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U.S. Supreme Court

International Salt Co., Inc. v. United States, 332 U.S. 392 (1947)

International Salt Co., Inc. v. United States

No. 46

Argued October 16, 1947

Decided November 10, 1947

332 U.S. 392


1. It is violative per se of § 1 of the Sherman Act and § 3 of the Clayton Act for a corporation engaged in interstate commerce in salt, of which it is the country's largest producer for industrial uses, and which also owns patents on machines for utilization of salt products, to require lessees of such machines to use only the corporation's unpatented products in them. Pp. 332 U. S. 394-396.

2. The defendant in a civil action to enjoin violations of § 1 of the Sherman Act and § 3 of the Clayton Act having admitted practices which were unlawful and unreasonable per se, the District Court was justified in granting summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. P. 332 U. S. 396.

3. Agreements which "tend to create a monopoly" being forbidden, it is immaterial that the tendency is a creeping one, rather than one that proceeds at full gallop; nor does the law await arrival at the goal before condemning the direction of the movement. P. 332 U. S. 396.

4. A requirement in a lease of patented machines that the lessee use only the lessor's unpatented products in them is not saved from unreasonableness and from the tendency to monopoly by provisions entitling the lessee to the benefit of any general price reduction in the lessor's products and permitting the lessee to purchase the products in the open market if the lessor fails to furnish them at a price equal to the lowest price offered by any competitor. Pp. 332 U. S. 396-397.

5. Rules for use of leased machinery must not be disguised restraints of free competition, though they may set reasonable standards which all suppliers must meet. Pp. 332 U. S. 397-398.

6. The fact that they have not been included in all leases and have not always been enforced when included does not justify the general use of clauses requiring lessees of patented machines to use the lessor's unpatented products therein. P. 332 U. S. 398.

7. In enjoining the practice of leasing patented machines on condition that the lessees would use only the lessor's unpatented products

Page 332 U. S. 393

in them, it was not improper for the District Court to include a requirement that such machines be leased, sold, or licensed to all applicants on nondiscriminatory terms and conditions -- especially where the Court retained jurisdiction to consider applications for the amendment, modification or termination of any provision of the decree. Pp. 332 U. S. 398-402.

6 F.R.D. 302 affirmed.

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