Circuit Nixes Antitrust Claims Against Gas Co.

     CHICAGO (CN) – A gas company’s alleged practice of tying credit card processing to its franchise would not qualify as a monopoly even if it were true, the 7th Circuit ruled.




     John Sheridan, a Marathon Petroleum franchise owner, sued the parent company for an antitrust violation, for its requirement that franchise owners use the company’s credit card processing service.
     Judge Posner said this practice does not rise to the level of a monopoly, even if Marathon used this practice on all of its credit-card purchases.
     “To call this tying,” Posner wrote, “would be like saying that a manufacturer of automobiles who sells tires with his cars is engaged in tying because, although the buyer is free to buy tires from someone else, he is unlikely to do so, having paid for the tires supplied by the car’s manufacturer.”

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