State-Action Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

State action doctrine refers to a principle of antitrust law that state mandated or directed restraints are exempted from antitrust liability. States are immune from federal antitrust law for their actions as sovereigns. For the doctrine to apply, the state must act as a sovereign, rather than as a "participant in a private agreement or combination by others for restraint of trade.” The standard was set in the case Parker v. Brown, 317 U.S. 341 (U.S. 1943), where the court found that the Sherman Act contained neither a hint nor a suggestion of any intention "to restrain state action or official action directed by a state."

State action doctrine is also known as Parker doctrine.