Aftermarket Monopolization Claims Dismissed as Afterthought

Plaintiff Océ North America, Inc. ("Océ") brought an action against a service market supplier for copyright infringement. Defendant MCS Services, Inc. ("MCS") filed a Kodak-style "aftermarket" monopolization counterclaim, in addition to a series of common law torts, including tortuous interference with contractual relations, and prospective advantage. Finding the antitrust allegations of the counterclaim to be "implausible", the district court for the District of Maryland dismissed that claim, while allowing the tortuous interference claims to continue. Océ North America, Inc. v. MCS Services, Inc., D.Md., No. 1:10-CV-984-WMN, 6/14/11.

Océ manufactures high speed continuous form printers. Such printers utilize large spools of perforated paper. Continuous form printers are capable of printing hundreds, or even thousands, of pages per minute. They range in price from a mere $100,000 to in excess of $1 million, with a lifespan of approximately 20 years. MCS does not manufacture printers. However, both Océ and MCS are competitors in the business of providing maintenance services and replacement toner for high-speed printers. Océ filed a complaint alleging that MCS had misappropriated its trade secrets. MCS retaliated by filing counterclaims alleging monopolization and attempted monopolization, and several species of state tort claims, including tortuous interference with contractual and prospective advantage.

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