Standard Sanitary Mfg. Co. v. United States - 226 U.S. 20 (1912)
U.S. Supreme Court
Standard Sanitary Mfg. Co. v. United States, 226 U.S. 20 (1912)
Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company v. United States
Argued October 15, 16, 17, 1912
Decided November 18, 1912
226 U.S. 20
A trade agreement under which manufacturers, who prior thereto were independent and competitive, combined and subjected themselves to certain rules and regulations, among others, limiting output and sales of their product and quantity, vendees, and price, held in this case to he illegal under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of July 2, 1890. Montague v. Lowry, 193 U. S. 38.
A trade agreement involving the right of all parties thereto to use a
certain patent, which transcends what is necessary to protect the
use of the patent or the monopoly thereof as conferred by law and controls the output and price of goods manufactured by all those using the patent, is illegal under the Anti-Trust Act of 1890. Bement v. National Harrow Co., 186 U. S. 70, and Henry v. A. B. Dick Co., 224 U. S. 1, distinguished.
While rights conferred by patents are definite and extensive, they do not give a universal license against positive prohibitions any more than any other rights do.
The Sherman Anti-Trust Act is a limitation of rights which may be pushed to evil consequences, and should therefore be restrained.
The character of the Sherman Act is sufficiently comprehensive and thorough to prevent evasions of its policy by disguise or subterfuge.
The Sherman Act is its own measure of right and wrong; courts cannot declare an agreement which is against its policy legal because of the good intentions of the parties making it.
A party to an agreement in restraint of trade is nonetheless a party to the illegal combination created thereby because it is not subject to all the restrictions imposed upon all the other parties thereto.
A corporation having a manufactory in one state and warehouses in several other states held to he engaged in interstate commerce under the circumstances of this case.
Quaere whether one of the individual defendants in an equity case brought by the government to dissolve an illegal combination under the Sherman Act, called as a witness by one of the other defendants in the same suit, obtains immunity from criminal prosecution as to the matters testified to.
There is no rule that civil suits brought under the Sherman Act to dissolve the combination must await the trial of criminal actions against the same defendants, and whether the trial of the civil action shall be delayed because some of the defendants refuse to testify as witnesses for other defendants is a matter in the discretion of the trial court, and in the absence of abuse, not reviewable.
191 F. 172 affirmed.
The facts, which involve the legality under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of July 2, 1890, 26 Stat. 209, c. 647, of a combination of manufacturers, are stated in the opinion.