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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Line Material Co., 333 U.S. 287 (1948)

United States v. Line Material Co.

No. 8

Argued April 29, 1947

Reargued November 12-13, 1947

Decided March 8, 1948

333 U.S. 287


1. Arrangements between two patentees for cross-licensing of their interdependent product patents, and for licensing exclusively by one of them of other manufacturers to make and vend under both patents, which arrangements, together with those entered into separately with other licensees, were intended to and did control the prices at which products embodying both patents were sold in interstate commerce by the patentees and all licensees, held violative of § 1 of the Sherman Act. Pp. 333 U. S. 288-299, 305-315.

(a) United States v. General Electric Co., 272 U. S. 476, distinguished. Pp. 333 U. S. 299-305, 333 U. S. 310-312.

(b) Such a price-fixing arrangement between two or more patentees transcends the limits of the patent monopoly granted to each of them, and it violates § 1 of the Sherman Act no matter how advantageous it may be to stimulate the broader use of the patents. Pp. 333 U. S. 310-313, 333 U. S. 314-315.

2. Licensees who, with knowledge of such arrangements, enter into licenses containing price maintenance provisions are likewise subject to the prohibitions of the Sherman Act. P. 333 U. S. 315.

64 F.Supp. 970, reversed.

The United States brought suit under § 4 of the Sherman Act to restrain an alleged violation of § 1 by the appellees. The District Court dismissed the complaint. 64 F.Supp. 970. The United States appealed directly to this Court under the Expediting Act. Reversed and remanded, p. 315.

Page 333 U. S. 288

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