American Needle v. National Football League (single entity defense and joint ventures)

The American Antitrust Institute and the Consumer Federation of America filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to reverse a ruling by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that held the National Football League was a “single entity,” exempt from Section One of Sherman Act, in its marketing of team logos and trademarks. The brief maintains that the appeals court’s radical expansion of the Copperweld doctrine not only would immunize a swath of potentially anticompetitive conduct by professional sports leagues, but would thwart enforcement of the Sherman Act against unnecessary restraints on competition adopted by many kinds of joint ventures.

The brief was written AAI Director of Legal Advocacy Richard Brunell and Senior Fellow Stephen Ross (Penn State), with the assistance of Advisory Board members Dan Gustafson and Joe Goldberg, Summer Research Fellow Sandeep Vaheesan, and Research Fellows Patrick English and Theodore Flo.

See the the brief below.

Among other briefs filed in support of the petitioner were those submitted by: AAI Advisory Board Member Craig Corbitt for a group of 20 economists organized by AAI Senior Fellow Roger Noll (read brief below), AAI Advisory Board Members Joe Bruckner and Craig Wildfang on behalf of Merchant Trade Associations (read brief below), and AAI Advisory Board Member Barak Richman on behalf of the NFL Coaches Ass'n (read brief below).