namely: that he accept certain territory 'three counties more' than he was handling at the time, which does not seem an unreasonable restraint of trade; that he paint his trucks the color specified by the bottler; and that he handle all the bottled products of The Cloverdale Spring Company only, one of which was Pepsi-Cola. This was no restriction upon free competition, because it left the rivals of The Cloverdale Spring Company free to sell their competing commodities at any price they elected to charge for them. It would have been no violation of the law under consideration if The Cloverdale Spring Company and Pepsi-Cola Company had combined to refuse to sell any of their commodities at any price, and to retire entirely from the business in which they were engaged.
In Whitwell v. Continental Tobacco Co., supra, the Tobacco Company and its employee sold its product to customers who refrained from dealing in the goods of its competitors at prices which rendered such purchases profitable. To those who did not refrain from doing so, however, the company fixed the prices of its goods so high that their purchase was unprofitable. The court held that the restriction of their own trade in this manner by the defendants to those purchasers who declined to deal in the goods of their competitors was not violative of the Anti-Trust Act.
There is no restriction upon competition here, because this refusal on the part of The Cloverdale Spring Company to sell to the plaintiff left the rivals of The Cloverdale Spring Company free to sell their competing commodities to all other purchasers than those who bought of The Cloverdale Spring Company and free to compete for sales to the customers of The Cloverdale Spring Company by offering to them goods at lower prices or on even better terms than they secured from The Cloverdale Spring Company.
Nor did defendants violate Section 2 of the Anti-Trust Act, 15 U.S.C.A. § 2. The Supreme Court has declared that the Act must have a reasonable construction. Hopkins v. United States, 171 U.S. 578, 600, 19 S. Ct. 40, 43 L. Ed. 290; United States v. Joint Traffic Ass'n, 171 U.S. 505, 19 S. Ct. 25, 43 L. Ed. 259. The purpose of the second section is the same as that of the first -- to prevent the restriction of competition -- and the two sections ought to receive similar interpretations. The Supreme Court has declared that to be brought within the Act the 'conspiracy's' necessary effect must be to restrict directly and substantially competition in commerce among the states. Similarly to show monopoly a direct and substantial restriction on commerce among the states must be shown. Such restriction has not been shown here. 'An attempt to monopolize a part of interstate commerce which promotes, or but indirectly or incidentally restricts, competition therein, while its main purpose and chief effect are to increase the trade and foster the business of those who make it, was not intended to be made, and was not made, illegal by the second section of the act under consideration, because such attempts are indispensable to the existence of any competition in commerce among the states.' Whitwell v. Continental Tobacco Co., supra.
My conclusion is that there was not an unreasonable restraint of interstate commerce proven, nor can it be inferred from the evidence, and this action should be dismissed.
Conclusions of Law.
1. Restraints, actual or intended, prohibited by the Sherman Act, are only those which are so substantial as to affect market prices.
2. Restraints on competition or on the course of trade in the merchandising of articles moving in interstate commerce is not enough unless the restraint is shown to have, or is intended to have, an effect upon prices in the market, or otherwise to deprive purchasers or consumers of the advantages which they derive from free competition.
3. Plaintiff has failed to sustain his burden of proof that defendants' actions were in restraint of interstate trade or effected a monopoly which was in restraint of trade.
4. The motion to dismiss the action must be granted.
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