American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League et al.: Should the NFL Be Considered a Single Entity?

Adriana S. de Armas, Managing Editor For Tech. & Dev., Albany Government Law Review Member

            On January 13, 2010, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the American Needle v. National Football League case.[1]  The two questions presented to the Supreme Court were:[2]

(1) Are the NFL and its member teams a single entity that is exempt from rule of reason claims under [§ 1] of the Sherman Act[3] [hereinafter § 1] simply because they cooperate in the joint production of NFL football games, without regard to their competing economic interests, their ability to control their own economic decisions, or their ability to compete with each other and the league? 

(2) Is the agreement of the NFL teams among themselves and with Reebok International, pursuant to which the teams agreed not to compete with each other in the licensing and sale of consumer headwear and clothing decorated with the teams’ respective logos and trademarks, and not to permit any licenses to be granted to Reebok’s competitors for a period of ten years, subject to a rule of reason claim under [§ 1] of the Sherman Act, where the teams own and control the use of their separate logos and trademarks and, but for their agreement not to, could compete with each other in the licensing and sale of Team Products?[4]

Continue reading “American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League et al.: Should the NFL Be Considered a Single Entity?”

The Pro-IP Act of 2008

Daniel Wood, Staff Writer, DWood@albanylaw.edu     

     Earlier this month, President Bush signed into law a bill with incredibly broad implications for intellectual property.  The law, Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO-IP) Act of 2008, has been confused with a very similar bill by the same name, which began in the House.  To clarify the history of this new law, consider the following timeline of events:

  •  12/05/07 – H.R.4279, Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO-IP) Act of 2008 introduced in House by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI).1
  •  05/06/08 – H.R.4279 discussed on the floor of the House.2
  •  05/08/08 – H.R.4279 passed the House by a vote of 408-11.  (Roll no. 300)
  •  05/12/08 – H.R.4279 received in Senate, referred to Committee on the Judiciary.
  •  07/24/08 – S.3325, Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act (EIPRA) of 2008 introduced in Senate by Senator Leahy (D-VT).3
  •  09/11/08 – S.3325 approved by Senate Judiciary Committee by vote of 14-4.  Committee reported out the bill.4
  •  09/26/08 – S.3325 passed Senate by Unanimous Consent.5
  •  09/28/08 – S.3325 passed House by vote of 381 to 41.  (Roll no. 664)
  •  10/13/08 – S.3325 signed by President Bush.6 

     Sometime during its passage from the Senate, through the House, to the President, the bill’s short name changed from “Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act” to the short name of House bill H.R.4279, “Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act.”  As shown above, H.R.4279 passed the House more than two months before Senator Leahy introduced S.3325 to the Senate, as a different bill with a different name.  As S.3325 has now stolen both its name and its thunder, and as it has stagnated in the Senate Judiciary Committee since mid-May, we can safely presume that H.R.4279, the original PRO-IP Act, has died in committee. Continue reading “The Pro-IP Act of 2008”