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Supreme Court Brings Back Old Memories for NCAA


NEW YORK, June 8, 2010 -- In a recent guest column for College Athletics, Baker Botts L.L.P. lawyer Jeffrey Sullivan reviewed the impact a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling concerning NFL licensed products might have on NCAA licensed merchandise.

In the article, Sullivan noted that the May 24, 2010, Court decision held that the NFL and its 32 teams are not a “single entity” with respect to the collective licensing of their intellectual property and are thus capable of engaging in a “contract, combination…or conspiracy, in restraint of trade” under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, the principal American antitrust statute. American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League et al., No. 08-661 (U.S. 5-24-10).

In its Opinion, Sullivan noted, “the Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s order summarily dismissing an action against the NFL alleging that the NFL’s licensing and merchandising activities constitute illegal restraint of trade under the Sherman Act’s so-called Rule of Reason analysis.”

But what effect, if any, does this have on the NCAA and its liability to enter licensing and marketing agreements without additional vulnerability under the Sherman Act? The answer is probably none.

The complete article is available here.

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