On September 17, 2003, the Second Circuit issued an important decision in U.S. v. Visa U.S.A., Inc., 2003 WL 22138519 (2d Cir. Sept. 17, 2003). The court affirmed a district court ruling invalidating Visa and Mastercard rules that prohibit member banks from issuing American Express or Discover.1 The district court had found that these ìexclusionary rulesî substantially harmed competition and failed scrutiny under a rule of reason analysis. Visa is noteworthy both because it is a (relatively rare) government win in a major rule of reason case ó with the Second Circuit affirming the trial courtís rigorous inquiry into the rulesí anticompetitive effects and proffered procompetive justification ó and because it may bring pressure for substantial structural changes in the card industry.


Antitrust and Trade Regulation

Date of this Version

October 2006