某些受到优待的消费者在市场中处于优势地位从而损害市场竞争。This kind of price discrimination may hurt competition by giving favored customers an edge in the market that has nothing to do with the superior efficiency of those customers. 尽管如此,有差别的市场价格从总体上来说是合法的,特别是当它们反映了和不同的购买者进行交易所产生的交易成本差异时,或者它们是由于一销售商付出试图与他的竞争者在价格与服务上保持一致的努力而引起的。
Price discrimination also might be used as a predatory pricing tactic -- setting prices below cost to certain customers -- to harm competition at the supplier’s level. Antitrust authorities use the same standards applied to predatory pricing claims under the Sherman Act and the FTC Act to evaluate allegations of price discrimination used for this purpose.
价格歧视也可能被作为一种掠夺性定价策略来使用,(如对某些特定的消费者索取低于成本的价格)并对供货商层面的竞争造成损害。反托拉斯当局对适用于谢尔曼法和联邦贸易委员会法规制下的掠夺性定价的指控采同一标准 以评估关于此类价格歧视行为的抗辩。
Frequently Asked Questions
常见问题
Q: The gasoline stations in my area have increased their prices the same amount and at the same time. Is that price-fixing?
A: A uniform simultaneous price increase could be the result of price fixing, but it also could be the result of independent business responses to market conditions. For example, if conditions in the international oil markets result in an increase in the price of crude oil, there could be a ripple effect. Local gasoline stations may respond to the wholesale price of gasoline by increasing their prices to cover their higher costs. However, if there is evidence that the operators of the gasoline stations talked to each other about increasing prices, it may be an antitrust violation.
问:本地区的加油站在同一时间将油价统一提高了相同的幅度,这是否属限价行为呢?
答:同时发生的价格同步上涨可能是市场主体限价的结果,但也可能是由于各市场主体对市场形势的变化做出的各自独立的商业反应。例如,国际石油市场环境的变化可能导致原油价格的上涨,这亦会引发连锁反应。当地的加油站可能会对批发价格的变化做出相应的反应以弥补其经营成本的提高。但是,若有证据表明加油站的经营者对有关提价事项进行了协商并达成一致,这可能就违反了反托拉斯法的规定。
Q: Shopping for a stereo loudspeaker made by Sound Corporation, I couldn’t find a dealer who would sell it for less than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Isn’t that price-fixing?
A: The key is evidence of an agreement. If the manufacturer and a dealer entered into an agreement on a resale price or minimum price, that would be a price-fixing violation. The agreement could be formal, through a contract, or informal, when the dealer’s compliance is coerced. However, if the manufacturer has established a policy that its dealers should not sell below a minimum price level, and the dealers have independently decided to follow that policy, there is no violation.
问:在购买Sound公司生产的立体声音响时,我找不到任何一家愿以低于制造商建议零售价格销售的代理商,这是否构成限价呢?
答:此问题的核心在于有无协定的证据,如果制造商和代理商对转售价格或最低价格达成了一个协定,那么这就是一种违法的限价行为。这种协定可能是以合同的形式正式鉴定的,当代理商们对这种协定价格的服从是被强制的时候,协定也可能是非正式的。但是,制造商即便是制订了代理商不得在低于最低价格的水平上销售的政策,只要代理商仍可自主地决定自己是否贯彻这种政策时,这种限价便是合法的。
Q: The medication my doctor prescribed for my heart condition is available from only one manufacturer, and the price is very high. Is that a monopoly?
A: If the manufacturer achieved a monopoly by acquiring a competitor or obtaining a patent by fraud, its monopoly may be illegal. If the only reason for the lack of competition is that no one else has developed a suitable alternative medication, the monopoly probably is legal. Many pharmaceutical products are protected by patents, which give the manufacturer the right to be the only producer of the product until the patent expires. That gives the manufacturer a legally acquired monopoly during the life of the patent. The antitrust laws accommodate the goal of the patent laws to encourage innovation: They prevent other firms from reaping the benefits of the invention before the inventor is rewarded for the risk and cost of the innovation.
Often, an alternative drug, made by another company, can be prescribed for a particular condition. If those companies decided to merge, or if one tried to buy the other’s patent, that would be illegal, especially if the situation resulted in a substantial lessening of competition.
问:我的医生为我的心脏病开的一些处方药在市场上只有一家制药商可提供,而且价格高昂,这是否构成垄断?
