FTC Files Joint Amicus Brief in Matter of American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League; FTC Approves Final Consent Order in Matter of Whole Foods Market

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FTC Files Joint Amicus Brief in Matter of American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League

The Federal Trade Commission has joined the U.S. Department of Justice in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the matter of American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League, No. 08-661 (U.S. S. Ct.). The case involves allegations that the NFL’s exclusive licensing agreement restrained trade, in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, and unlawfully monopolized trade, in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act.

The joint amicus brief, which can be found on the FTC’s Web site and as a link to this press release, urges the Supreme Court to deny certiorari in this case, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld a district court’s summary judgment in favor of the NFL and its separately owned teams on the ground that they function as a “single entity” when licensing and marketing their logos and trademarks under an exclusive licensing agreement with Reebok International Ltd. The brief concludes that the case does not merit Supreme Court review because of an absence of a split among the courts of appeals and because it does not present an appropriate vehicle for ruling generally whether a sports league and its member teams should be deemed to function as “single entity.”

The vote approving joint filing of the amicus brief was 3-0, with Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch recused. It was filed on May 28, 2009. (FTC File No.P082105; the staff contact is John F. Daly, Office of General Counsel, 202-326-2244.)

FTC Approves Final Consent Order in Matter of Whole Foods Market

Following a public comment period, the Commission has approved a final consent order in the matter of Whole Foods Market and authorized the staff to send letters to the commenters of record. The vote approving the final order was 4-0. (FTC Docket No. D09324; the staff contact is Albert Y. Kim, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2952; see press release dated March 6, 2009, at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/03/wholefoods.shtm.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

(FYI 25.2009.wpd)

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