July 07, 2010
On May 24, 2010, the Supreme Court announced its decision in American Needle v. NFL. The question in this case was whether the formation of National Football League Properties (NFLP) by the 32 NFL teams and its activities in licensing their team logos collectively and the like was a contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade such that it would fall within the scope of §1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
In an unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Stevens, the Court held the teams' own concerted trademark licensing activities, as well as those that the teams conducted by and through the NFLP, were not categorically beyond the Sherman Antitrust Act's coverage, but should instead be evaluated for legality under the rule of reason.
To discuss the case, we have Willamette University College of Law Professor Jeffrey Standen.