Business: Sherman Act Redefinition

When businessmen of a feather flock together, does a conspiracy automatically exist? In the recent past, the answer of the U.S. Supreme Court has seemed to be yes. In the cement industry's basing-point price case five years ago. the Federal Trade Commission ruled—and the Supreme Court agreed—that the "parallel business behavior" of the cement companies in issuing identical price lists for their products was ample evidence of illegal conspiracy to restrain trade. But last week, in a decision that might set a far-reaching precedent, the Supreme Court had a change of heart.

The suit was brought by the Crest Theater, a movie...

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