Neal Marder on Antitrust Laws – The Sherman Act of 1890

A successful attorney with substantial litigation experience, Neal Marder is a partner with Winston & Strawn, LLP, in Los Angeles. Mr. Marder focuses his practice on several topics within the field of business law, including antitrust litigation. Defined as laws preventing business practices of an anti-competitive nature, antitrust litigation first appeared in the United States in 1890 with the passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Often referred to simply as the Sherman Act, this legislation illegalized monopolization and prevented businesses from restraining trade through contracts, combinations, or conspiracy. In order to allow business to flow freely and healthy competition to exist, the Sherman Act outlawed unreasonable “restraint of trade,” such as the trust-related strategies employed by the Standard Oil Company toward the end of the 1870s. While enforcement of the Sherman Act today takes place primarily in civil courts, the law also stands as a criminal statute that can result in prison sentences of up to 10 years.