# 011249Joint Ventures and Brand Licensing following American Needle
Join four distinguished speakers for an engaging discussion of the recent landmark U.S. Supreme Court antitrust decision, American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League,
and its emerging implications for the antitrust analysis of both joint ventures and joint intellectual property licensing programs, and for sports antitrust issues generally. The panelists, a law professor and three top private practitioners with vibrant antitrust and intellectual property litigation and transactional practices, will provide insightful commentary regarding anticipated and actual results from the application of American Needle
to cooperative ventures, IP licensing enterprises, and branding efforts within the world of professional sports and beyond.
In American Needle, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the NFL's licensing program for individual football teams' intellectual property conducted through the NFL's joint licensing entity, NFL Properties, constituted concerted action that was not categorically beyond the coverage of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. The Supreme Court reversed the Seventh Circuit's ruling that the NFL acts as a single entity in licensing intellectual property and thus is immune from scrutiny under Section 1. The Supreme Court held that because each of the NFL teams is a substantial, independently owned, and independently managed business, the NFL and its teams do not possess either the unitary decision making quality or the single aggregation of economic power characteristic of independent action.
Nevertheless, the opinion leaves open a number of important issues such as when a "quick look" approach is warranted and the decision's application to other activities of professional sports teams. This significant decision not only affects professional sports leagues, but also potentially reaches a wide range of joint ventures involving potential competitors and associations that engage in cooperative activity but maintain individual identities within that framework.
Please note that this program will be offered as a live program as well as a webcast. If you prefer to attend the live webcast please register as a webcast attendee. If you register for the webcast option, you will receive an email with instructions along with a link to the webcast after your registration is complete.
The Section is pleased to offer an opportunity for attendees of this program to network professionally with Section members and law practitioners, from both sides of the bar, the bench, and the expert witness box. This gathering will be held just prior to the program, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the same site.