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A legal monopoly, statutory monopoly, or de jure monopoly' is a monopoly that is protected by law from competition. A statutory monopoly may take the form of a government monopoly where the state owns the particular means of production or government-granted monopoly where a private interest is protected from competition such as being granted exclusive rights to offer a particular service in a specific region while agreeing to have their policies and prices regulated. [339908] This type of monopoly is usually contrasted with de facto monopoly which is a broad category for monopolies that are not created by government.


In parts of the United Statesmarker, AT&T had a legal monopoly on the provision of local exchange service until 1984 when it was vertically divested. The divested local telephone companies continued to be protected in lesser degree from competition in the local exchange market as a public utility.

As do the Post Office departments in many countries, the United States Postal Service has a legal monopoly on delivery of non-overnight letters.

Telstra had a legal monopoly on telecommunications in Australia.

In many cities bus service enjoys a legal monopoly, however some city governments have legalized bus competition due to pressure from consumers who desire lower prices and entrepreneurs that would like to provide them.

Professional sports organizations such as Major League Baseball are not legally protected from new market entrants, but nonetheless are sometimes called legal monopolies on grounds that they are exempted from US antitrust law.

The Auditing profession is another example of a statutory monopoly within the UK.

The creation of Sirius XM Radio by merger left the United States with only one licensed satellite radio broadcasting company. However, the United States Department of Justicemarker decided that this was not harmful to competition, due to the presence of terrestrial broadcasters.

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