Competition and US Antitrust Law

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INTRODUCTION The boundaries of a business conduct that can be defined as anticompetitive and exclusionary is still one of the most debated issues in the United States Antitrust Law (hereinafter US Antitrust Law) today. The business conducts that intends to decrease the competition in the relevent market is widely considered as violation under the Sherman Antirust Act dated 1890 (hereinafter Sherman Act), which aims to prevent the trusts and monopolization. As mentioned above by way of protecting the competition, Sherman Act foresees some provisions where it prohibits the contracts, combinations or conspiracies that are to preclude competition and harm other competitiors.

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Therefore these forms shall be illegal under Sherman Act to the extent they limit the commerce(KUSSE, 1984).[1] Under the US Antitrust Case Law and also by many leading scholars, it is widely accepted that a company is free to refuse to deal with a competitor if this behavior is not an attempt to monopolize the market. This paper will mainly focus on this assumption in light of the present US Law. In particular, in general, the Colgate doctrine revelaed that a competitor has the right to refuse to deal with a rival and if a monopoly power firm is not intended to create monopolization, the Sherman Act does not restrict the monopolist to freely choose the person/rival to deal. [2] When considering the Colgate doctine as starting point, this essay will argue the well known Aspen Case, in order to examine to what extent monopolists have an affirmative duty to deal with a rival. The limits of this right were drawn later by other US Supreme Court decision by considering the essetial facilities doctrine. Aspen is one of these cases where the Supreme Court concluded that the competitors right to refuse to deal with a rival competitior is not unquantified however the Court did not adopted the essential facilities doctrine. Therefore this doctrine will not be the subject of this paper instead it will be referred slightly when necessary. The facts of the Aspen case will be analyzed below further however just to give an overview it is noteworthy to mention beforehand that the dispute arose between two ski resort companies namely; Aspen Skiin and Aspen Highlands, which for many years contributed to a joint marketing of a ticket to the skiers which gives access to eachothers mountains.[3] However Aspen Skiing discontinued its participation in this joint ticket program with Aspen Highlands. In Aspen Case, the Supreme Court concluded that since the defendant monopolist could not prove the justification to its refusal to cooperate to market a joint ski lift ticket that it formerly supplied to the Claimant was to obtain or at least was to cause monopoly violates Section 2 of the Sherman Act.[4]

  1. RELEVANT FACTS OF THE CASE

Aspen Case between two ski resort companies in Aspen,

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