Supreme Court Technology Law Blog
Edited by Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M.
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This weblog was created to share ideas about the development of Computer Law and Cyberlaw issues that receive attention in federal court litigation, particularly those issues that reach the U.S. SUPREME COURT. This blog is edited by:
Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M.
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Admittedly, this case, Credit Suisse v. Billing, is barely, nominally, appropriately considered a case involving law and technology. It's a slow day...
Still, in Credit Suisse v. Billing, a group of investors filed suit against an investment bank alleging that the investment bank violated antitrust laws when it formed syndicates to help execute initial public offerings (IPOs) for several hundred technology-related companies.
The investors argued that the investment bank unlawfully agreed that they would not sell newly issued securities to a buyer unless the buyer committed (1) to buy additional shares of that security later at escalating prices (known as "laddering"), (2) to pay unusually high commissions on subsequent security purchases from the underwriters, or (3) to purchase from the underwriters other less desirable securities (known as "tying").
Apparently, to avoid the odd circumstances where evidence that shows unlawful antitrust activity may also be lawful securities marketing activity, the court's majority agreed that federal securities law impliedly precludes application of antitrust laws to the conduct in question.
Justice Thomas was the lone dissenter. Thomas concluded that the case against the investment bank should go forward because the Court did not have to resolve a purported conflict between antitrust law and securities law.
Justice Breyer authored the majority opinion (7-1; Kennedy took no part in deciding the case).