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U.S. Supreme Court

Timken Roller Bearing Co. v. United States, 341 U.S. 593 (1951)

Timken Roller Bearing Co. v. United States

No. 352

Argued April 24, 1951

Decided June 4, 1951

341 U.S. 593


In a civil action brought by the United States against appellant, a domestic corporation, to enjoin alleged violations of the Sherman Act, the complaint charged that appellant had combined and conspired with a British corporation and a French corporation, in each of which it had a financial interest, to restrain interstate and foreign commerce in the manufacture and sale of antifriction bearings. The District Court found that, under agreements between them the corporations had allocated trade territories among themselves; fixed prices on products of one sold in the territory of the others; cooperated to protect each other's markets and to eliminate outside competition, and participated in cartels to restrict imports to, and exports from, the United States. The court concluded that appellant had violated the Sherman Act as charged, and entered a comprehensive decree designed to bar future violations.


1. The District Court's material findings of fact are not "clearly erroneous," and are accepted here. Fed.Rules Civ.Proc., 52(a). Pp. 341 U. S. 596-597.

2. The opinion of the District Court sufficiently complies with the requirements of Rule 52(a) relative to findings of fact and conclusions of law. P. 597, n 7.

3. Agreements between legally separate persons and companies to suppress competition among themselves cannot be justified by characterizing the project as a "joint venture." Pp. 341 U. S. 597-598.

(a) Agreements providing for an aggregation of trade restraints such as those existing in this case are prohibited by the Act, whether or not incidental to a "joint venture." P. 341 U. S. 598.

(b) Common ownership or control of the contracting corporations does not liberate them from the impact of the antitrust laws. P. 341 U. S. 598.

4. Nor can the restraints be justified as reasonable steps taken to implement a valid trademark licensing system, since the trademark provisions of the agreements were secondary to the central purpose of allocating trade territory, and since the agreements provided

Page 341 U. S. 594

for control of the manufacture and sale of antifriction bearings, whether carrying the trademark or not. Pp. 341 U. S. 598-599.

(a) A trademark cannot lawfully be used as a device for violating the Sherman Act, and its use therefor is penalized by the Trade Mark Act of 1946. P. 341 U. S. 599.

5. The suggestion that what appellant has done is reasonable in view of current foreign trade conditions, and that therefore the Sherman Act should not he enforced in this case, is rejected. P. 341 U. S. 599.

6. The decree of the District Court properly enjoined continuation or repetition of the conduct which it found to be illegal. P. 341 U. S. 600.

7. The relief which a district court may grant in a Sherman Act ease need not be confined to the narrow limits of the proven violation. P. 341 U. S. 600.

8. The District Court should not have ordered appellant to divest itself of its stockholdings and all other financial interests in the British and French corporations, and the decree is modified so as to eliminate provisions directed to that end. Pp. 341 U. S. 600-601.

83 F.Supp. 284 modified and affirmed.

In a civil action brought by the United States against appellant, to restrain alleged violations of the Sherman Act, the District Court found that appellant had violated the Act, and a decree of injunction was entered. 83 F.Supp. 284. On direct appeal to this Court, the decree is modified and, as modified, affirmed, p. 341 U. S. 601.

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