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Thursday, 17 June 2004

US ANTITRUST LIMITED

The US Supreme Court has put a limit on the reach of US antitrust law outside the US reports the New York Times. In an 8 to 0 decision, the court held that Sherman Antitrust Act only covers effects of behaviour that are felt abroad if the defendant’s behaviour that caused these effects took place in the US. The case clarifies that where the behaviour in question took place outside the US AND its effects are felt outside the US, the Sherman Act will not apply. This ruling was made in the context of a private lawsuit concerning alleged price-fixing by companies in Australia, Ecuador, Panama and Ukraine on behalf of purchasers of the products produced by those companies who were based outside the US.

The IPKat says that the possible extra-territorial reach of US antitrust law should be of interest to EU IPR holders, as well as those in the US so that they know if the way they use their rights are likely to offend against US antitrust law. This case though makes a conflict between IPR holders outside the US and US antitrust enforcement a little less likely.

Sherman Act here and here

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