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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. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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