Menasha Corp. v. News America Marketing In-Store

354 F.3d 661 (2004)

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Menasha Corp. v. News America Marketing In-Store

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
354 F.3d 661 (2004)

  • Written by Heather Whittemore, JD

Facts

In 1991 ActMedia introduced at-shelf coupon dispensers, which were placed in supermarkets and distributed coupons for products on nearby shelves. These dispensers made coupons available to all customers shopping in stores, unlike traditional coupons that customers had to collect and bring with them. ActMedia was paid by manufacturers to distribute coupons for their products, and it paid retailers a portion of that fee to place their dispensers on the retailers’ shelves. ActMedia also entered into exclusive-dealing arrangements with retailers, under which the retailers agreed to not allow other coupon-dispensing companies to place dispensers for rival products on nearby shelves. In return, ActMedia paid the retailers a larger share of the fee paid by the manufacturers. In 1997 News America Marketing In-Store (News America) (defendant) acquired ActMedia and adopted ActMedia’s exclusive-dealing arrangements. After the acquisition, News America owned more than half of all at-shelf coupon dispensers. Menasha Corp. (plaintiff) was a rival company that also used at-shelf coupon dispensers. Menasha did not enter into exclusive-dealing arrangements with any retailers. Menasha sued News America in federal district court, alleging that News America’s exclusive-dealing arrangements violated federal antitrust laws by excluding competition. To support its case, Menasha argued that at-shelf coupon dispensers were a discrete economic market in which News America had market power. News America opposed the motion, arguing that the relevant economic market was the market for all coupons, including coupons distributed by at-shelf coupon dispensers, coupons on product packaging, and coupons distributed by mail and newspaper. The district court granted summary judgment for News America, holding that News America did not have market power in the coupon market. Menasha appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Easterbrook, J.)

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