Besser Mfg. Co. v. United States
343 U.S. 444 (1952)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Besser Mfg. Co. v. United States, 343 U.S. 444 (1952)

Besser Manufacturing Co. v. United States

No. 230

Argued April 21, 1952

Decided May 26, 1952

343 U.S. 444

Syllabus

1. In this civil action brought by the United States to enjoin violations of the Sherman Act, the conclusions of the trial judge that appellants conspired to restrain and monopolize interstate commerce in machinery for making concrete blocks, and that they monopolized and attempted to monopolize that industry, are overwhelmingly supported by the evidence. Pp. 343 U. S. 445-447.

2. This Court sustains provisions of the decree requiring appellants to issue patent licenses on a fair royalty basis and to grant to the existing lessees of their machines an option, on terms "mutually satisfactory to the parties concerned," (1) to terminate their lease, (2) to continue their lease, or (3) to purchase leased machines. P. 343 U. S. 447.

3. Pursuant to a provision of the decree for fixing reasonable royalty rates under appellants' patent licenses, a committee consisting of two persons selected by appellants and two by the Government was appointed, and, on the basis of the evidence adduced before the committee, the trial judge resolved a deadlock which developed.

Held: the procedure was fair and reasonable, and did not deprive appellants of their property without due process of law. Pp. 343 U. S. 447-449.

(a) In the absence of glaring error, this Court does not pass upon the question of the sufficiency of the evidentiary material considered in arriving at the royalties finally established. P. 343 U. S. 448.

(b) It was not incumbent upon the trial judge to have a full hearing of the royalty matters himself or to refer them to a master for such a hearing. Pp. 343 U. S. 448-449.

(c) In framing relief in antitrust cases, a range of discretion rests with the trial judge, and there was no abuse of discretion shown here. P. 343 U. S. 449.

4. The Government's suggestion that this Court consider the royalty-setting procedure outlined by it in the trial court, and direct that

Page 343 U. S. 445

it be utilized hereafter in the proceedings in this case, cannot be accepted, since the framing of the decree is properly a function of the trial court, rather than the appellate court. P. 343 U. S. 449-450.

96 F.Supp. 304, affirmed.

In a civil action brought by the United States under § 4 of the Sherman Act to enjoin alleged violations of §§ 1 and 2, the District Court entered judgment against appellants and others. 96 F.Supp. 304. Appellants appealed directly to this Court under the Expediting Act. Affirmed, p. 343 U. S. 450.

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