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Supreme Court of the United States
November 10, 1992, Argued ; January 25, 1993, Decided
[*448] [***252] [**886] JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion [****5] of the Court.
Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 26 Stat. 209, as amended, 15 U.S.C. § 2, makes it an offense for any person to "monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States. . . ." The [**887] jury in this case returned a verdict finding that petitioners had monopolized, attempted to monopolize, and/or conspired to monopolize. The District Court entered a judgment ruling [*449] that petitioners had violated § 2, and the Court of Appeals affirmed on the ground that petitioners had attempted to monopolize. The issue we have before us is whether the District Court and the Court of Appeals correctly defined the elements of that offense.
Sorbothane is a patented elastic polymer whose shockabsorbing characteristics make it useful in a variety of medical, athletic, and equestrian products. BTR, Inc. (BTR), owns the patent rights to sorbothane, and its wholly owned subsidiaries manufacture the product in the United States and Britain. Hamilton-Kent Manufacturing [****6] Company (Hamilton-Kent) and Sorbothane, Inc. (S. I.), were at all relevant times owned by BTR. S. I. was formed in 1982 to take over Hamilton-Kent's sorbothane business. 1 App. to Pet. for Cert. A3. Respondents [***253] Shirley and Larry McQuillan, doing business as Sorboturf Enterprises, were regional distributors of sorbothane products from 1981 to 1983. Petitioner Spectrum Sports, Inc. (Spectrum), was also a distributor of sorbothane products. Petitioner Kenneth B. Leighton, Jr., is a co-owner of Spectrum. Ibid. Kenneth Leighton, Jr., is the son of Kenneth Leighton, Sr., the president of Hamilton-Kent and S. I. at all relevant times.
In 1980, respondents Shirley and Larry McQuillan signed a letter of intent with Hamilton-Kent, which then owned all manufacturing and distribution rights to sorbothane. The letter of intent granted the McQuillans exclusive rights to purchase sorbothane for use in equestrian products. Respondents were designing [****7] a horseshoe pad using sorbothane.
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506 U.S. 447 *; 113 S. Ct. 884 **; 122 L. Ed. 2d 247 ***; 1993 U.S. LEXIS 1013 ****; 61 U.S.L.W. 4123; 1993-1 Trade Cas. (CCH) P70,096; 93 Cal. Daily Op. Service 529; 93 Daily Journal DAR 1069; 6 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 899
SPECTRUM SPORTS, INC., ET AL., PETITIONERS v. SHIRLEY McQUILLAN, ET VIR, DBA SORBOTURF ENTERPRISES
Prior History: [****1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.
Disposition: 907 F.2d 154, reversed and remanded.
monopolize, sorbothane, relevant market, probability, Sherman Act, attempt to monopolize, distributor, products, specific intent, equestrian, athletic, unfair, predatory conduct, violations, decisions, courts, cases
Antitrust & Trade Law, Intellectual Property, Bad Faith, Fraud & Nonuse, Fraud, Business & Corporate Compliance, Defenses, Inequitable Conduct, Anticompetitive Conduct, Regulated Practices, General Overview, Market Definition, Relevant Market, Monopolies & Monopolization, Actual Monopolization, Claims, Attempts to Monopolize, Patent Law, Burdens of Proof, Elements, Sherman Act, Sherman Act, Scope, Monopolization Offenses, Civil Procedure, Jury Trials, Jury Instructions