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Standard Oil Company (Indiana) v. United States

United States Supreme Court
283 U.S. 163 (1931)


Standard Oil Company and other oil companies (companies) (defendants) held competing patents for the petroleum cracking process. The companies entered into several cross-licensing agreements, pooling their patents and dividing royalties. The defendants collectively owned 55 percent of the total cracking capacity in the United States. Cracked gasoline comprised about 26 percent of the country’s overall gasoline production. The U.S. government (plaintiff) brought an antitrust suit against the companies, alleging a violation of the Sherman Act. The government claimed that the agreements improperly permitted the companies to maintain artificially high royalty rates. The district court found in favor of the government. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Brandeis, J.)

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