Antitrust’s Newest Quagmire: The Noerr-Pennington Defense

In recent years two relatively unheralded but sweeping antitrust decisions by the Supreme Court have given rise to ramifications far beyond their facts. Unless limited, they may be interpreted by business planners as providing safe havens in many areas of conduct where corporations and trade associations have previously feared to tread. The cases are Eastern Railroad Presidents Corp. v. Noerr Motor Freight, Inc. and United Mine Workers of America v. Pennington. The broad issue they raise is the extent to which business can concertedly seek to use the mechanism of government for the purpose of restraining trade without violating the antitrust laws.