UNITED STATES V. SINGER MFG. CO., 374 U. S. 174 (1963)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Singer Mfg. Co., 374 U.S. 174 (1963)

United States v. Singer Manufacturing Co.

No. 438

Argued April 25, 29, 1963

Decided June 17, 1963

374 U.S. 174


The United States sued to restrain appellee, the sole American manufacturer of household zigzag sewing machines, from conspiring with two of its competitors, an Italian manufacturer and a Swiss manufacturer, to restrain interstate and foreign trade in the importation, sale and distribution of such machines in this country. The evidence showed a course of dealings between these three manufacturers, including the cross-licensing of their patents on a nonexclusive, world-wide and royalty-free basis and ultimately the sale and assignment to appellee of an American patent owned by the Swiss manufacturer, in order that it could be enforced more effectively in the United States against Japanese manufacturers of such machines, who were underpricing appellee and the Italian and Swiss manufacturers. The District Court dismissed the complaint.

Held: on this record, there was a conspiracy to exclude Japanese competitors, in violation of § 1 of the Sherman Act, and the judgment is reversed. Pp. 374 U. S. 175-197.

(a) In concluding that no conspiracy was established on this record, the District Court applied the wrong standard as a matter of law. Pp. 374 U. S. 192-193.

(b) The course of dealings disclosed by this record shows that appellee and the Italian and Swiss manufacturers had a common purpose to suppress the competition of Japanese machines in the United States through the use of the patent which appellee obtained from the Swiss manufacturer and under which the Swiss and Italian manufacturers were the sole licensees. Implicit in such a course of dealings was a conspiracy which violated § 1 of the Sherman Act. Pp. 374 U. S. 192-196.

205 F.Supp. 394, reversed.

Page 374 U. S. 175

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