restraint of trade
1 : an act, fact, or means of curbing the free flow of commerce or trade <covenant not to compete with an employer after leaving is in restraint of trade and must be reasonable to be enforced>
2 : an attempt or intent to eliminate or stifle competition, to effect a monopoly, to maintain prices artificially, or otherwise to hamper or obstruct the course of trade and commerce as it would be if left to the control of natural and economic forces <the Sherman Antitrust Act declared every contract, combination, and conspiracy in restraint of trade to be illegal>; also : the means (as a contract or combination) employed in such an endeavor — see also horizontal restraint, per se rule 2, rule of reason, vertical restraint, Sherman Antitrust Act
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