You were part of the team that successfully defended Matsushita and JVC against allegations of a global conspiracy in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Zenith v. Matsushita. What was the central issue before the court in this case?
New York antitrust and sports law attorney Jeffrey Kessler of Winston & Strawn discusses Zenith v. Matsushita.
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This was a landmark case. It’s actually called Matsushita and most people know them as Panasonic that’s their brand name and that’s what the company’s called today. But this was a case where Zenith and another company called NUE sued the global electronics industry saying there had been a conspiracy to charge prices that were too low in the United States in order to take away business from Zenith and other competitors. And what the Supreme Court did in this decision is they looked at the evidence and said we’re not going to let this case go to a jury because the evidence really is just as consistent with the companies competing low prices — remember that’s what we want in competition we want low prices – as it was with any conspiracy. And Zenith was complaining not because it was a victim of a restriction of competition but because it couldn’t compete. And this became one of the most famous decisions on an antitrust for when should you grant what we call summary judgment to not let the case go to the jury because the evidence is not sufficient. And to this day, it is one of the main precedents in that area.