Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States
, 221 U.S. 1
(1911), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States
found Standard Oil
guilty of monopolizing
industry through a series of abusive and anticompetitive actions. The court's remedy was to divide Standard Oil into several competing firms.
By the 1880s, Standard Oil was using its stranglehold on refining capacity to begin integrating backward into oil exploration and crude oil distribution and forward into retail distribution of its refined products to stores and, eventually, service stations throughout the United States. Standard Oil allegedly used its size and clout to undercut competitors in a number of ways that were considered "anti-competitive," including underpricing and threats to suppliers and distributors who did business with Standard's competitors.
The government sought to prosecute Standard Oil under the Sherman Antitrust Act
. The main issue before the Court was whether it was within the power of the Congress to prevent one company from acquiring numerous others through means that might have been considered legal in common law, but still posed a significant constraint on competition by mere virtue of their size and market power, as implied by the Antitrust Act.
Over a period of decades, the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey had bought up virtually all of the oil refining
companies in the United States
. Initially, the growth of Standard Oil was... Read More