Monday, May 24, 2010

Court Commentary: American Needle v. NFL pt. 2

A while back, I mentioned a case, American Needle v. NFL, about whether the NFL constitutes a "trust" if it pools all of the NFL merchandising power together. The issue came down to whether the NFL is its own entity, or whether it is a trust composed of the 32 NFL teams. I also personally wondered, esoterically, whether "Football Merchandise" is considered distinct enough of a market, as opposed to being only one aspect of "Sports Merchandise," but that wasn't the issue before the court.

Although I've rarely been on the same side of issues as the current court (in Comstock I found myself in the same minority as Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia), it was comforting to see that in a 9-0 ruling, the NFL was found to be a trust, and therefore may face legal penalties for restraint of trade.

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