NFL case to be discussed at Indy Law

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A roundtable discussion about a U.S. Supreme Court case involving the issue of antitrust laws as applied to the National Football League will be at the Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis in November.

The question at hand in the case American Needle Inc. v. National Football League, et al., No. 08-661, is whether professional sports leagues should be regarded as single firms or a collection of competitors. The discussion will be at 6 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Wynne Courtroom at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis. The free event will count for one hour of CLE credit, pending approval.

The plaintiff is an Illinois-based licensee of intellectual property that manufactures and sells hats with team logos. After the NFL granted an exclusive license to Reebok following a competitive bid, the league effectively terminated American Needle's license. The company then sued the NFL, its member football teams, NFL Properties LLC, and Reebok International Ltd. In its claim, American Needle said the NFL was in violation of Section One of the Sherman Act, arguing there was a conspiracy among the teams to restrain trade.

Last August, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division's grant of summary judgment to the defendants. In its opinion, the 7th Circuit found the NFL was a single entity. "Simply put, nothing in Section 1 prohibits the NFL teams from cooperating so the league can compete against other entertainment providers. Indeed, antitrust law encourages cooperation inside a business organization - such as, in this case, a professional sports league - to foster competition between that organization and its competitors. ... Viewed in this light, the NFL teams are best described as a single source of economic power when promoting NFL football through licensing the teams' intellectual property, and we thus cannot say that the district court was wrong to so conclude," wrote Judge Michael S. Kanne.

I.U. Law - Indianapolis Dean Gary Roberts will take the position that the 7th Circuit was correct to treat the NFL as a single entity; professor Max Huffman will take the position that the 7th Circuit erred. Professor Antony Page will moderate. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case in December 2009 or January 2010; an opinion can be expected no later than June.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.