May 2006

Patents. I wrote an article under the above title [link] which was published in the Boston Business Journal on April 28, 2006.… Read the full article

Antitrust. While most people don’t know a lot about antitrust law, they do know that price fixing is illegal. And, if you asked them whether two large oil companies, such as Texaco and Shell, could form a joint company to sell oil throughout the western U.S. at a single price, they’d probably say that the “joint venture” was a technicality, and that it was no different than if Texaco and Shell got together and decided to sell gas at the same price individually.

Well, the Supreme Court would not agree. In Texaco v. Dagher [link] a case decided earlier this year, the operators of 23,000 service stations selling under the Texas or Shell brands of gasoline challenged the western states joint venture of the two giant oil companies for marketing gasoline, with the product still sold under both the Texaco and Shell brands but at the same price.

The Court held that such a joint venture is not “per se” illegal (illegal on its face and indefensible), because Texaco and Shell did not compete directly in the market, but participated jointly through their investment in the joint venture corporation.… Read the full article