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15 June 2004

Supreme Court Limits Overseas Scope of U.S. Antitrust Law
Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP

15 June 2004, Washington, D.C. - In an 8-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in an international price-fixing case that federal antitrust law does not apply to transactions causing independent foreign harm that alone gives rise to a plaintiff's claim.

Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP partner Stephen Shapiro argued the case, and partners Tyrone Fahner, Kenneth Geller, Andrew Marovitz, and Jeffrey Sarles also represented BASF Corporation in the case. The D.C. Circuit, in a divided opinion, previously had held that U.S. courts may adjudicate Sherman Act antitrust claims arising solely from the impact of anticompetitive conduct on foreign commerce.

The Supreme Court granted the certiorari petition filed by BASF Corporation and other vitamin manufacturers to decide whether foreign plaintiffs may bring a claim under the Sherman Act that arises solely from injury incurred in foreign commerce. With one Justice recused, the Court unanimously agreed with petitioners' arguments, holding that the Sherman Act is inapplicable to claims based on the effects of anticompetitive conduct on foreign plaintiffs that are independent of any adverse domestic effect. The Court explained that such suits were not authorized by Congress and would tend to undermine the competition laws of foreign sovereign countries.

(F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd. v. Empagran, S.A)

The Reach of U.S. Antitrust Law Overseas Is Limited
New York Times, June 15, 2004 (Registration Required)

Price-Fixing Suits Limited
Washington Post, June 15, 2004 (Registration Required)

High Court Limits Antitrust Scope
Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2004 (Subscription Required)

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