International Salt Co. v. United States
|International Salt Co. v. United States|
|Argued October 16, 1947
Decided November 10, 1947
|Full case name||International Salt Company, Incorporated v. United States|
|Citations||332 U.S. 392 (more)
68 S. Ct. 12; 92 L. Ed. 20; 1947 U.S. LEXIS 2979; 75 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 184
|Prior history||Appeal from the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York|
|The Court held that the Sherman Act prohibits as per se violations all tying arrangements in which a product for which a seller has a legal monopoly, such as a patent requires purchasers to also buy a product for which the seller has no legal monopoly.|
|Majority||Jackson, joined by Vinson, Douglas, Murphy, Rutledge (in full);
Frankfurter, Reed, Burton (in part)
|Concur/dissent||Frankfurter, joined by Reed, Burton|
|Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1|
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
International Salt Co. v. United States, 332 U.S. 392 (1947), was a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that the Sherman Act prohibits as per se violations all tying arrangements in which a product for which a seller has a legal monopoly, such as a patent, requires purchasers to also buy a product for which the seller has no legal monopoly.
The defendant International Salt Company had patented machines for processing salt and mixing or injecting it into various foodstuffs. The company required those who leased machines to also buy the salt or salt tablets processed through the machines from the defendant. The United States government brought a case charging the company of an antitrust violation through the tying of its products. The defendant replied to the charges with the contention that the tying arrangement was necessary to control the quality of salt being used in its machines, claiming that salt not meeting certain standards would damage the machines.
The Supreme Court was asked to determine whether such an arrangement was a per se violation of the antitrust laws.
Opinion of the Court
The Court held that this was a per se violation, announcing that it would be no defense to say that the associated product must meet certain standards because competitors must be given the opportunity to meet them. It was also no defense to say that customers could buy elsewhere if other vendors sold at lower prices, as the defendant could foreclose the market simply by meeting it.