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Antitrust Aspects of Joint Operations

Arthur Thad Smith, Proceedings of 16th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1970)

A joint venture is an enterprise undertaken by two or more companies or other business organizations. It may be carried on through a corporation, the stock of which is owned by the parties to the joint venture, or through an association or pursuant to a joint venture agreement. The traditional operating agreement for the exploration and development of an oil and gas prospect is an example of the latter. Whatever its form, a joint venture becomes a new business entity. It may be a permanent arrangement with a continuing relationship between the parties or it may be temporary in nature and designed to carry out a specific short-term project.

The idea of conducting a business enterprise by means of a joint venture goes back to early times. Voyages to explore the New World or engage in trade with people in distant lands were frequently joint ventures. Antonio may well have been involved in a joint venture in his argosies to the Indies, Tripoli, Mexico and England, failure of which almost cost him a pound of flesh. Fishing expeditions off the Grand Banks have since time immemorial involved some form of joint venture. Eskimos have for years conducted their seal hunts by combining their efforts in the nature of a joint venture. This is because it is necessary for at least one Eskimo to man each of the numerous openings in the ice through which the hunted quarry may, when prod