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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. International Harvester Co., 274 U.S. 693 (1927)

United States v. International Harvester Company

No. 254

Argued October 26, 1926

Decided June 6, 1927

274 U.S. 693


1. In a suit under the Anti-Trust Act against a corporation which had combined others engaged separately in interstate trade in harvesting machines, a consent decree was entered requiring the defendant to limit its sales agencies and dispose of some of its lines to independent manufacturers, the decree declaring that the object to be attained under its terms was to restore competitive conditions, and providing that, in the event that such conditions should not have been established at the expiration of a specified period, the United States should have the right to such further relief in the case as should be necessary to restore them and to bring about a situation in harmony with law. The requirements having been complied with and lawful competitive conditions established,

Held that to construe the decree as nevertheless entitling the United States to further relief by division of the defendant into separate and distinct corporations for the purpose of restoring the competitive conditions that existed sixteen years before the entry of the consent decree would be repugnant to the agreement embodied in the decree, which had become binding on all parties, and upon which the defendant was entitled to rely. P. 274 U. S. 702.

2. Statements in a report of the Federal Trade Commission to the Senate based upon an ex parte investigation are not in themselves substantive evidence in a subsequent suit by the government under the Anti-Trust Act. P. 274 U. S. 703.

3. From the evidence, the Court finds that competitive condition in the trade in harvesting machines have been established in compliance with the consent decree herein. P. 274 U. S. 704.

4. The law does not make the mere size of a corporation, or the existence of unexerted power on its part, an offense, when unaccompanied by unlawful conduct in the exercise of its power. P. 274 U. S. 708.

5. The fact that competitors may see proper, in the exercise of their own judgment, to follow the prices of another manufacturer does not establish any suppression of competition or show any sinister domination. P. 274 U. S. 708.

10 F.2d 827 affirmed.

Page 274 U. S. 694

Appeal from a decree of the district court dismissing a supplemental petition of the United States for relief in addition to that granted by an earlier decree in a suit under the Anti-Trust Act. See 214 Fed. 987.

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