quoted Washington, D.C., partner
Jonathan Lewis in a July 12 analysis of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Ohio v. American Express Co. that held that anti-steering
provisions in American Express’ merchant contracts don’t violate federal
In the closely watched case, many antitrust experts expected the Supreme
Court to offer guidance on the application of “rule of reason” analysis to
so-called “vertical restraints” — restrictions in agreements between firms
at different levels of the production and distribution. But the court may
have instead narrowed the path forward for plaintiffs seeking to challenge
such restraints. As Lewis put it, the Supreme Court’s ruling is “another
arrow in the quiver for defendants” and it “bolster[s] the whole idea that
you need to define markets.”
“The broader application of this for rule of reason analysis is clearly
there, and it's something that plaintiffs and defendants will be arguing
about as time goes on,” he said.
Lewis is a member of Law360’s
Competition Editorial Advisory Board.