130 S.Ct. 2201 (2010)
The teams formed the licensor to license their intellectual property. The licensee alleged that the agreements among respondents violated § 1. The district court and the Seventh Circuit found that § 1 did not apply because the league, the teams, and the licensor acted as a single entity with regard to the licensing of intellectual property.
- The Supreme Court held that the licensing activities constituted concerted action that was not categorically beyond the coverage of § 1, and the legality of that action had to be judged under the rule of reason.
- The relevant inquiry was whether there was a "contract, combination, or conspiracy" among separate economic actors pursuing separate economic interests.
- If an agreement joined together independent centers of decision making, the entities were capable of conspiring under § 1.
- The teams competed in the market for intellectual property, and decisions to collectively license their separately owned trademarks deprived the marketplace of independent centers of decision making.
- The licensor's decisions constituted concerted action, as the licensor acted as an instrumentality of the teams in making licensing decisions.
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