答:如果这家制药商是通过兼并竞争者或以欺骗性的手段获取专利而达到市场垄断地位的,那便是非法的。如果市场上的这种缺乏竞争的状态是由于市场上没有一家其它的制药商可以提供替代性的药品,那么这种垄断便是合法的。制药商的产品可能是受专利权保护的,法律赋予其在专利保护期内独家生产专利药品的权力。这使制药商在专利期内得以合法地垄断市场。反托拉斯法在这点上和专利法协调一致以鼓励技术革新,他们排除了其它公司在新产品开发者在其所承受的开发风险和开发成本获得回报之前从此项革新中受益的可能性。
通常,在另一家公司生产出适用于某种病症的替代性药品后。若这些处于同一市场领域的公司决定合并,或其中之一试图购买另一家的专利权,那便是非法的。尤其是当这种合并将导致实质性弱化竞争的情形时。
Q: My town has given an exclusive franchise to one firm to provide all trash-collection services. I think I could get a better price from another hauler. Isn’t the franchise restraining competition?
A: Although the town’s decision to grant an exclusive franchise prevents competition in trash collection, it probably is within the municipal powers granted by the state. If so, the town is immune from the antitrust laws under the state action doctrine, which says that the antitrust laws are not meant to apply to the actions of a state.
问:我居住的小镇对一家垃圾收集公司进行特别授权,使其垄断了本地区的垃圾收集业务。但我想我可以从其它同类公司处获得价格更为优惠的服务。这种特别授权是否限制了市场竞争?
答:虽然小镇对该公司的特别授权妨碍了当地垃圾收集市场的竞争,但这可能是政府赋予小镇的地方自治权的一部分。倘若如此,小镇实施的政府授权下的行为就不受反托拉斯法的规制,也就是说,反托拉斯法不适用于政府行为。
Q: I own a small jewelry store and the manufacturer of TimeCo brand watches recently dropped me as a dealer. I’m sure it’s because my competitors complained that I sell below the suggested retail price. The explanation was the manufacturer’s policy: its products should not be sold below the suggested retail price, and dealers who do not comply are subject to termination. Is it legal for the manufacturer to dictate my prices?
A: The law allows a manufacturer to have a policy that its dealers should sell a product above a certain minimum price, and to terminate dealers that do not honor that policy. Manufacturers may choose to adopt this kind of policy because it encourages dealers to provide full customer service and prevents other dealers, who may not provide full service, from taking away customers and "free riding" on the services provided by other dealers. If TimeCo got you to agree to maintain the suggested retail price, it would be illegal. It also would be illegal if TimeCo agreed with your competitors to drop you as a dealer to help maintain a price to which they had agreed. However, a complaint from a competing retailer is not sufficient to prove such an agreement, because the manufacturer may have decided independently that its interests were better served by sticking with its policy.
问:我拥有一家小珠宝行,TimeCo牌手表的制造商最近取消了我的代理商资格。我确信这是由于我的竞争者向制造商投诉我以低于制造商建议的零售价格销售手表。制造商给出的解释是:它的厂品不得以低于建议零售价格销售,不服从规定的代理商将会被终止代理权。制造商强行规定我的售价是合法的吗?
答:法律允许制造商制订关于其代理商应在某一最低价格水平之上销售其厂品的政策。同时允许制造商终止不遵守此政策的代理商的代理权。制造商极可能采用这种政策,因为它将促使代理商向消费者提供全面的服务,并防止那些不愿提供全面服务的代理商抢走消费者及从其它代理商提供的全面服务中 “搭便车”。如果TimeCo公司强迫你接受其建议的零售价格,就是非法的;如果TimeCo公司与你的竞争者合谋将你逐出市场以维持他们的协议价格,也是非法的。. However, a complaint from a competing retailer is not sufficient to prove such an agreement,因为制造商可能已认定坚持最低限价政策可使其获得更好的收益。
Q: I own a retail clothing store and the Brand Company refuses to sell me any of its line of clothes. These clothes are very popular in my area, so this policy is hurting my business. Isn’t it illegal for Brand to refuse to sell to me?
