The Sherman Act Applied

Article written by A Tech Inc

In the 90s, there was a case of antitrust that presented an interesting debate. A company called Spectrum Sports was in dispute with a particular distributor over parts that were manufactured. Spectrum Sports held the patent over a particular polymer used to create sporting goods, which  Sorboturf Enterprises sought to use.

Sorboturf held rights to produce the goods, and didn’t want to relinquish without a fight. They claimed that by taking their business elsewhere, Spectrum Sports was in effect going for a monopoly on production of those athletic goods.

The trial court agreed with that assertion, finding that Spectrum Sports had attempted monopolization. This was despite the defense claiming reversal, which asked for specific intent to monopolize.

The Supreme Court oversaw the appeal and reversed the decision of the trial court. The justices stated that every other example of monopolization had required a clear and distinct example of the threat to monopolize.

Sorboturf failed to prove any kind of collusion or conspiracy. Its interpretation of the Sherman Act is important, because it recognized the lack of specific definitions within the act. The intentionally vague language of the bill enabled justices to examine cases for merit to apply the law.

In other words, if the act itself is to cause monopoly then no harm no foul. It’s when a company or individual acts in such a way as to preserve a monopoly, or to create less favorable circumstances for competition, that the Sherman Act is truly violated. This decision also made it possible for courts to consider a particular market when making a decision, which was important when reviewing matters related to the economy.

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