These conclusions about the MAA raise one final irony. The criteria used by the Justice Department in 1972 to rationalize breaking up the Manufacturers Aircraft Association soon proved to be inappropriate. The Antitrust Division had identified nine restrictions that it believed should be applied to patent licensing. Restriction number two forbade a patentee from requiring a licensee to assign to the patentee any subsequently acquired patents.94 The cross-licensing agreement did this, and it was on this basis that the Justice Department filed against the MAA. By 1973, however, the Justice Department began to appreciate that these restrictions were, in the words of the Chief of the Intellectual Property Section of the Antitrust Division, “economically counterproductive in that [they] discouraged investment in R&D and discouraged efficient licensing of patents.”95 This revelation did not, however, stop the wheels set in motion in the U. S. District Court in New York. The same Justice Department that endorsed the cross-licensing agreement in 1917 brought it to a close in 1975. The agreement probably did restrain trade in 1917; it probably did not in 1975. The Justice Department got it wrong both times.

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