A: It could be illegal if the refusal to sell is based on an agreement between Brand and your competitors. Without an agreement, the antitrust laws allow manufacturers substantial leeway in selecting the dealers with whom they deal. Indeed, manufacturers select dealers for a variety of reasons, including a preference for those who carry a full line of their products, the desire to maintain a certain "image" for the product line, or the ability to maintain a minimum volume of business to minimize distribution costs. The antitrust laws do not interfere with business decisions like these as long as the manufacturer acts unilaterally and not as part of a scheme to monopolize a market.
问:我拥有一家服装零售店,Brand公司拒绝将其生产的一系列服装出售给我。这些服装在本地区甚为畅销,所以Brand公司的政策损害了我的经营。Brand公司拒绝向我出售其厂品的行为是非法的吗?
答:倘若这种拒绝是基于Brand公司和你的竞争者所签署的协定,那它就是非法的。若不存在协定,反托拉斯法允许制造商有实质性区别地选择其愿意与之交易的代理商。事实上,制造商在选择其代理商时是出于多方面考虑的:包括对代理其全系列产品的代理商情有独钟;或是为了保持某一系列产品的市场形象;保持最低限度销售以使销售成本最小化的能力。只要制造商的行动是单方面的且不是垄断市场计划的一部分,反托拉斯法就不会干涉企业所做出的此类商业决定。
Q: I operate two stores that sell recorded music. My business is being ruined by giant discount store chains that sell their products for less than my wholesale cost. I thought there were laws against price discrimination, but I can’t afford the legal fees to fight the big corporations. Can you help?
A: Although it appears that the discount chains are receiving their recorded music products at a lower wholesale price, it may be because it costs a manufacturer less, on a per-unit basis, to deal with large volume customers. If so, the manufacturer may have a "cost justification" defense to the differential pricing and the policy would not violate the Robinson-Patman Act. However, if the wholesale price differences are not justified on the basis of cost or other differences, and retail competition is being harmed to the detriment of consumers, antitrust authorities would want to know about the situation.
问:我经营着两家出售翻录音乐的商店。一家大型廉价连锁店的低于我的批发价的大幅打折销售行为严重影响了我的经营。我知道有法律规定限制此类价格歧视行为,但我无力支付与大公司进行诉讼所必需的诉讼费用,你们能帮助我吗?
答:虽然,从表面上看起来这家廉价连锁店是以低于批发价在出售他们的翻录音乐,但这可能是由于他实现了规模经营而使单位商品的销售成本下降。总成本亦随之下降。倘若如此,制造商就对于其差别性的定价行为有了一个 “成本抗辩”的正当理由,从而并不违反《鲁宾逊-帕特曼法》However, if the wholesale price differences are not justified on the basis of cost or other differences, and retail competition is being harmed to the detriment of consumers, antitrust authorities would want to know about the situation.
Q: I bought a Total Motors car a few years ago, and now, when I need parts replaced, I have to get them from the TM dealer. They’re very expensive. Isn’t this illegal monopolization?
A: Distribution arrangements like this usually are permitted. TM has the exclusive right to produce TM brand parts, so it is not illegal for the company to have a monopoly for its own parts. In addition, TM’s decision to make the parts available only through its dealers wouldn’t constitute monopolization of the service market unless the dealerships were owned by TM and it appeared that the company was trying to monopolize the service market through unreasonable means. Most automobile dealerships are independently owned, but even if that were not the case, a manufacturer may have legitimate reasons for making the parts available only through its dealers. For example, it may want to ensure quality of performance by requiring the parts to be dealer installed.
问:几年前,我买了一部Total Motors牌轿车,现在我需要更换一些零部件,而且不得不在TM的代理商处购买,这些零部件非常昂贵。这属于非法垄断吗?
答:像这样的销售安排通常是被允许的。TM公司对其品牌的零配件拥有生产专有权。况且,TM公司通过其代理商提供零部件的决策并不会构成服务市场的垄断。除非,这些代理商是TM公司所拥有的,或该公司有通不正当的手段企图垄断市场的迹象。多数汽车代理商都是自主的,但即使情况并非如此,一汽车制造商仍可对其只通过代理商向市场提供零部件的决策拥有正当的抗辩理由。如,确保代理商给消费者提供的零部件的质量。
Q: When I read about mergers, price-fixing, or other competition issues in the newspaper, sometimes it’s the FTC that’s in charge and sometimes it’s the Justice Department. Who decides which agency has responsibility and why?
