Threading The (American) Needle: U.S. Supreme Court Provides Further Guidance On When A Joint Venture Is Subject To The Antitrust Laws
May 28, 2010
In its May 25, 2010 decision in American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League, the Supreme Court held that the National Football League was not a "single entity" for antitrust purposes and the NFL’s termination of a licensing deal with American Needle in favor of an exclusive deal with Reebok was subject to scrutiny under the antitrust laws as concerted action. American Needle appears to have answered in the affirmative a question left unresolved in its 2006 Texaco Inc. v. Dagher decision – whether the decisions of a joint venture of competitors might be subject to scrutiny under the antitrust "rule of reason." In doing so, American Needle appears, as a practical matter, to have tightened the potential scrutiny that such ventures will face.