The Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Competition enforces the nation's antitrust laws, which form the foundation of our free market economy. The antitrust laws promote the interests of consumers; they support unfettered markets and result in lower prices and more choices.
The Federal Trade Commission Act and the Clayton Act, both passed by Congress in 1914, give the Commission authority to enforce the antitrust laws. These laws prohibit anticompetitive mergers and business practices that seek to prevent hard-driving competition, such as monopolistic conduct, attempts to monopolize, and conspiracies in restraint of trade. The Bureau of Competition investigates potential law violations and seeks legal remedies in federal court or before the FTC's administrative law judges. The Bureau also serves as a resource for policy makers on competition issues, and works closely with foreign competition agencies to promote sound and consistent outcomes in the international arena.
U.S. antitrust laws are enforced by both the FTC's Bureau of Competition and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. The agencies consult before opening any investigation. The Antitrust Division handles all criminal antitrust enforcement.