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U.S. Supreme Court

Board of Trade v. Christie Grain & Stock Co., 198 U.S. 236 (1905)

Board of Trade of Chicago v. Christie Grain and Stock Company

Nos. 224, 280

Argued April 20, 24-25, 1905

Decided May 8, 1905

198 U.S. 236


The Chicago Board of Trade collects at its own expense quotations of prices offered and accepted for wheat, corn and provisions in its exchange and distributes them under contract to persons approved by it and under certain conditions. In a suit brought by it to restrain parties from using the quotations obtained and used without authority of the Board, defendants contended that, as the Board of Trade permitted, and the quotations related to, transactions for the pretended buying of grain without any intention of actually receiving, delivering, or paying for the same, that the Board violated the Illinois bucket shop statute and there were no property rights in the quotations which the court could protect, and that the giving out of the quotations to certain persons makes them free to all. Held that

Even if such pretended buying and selling is permitted by the Board of Trade, it is entitled to have its collection of quotations protected by the law, and to keep the work which it has done to itself; nor does it lose its property rights in the quotations by communicating them to certain persons, even though many, in confidential and contractual relations chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 198 U. S. 237

to itself, and strangers to the trust may he restrained from obtaining and using the quotation by inducing a breach of the trust.

A collection of information, otherwise entitled to protection, does not cease to be so because it concerns illegal acts, and statistics of crime are property to the same extent as other statistics, even if collected by a criminal who furnishes some of the data.

Contracts under which the Board of Trade furnishes telegraph companies with its quotations, which it could refrain from communicating at all on condition that they will only be distributed to persons in contractual relations with, and approved by, the Board, and not to what are known as bucket shops, are not void and against public policy as being in restraint of trade either at common law or under the Anti-Trust Act of July 2, 1890.

The facts are stated in the opinion. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 198 U. S. 245

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