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Levin College of Law

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Upon Further Review: Will The NFL's Trademark Licensing Practices Survive Full Antitrust Scrutiny? The Remand of American Needle v. National Football League

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Marc Edelman, Barry Law School asks Upon Further Review: Will The NFL's Trademark Licensing Practices Survive Full Antitrust Scrutiny? The Remand of American Needle v. National Football League.

ABSTRACT: On May 24, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case American Needle v. Nat’l Football League that the National Football League’s trademark licensing practices are subject to review under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. This ruling reversed an earlier decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which had held that the National Football League’s trademark licensing practices are exempt from Section 1 scrutiny.

In light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in American Needle, this article explores whether the National Football League’s trademark licensing practices could survive a full antitrust review under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Part I of this article introduces both the National Football League's trademark licensing practices and Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Part II discusses the pleadings and preliminary arguments made by the parties in American Needle. Part III explains why the Supreme Court recently held that the National Football League’s trademark licensing practices are subject to a full antitrust review under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Part IV explores the steps that a district court should take to review the National Football League’s trademark licensing arrangement. Finally, Part V concludes that there is a small but reasonable chance that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois would find that the National Football League’s trademark licensing practices violate Section 1 of the Sherman Act.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/antitrustprof_blog/2011/03/upon-further-review-will-the-nfls-trademark-licensing-practices-survive-full-antitrust-scrutiny-the-.html

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