A: With certain exceptions, the two agencies have antitrust jurisdiction in most industries. To avoid duplicating efforts, they consult before opening an investigation. Over the years, the agencies have developed expertise in particular industries or markets. For example, the FTC devotes most of its antitrust resources to segments of the economy where consumer spending is high: health care, pharmaceuticals, other professional services, food, energy, and certain high-tech industries like computer technology, video programming and cable television. The FTC also is involved in preserving competition in defense industries, to save taxpayer dollars on acquisitions costs.
Some anticompetitive practices -- such as hard-core price fixing -- are prosecuted as criminal violations under the Sherman Act. That’s handled by the Justice Department because it is a function of the Executive Branch of the government. The Justice Department also has sole antitrust jurisdiction over certain matters that are subject to special industry regulation by other agencies, such as the telephone industry and other telecommunications matters, railroads and airlines.
Finally, only the FTC can challenge certain practices that are beyond the reach of the other antitrust laws -- practices that "violate the spirit" but not the exact letter of the other laws.
问:当我在报纸上读到合并、限价或其它有关竞争的问题时,有时候是联邦贸易委员会在负责,有时候却是司法部,那么由谁来确定哪个机构对某一具体案件负责,原因是什么?
答:除了一些特别的例外情形,这两个机构在大部分产业领域拥有反托拉斯司法权。但为了避免重复的调查努力,他们在展开一项调查时通常会事先互相照会。多年来,两个机构已形成各自专业的产业或市场领域。如,联邦贸易委员会将其大部分的反托拉斯资源用于消费者花费较大的经济领域,诸如:卫生保健、医药、其它专业性劳务、食品、能源以及一些像计算机,视频节目、有线电视等高科技的产业。联邦贸易委员会还对保持国防工业领域的竞争负责,以节省纳税人的税赋。
一些反竞争性的行为如such as hard-core price fixing 是可根据《谢尔曼法》的规定提起刑事诉讼的。这些就属于司法部的管辖权之内了,因为这是政府行政部门的一项基本职责。司法部还对一些特定的事项拥有专门的司法管辖权,如电话工业及其它的一些电讯产业、铁路业、航空业等等。
Finally, only the FTC can challenge certain practices that are beyond the reach of the other antitrust laws -- practices that "violate the spirit" but not the exact letter of the other laws.
Keeping Markets Competitive
Consumers and business owners can help keep markets competitive. Here’s how:
Do your homework. Competition is fostered both by sellers vying for your business and shoppers seeking the best deal. Take the time to think about what you really need or want, research the alternatives, and know the prices and product offerings of different retailers and manufacturers. An informed shopper is in the best position to detect a suspicious lack of competition for no apparent reason.
Alert federal and state antitrust agencies if you suspect illegal behavior. Consumers and businesses are important sources of information about competitive conditions in the marketplace. While the FTC cannot act on behalf of an individual consumer or business, the information you provide can be helpful in revealing harm to competition and to consumers.
Don’t forget to write. If you have an antitrust problem or complaint, or if you wish to provide information that may be helpful in an investigation, contact the FTC:
 via mail. Office of Policy and Evaluation, Bureau of Competition, FTC, Washington, D.C. 20580, or your closest FTC regional office. Addresses are on the inside back cover.
 via telephone. Dial (202) FTC-HELP [(202) 382-4357 for FTC headquarters, or your closest regional office. Telephone numbers are on the inside back cover.
 via e-mail. Send a message to antitrust@ftc.gov, or contact us on the Internet at www.ftc.gov. E-mail communications are not secure; if you wish to submit confidential information, send it by mail and mark it Confidential.
With few exceptions, FTC investigations are not public. If you provide information or make a complaint, it will be kept confidential. Neither the information nor your identity will be disclosed outside the FTC. Similarly, if you contact us about an investigation, you may be told that we cannot discuss it, or even confirm or deny its existence. Still, we can receive your information and make sure it gets to appropriate FTC staff. In some cases, a staff person may wish to use the information in court if the case is litigated. In that event, you may be asked to provide an affidavit or other statement under oath, or appear as a witness at the trial. These situations are relatively rare, however. If those circumstances arise, your identity will have to be disclosed to the lawyers representing the companies or persons under investigation. FTC staff will seek your cooperation before making such disclosures.

赵庆庆翻
2008-03-24 来源:互联网 作者:赵庆庆译
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