Illinois Court Schedules Trial In American Needle Suit Against NFL
An Illinois federal court scheduled a jury trial for next fall for American Needle's antitrust lawsuit against the NFL. That would come a full 16 years after the event that sparked the lawsuit: the NFL's award of an exclusive cap license to Reebok. American Needle in '04 sued under antitrust law, but the NFL countered it was exempt from antitrust rules for the purpose of such commercial contracts. The case made it to the Supreme Court, which ruled in '10 that the NFL was not exempt and would have to defend itself.
Four years later, after settlement talks earlier this summer, the parties will move toward a trial date on either October 28, 2015, or November 2, 2015, the court wrote in a notice. The contract at issue has long since expired. Nike took over for Reebok in '11 as the league's apparel provider. New Era caps currently has the exclusive cap license.