Illinois Tool Works Inc. v. Independent Ink, Inc.

Illinois Tool Works Inc. v. Independent Ink, Inc.
547 U.S. 28 (2006)

Overview: this case involves the application of U.S. Antitrust law to tying schemes and its application to patented products.
Procedural History and Facts: Independent Ink was a distributor of printer ink and other closely related products. Trident, a manufacturer of ink related products, used its own brand of ink in its printers to print bar codes on cardboard. When Trident licensed its printers to other companies, it strictly stated that the other companies must use Trident brand ink. It did not require users of the bar-code printers to refill the printers with Trident ink cartridges.
When Independent Ink sued Trident for patent infringement, Ink alleged that Trident used an illegal tying scheme when licensing its products – Ink claimed that this was a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
• This suit was thrown out of federal court in 2002, but on appeal, the Federal Circuit reversed summary judgment and granted in part certiorari.
• In the present case however, the Supreme Court overturned the court of appeals decision because the scheme was in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
• Summary Judgment was reinstated.

Reasoning: No presumption of market power under the Sherman Antitrust Act when the sale of a patented product is dependent upon the sale of a second product in a tying arrangement.

Holding: “A product involved in a tying arrangement is not presumed to have market power for purposes of establishing an antitrust violation by the mere fact that it is patented.

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