Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

UNITED STATES v. GE

January 19, 1949

UNITED STATES
v.
GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: FORMAN

The Pleadings

Pursuant to Sec. 4 *fn1" of the Sherman Act, Sec. 15 *fn2" of the Clayton Act and Sec. 74 *fn3" of the Wilson Tariff Act, the plaintiff, the United States of America, filed a complaint to prevent and restrain alleged continuing violations of Secs. 1 *fn4" and 2 *fn5" of the Sherman Act, Sec. 3 *fn6" of the Clayton Act and Sec. 73 *fn7" of the Wilson Tariff Act respectively. It named the following defendants'

 1. General Electric Company, described as a New York corporation, having lamp plants, in Ohio, New Jersey, Missouri, Massachusetts, New York and California, with together with its subsidiaries is engaged principally in production and distribution of incandescent electric lamps, electrical appliances and other electrical products, and is the largest producer of glass bulbs, lamp bases, and incandescent electric lamps in the United States and in the world.

 2. International General Electric Company, Inc., a New York corporation whose outstanding capital stock is entirely owned by General Electric Company. It is described as a large distributor in and to foreign countries of American produced incandescent electric lamps, electrical appliances and other forms of electrical products.

 3. Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company, *fn8" a Pennsylvania corporation with its principal office in New York City and its lamp plants in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It is described as the second largest manufacturer and distributor of incandescent electric lamps in the United States. Together with its subsidiaries it manufactures and distributes a full line of electrical applicances and other electrical products, some of which are competitive with similar products produced by defendant General Electric and its subsidiaries.

 4. Corning Glass Works, *fn9" a New York corporation which together with its subsidiaries is described as the largest manufacturer and distributor of specialty glass products in the United States. It is principally engaged in the production and distribution of glass bulbs, tubing and cane, signal and optical ware, heat resisting ware, and other forms of specialty ware.

 5. American Blank Company, *fn10" a corporation of the State of Maine, described as a patent holding company for defendants, General Electric and Corning. It is said to be wholly owned by defendant Corning, or Corning subsidiary, Empire Machine Company.

 6. Empire Machine Company, *fn10" a corporation of the State of Maine, described as a patent holding company for the defendant Corning, 90% of the stock of which is owned by the stockholders of Corning.

 7. N. V. Philips' Gloeilampenfabrieken, a limited company of Holland. It is described as having been engaged for many years in the business of manufacturing, among other things, glass bulbs, tubing and cane at several of its plants including those in Holland and distributing and selling such products throughout the world, including importations into the United States. (Jurisdiction over Philips was obtained by service on its officers who had taken refuge in this country to escape Nazi domination.)

 8. Consolidated Electric Lamp Company, a Massachusetts corporation licensed by defendant General Electric to produce and distribute large type incandescent electric lamps in the United States.

 9. Hygrade Sylvania Corporation, a Massachusetts corporation described as being licensed by General Electric to produce and distribute large type incandescent electric lamps in the United States.

 10. Ken-Rad Tube and Lamp Corporation, *fn11" a corporation of Delaware described as licensed by General Electric to produce and distribute large type incandescent electric lamps in the United States.

 11. Chicago Miniature Lamp Works, a corporation of Illinois licensed by General Electric to produce and distribute miniature incandescent electric lamps in the United States.

 12. Tung-Sol Lamp Works Incorporated, a corporation of Delaware described as being licensed by General Electric to produce and distribute miniature type incandescent electric lamps in the United States.

 For brevity the plaintiff will be usually referred to herein as the Government and the defendants' corporate titles will generally be shortened to the following:

 General Electric Company -- General Electric or GE

 International General Electric Company, Incorporated -- International General Electric or IGE

 Westinghouse Electric & Mfg. Co. -- Westinghouse

 Corning Glass Works -- Corning

 American Blank Company -- American Blank

 Empire Machine Company -- Empire

 N. V. Philips' Gloeilampenfabrieken -- Philips

 Consolidated Electric Lamp Company -- Consolidated

 Hygrade Sylvania Corporation -- Sylvania

 Ken-Rad Tube and Lamp Corporation -- Kenrad

 Chicago Miniature Lamp Works -- Chicago Miniatures

 Tung-Sol Lamp Works Incorporated -- Tungsol

 In paragraphs 17 to 83, inclusive, of the complaint, the Government described the history of the incandescent electric light lamp industry and its technical development. It outlined the business organization of the industry during the periods from 1879 to 1896; 1896 to 1911; and 1911 to 1926. In the earliest period General Electric succeeded to the interests of practically all of the companies engaged in the manufacture of incandescent electric light lamps with the exception of Westinghouse. General Electric had acquired the 'Edison' patents controlling the carbon filament lamp. These, however, were about to expire in 1896.

 During the period from 1896 to 1911 a patent agreement was executed between General Electric and Westinghouse and an association of lamp manufacturers was organized. In 1911 a suit was instituted charging General Electric, Westinghouse and a number of other companies with violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and a consent decree was entered in the suit.

 The period from 1911 to 1926 was characterized by the acquisition by General Electric of the controlling patents on the tungsten filament incandescent electric light lamps and the licensing of Westinghouse and other lamp manufacturers under these patents. In 1924 the Government filed a petition against General Electric, Westinghouse and Westinghouse Lamp Company charging that the agency system of lamp marketing employed by the companies and the license agreement between General Electric and Westinghouse were illegal and in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The case was tried in 1925 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, and the petition was dismissed, 15 F.2d 715. The decision was appealed to the United States Supreme Court which, in 1926, affirmed the District Court, 272 U.S. 476, 47 S. Ct. 192, 71 L. Ed. 362.

 In paragraph 84 of the complaint the Government charged that since 1927 each of the defendants unlawfully conspired to monopolize, attempted to monopolize, and unlawfully contracted, combined and conspired to restrain trade or commerce among the several states, or with foreign nations, in the incandescent electric light lamp industry and more particularly by unlawfully and in violation of Sec. 1 and Sec. 2 of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

 '(a) Acquiring and maintaining monopolies of (1) patents relating to incandescent electric lamps, (2) patents relating to glass bulbs, tubing and cane, (3) the manufacture and distribution of machinery for the production of glass bulbs, tubing and case, (4) the manufacture, distribution and sale of glass bulbs, tubing and cane, (5) the manufacture, distribution, and sale of incandescent electric lamp bases, (6) the manufacture, distribution, and sale of incandescent electric lamps;

 '(b) agreeing to restrain and by restraining interstate and foreign trade and commerce in incandescent electric lamps and machinery for the production of incandescent electric lamps;

 '(c) agreeing to restrain and by restraining interstate and foreign trade and commerce in glass bulbs, tubing and cane and in machinery for the production of glass bulbs, tubing and cane; '(c) (sic) agreeing to restrain and by restraining interstate and foreign trade and commerce in incandescent electric lamp bases and in machinery for the production of incandescent electric lamp bases;

 '(e) agreeing to restrain and by restraining interstate trade and commerce in argon gas; and

 '(f) agreeing to maintain and maintaining uniform prices in the distribution and sale of incandescent electric lamps in the United States.'

 In paragraph 85 the Government charged that since 1927 General Electric and Westinghouse violated Sec. 3 of the Clayton Act by making sales, contract for sales, or contracts for the distribution of incandescent electric lamps manufactured by them for use, consumption or re-sale within the United States and fixing the prices charged therefor or discounts from, or rebates upon such prices on the condition, agreement or understanding that the purchasers thereof or agents therefor shall not use or deal in other incandescent electric lamps, all with the purpose and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.