In a significant victory for the Justice Department, a federal appeals court has put new teeth in the Sherman Act by ruling that the country’s leading manufacturer of false teeth violated antitrust laws by forcing dealers to abide by an exclusivity policy that shut out smaller competing suppliers.

In its 34-page opinion in United States v. Dentsply International Inc., a unanimous three-judge panel found that a York, Pa.-based company that enjoys a 75 percent share of the market for supplying teeth to laboratories that make dentures had illegally maintained its monopoly power by requiring middlemen to sell its teeth exclusively.

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