The Practical Litigator
“New Challenges Of Proving ‘Market Power’ In Patent Tying Cases”
To maximize the profits from a successful business, some manufacturers of successful patented goods attempt to require customers to purchase related but unpatented goods, services, or replacement parts from that manufacturer. In other situations, a manufacturer of patented equipment might require purchasers or lessees to also purchase the manufacturer’s maintenance and repair services and parts, and will not provide replacement parts to independent service providers.
Under some circumstances, such requirements by the seller may violate the federal antitrust laws that prohibit illegal tying arrangements. The recent Supreme Court decision in Illinois Tool Works v. Independent Ink, 126 S.Ct. 1281 (2006), has clarified the burdens of proof in the trial of such cases.