Authors Believe Apple’s Entry Into E-Book Market Wasn’t Anti-Competitive

A coalition of authors and well-known booksellers have come forth to back Apple in a petition to overturn a recent ruling that stated the company was liable in conspiring to fix the prices of electronic books when its iBooks store launched on the iPad in 2010 (via Cult of Mac).

Together, the Authors Guild, Authors United, the American Booksellers Association, and Barnes & Noble have filed a 37-page amicus brief that states Apple was in fact enhancing competition and benefiting its customers.

“We are pleased to lend our support in this matter, critical to anyone interested in a competitive and diverse literary marketplace,” said Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the Authors Guild, in a statement. “We fundamentally question the wisdom of the Second Circuit’s use of antitrust law to punish a business arrangement that demonstrably increased competition in the e-book marketplace.”

The brief falls in line with Apple’s petition of the Supreme Court to review the case this past October, after first being found guilty of conspiring to artificially inflate the prices of e-books back in 2013, when the case started. The amicus brief filed by the authors and booksellers backs up Apple’s attempts at overturning the ruling, stating that a positive outcome for the case is „critical to maintaining a healthy marketplace for the ideas and First Amendment-protected expression that authors and bookstores facilitate.“

The groups even mention Amazon as more of a „disruptive“ force in the e-books market, with a „loss leader“ strategy that led to domination over the digital bookselling marketplace. The groups use Amazon’s recent public battles with publishers like Hachette, where it essentially ceased selling any of their novels due to a price point disagreement, as a primary example. They also look at the market monopoly Amazon held before Apple entered with iBooks in 2010.

“With a 90% market share, nearly every customer who wanted to purchase an e-book had to do so through Amazon,” the brief states. “Amazon could exercise this power to suppress specific publishers, authors, or messages with which it disagreed, with impunity. It also could steer the culture toward the ideas it valued. Amazon controlled what e-books were promoted on its home page, what e-books were recommended to consumers, and what books appeared at the top of a consumer’s search results when she searched for e-books on the Amazon.com website.“

With no response yet from the Department of Justice regarding Apple’s filing for a review, the company still has an uncertain future in the two year-long case. All respondents have until January 4 to file a response in opposition to Apple’s petitioning of the Supreme Court, so the next leg of the case is just over a month away.

Tags: lawsuit, antitrust, e-books
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Apple won’t have to compensate retail employees for waiting in line

Apple won’t have to stump up the cash for back-paying thousands of current and former employees at Apple Stores across California, according to the ruling of a federal judge. The lawsuit was brought against Apple in 2013 by two former retail employees — claiming that Apple’s policy of mandatory bag searches after work had cost them dozens […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Apple Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Overturn Guilty Verdict in E-Books Antitrust Case

Apple is asking the United States Supreme Court to overturn the 2013 U.S. Appellate Court ruling that found the company guilty of conspiring with publishers to inflate the prices of e-books, reports Reuters.

Apple’s petition comes following the loss of a June appeal where the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the guilty verdict and maintained Apple violated antitrust laws and colluded with five publishers – HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan, and Penguin – to fix e-book prices and unreasonably restrain trade.

Apple in its petition said the June decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York contradicted Supreme Court precedent and would „chill innovation and risktaking.“

„The Second Circuit’s decision will harm competition and the national economy,“ Apple wrote.

Should the U.S. Supreme Court uphold the lower court’s verdict, Apple will be forced to pay $450 million as part of a settlement with class action lawyers and state district attorneys, with $400 million of that amount earmarked for consumers. Apple reached the settlement in June of 2014 to avoid a lengthy damages trial, but the payout hinged on the outcome of the company’s appeal.

Though Apple was found guilty, the company has maintained its innocence throughout the dispute. In its appeal, Apple said its efforts „kick-started competition“ to deliver „higher output, lower price levels, and accelerated innovation.“

Tags: lawsuit, antitrust, e-books

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Apple Loses A7/A8 Patent Lawsuit, Could Owe University of Wisconsin Up to $862 Million

Last year, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), which protects the University of Wisconsin’s intellectual rights and patents, sued Apple for infringing on one of its processor patents. According to the lawsuit, Apple used the University’s technology in its A7, A8, and A8X processors included in the 2013 and 2014 iPhone and iPad lineup.

A Wisconsin jury today found Apple guilty of infringing on the patent owned by WARF, reports Reuters, and as a result, the Cupertino-based company could be forced to pay up to $862 million in damages. The jury also ruled that the patent was valid, negating Apple’s argument that it was invalid and no infringement had taken place.

Cupertino, California-based Apple denied any infringement and argued the patent is invalid, according to court papers. Apple previously tried to convince the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to review the patent’s validity, but in April the agency rejected the bid.

According to a recent ruling by U.S. District Judge William Conley, who is presiding over the case, Apple could be liable for up to $862.4 million in damages.

Granted in 1998, the patent in question covers a method for improving processor efficiency and is titled „Table based data speculation circuit for parallel processing computer.“ It lists several current and former University of Wisconsin researchers as inventors.

Now that the jury has decided Apple used the university’s technology in its processors, the trial will move on to decide the damages owed. Following that, there will be a third trial phase to determine whether Apple willfully infringed on the patent, which could significantly increase the damages owed.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation has also filed a second lawsuit against Apple for the same patent, accusing the company of using the technology in the A9 and A9X found in the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and iPad Pro.



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Spy who may have helped Samsung win A-series chip orders loses in court

Taiwan’s top court has ruled in favor of TSMC in a dispute involving a former employee who leaked trade secrets to Samsung — potentially helping the South Korean tech giant catch up in the chip fabrication business and win orders for Apple’s A-series processors. Samsung wasn’t named directly in the suit, although there’s little doubt […]

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Apple won’t face group lawsuit for lost iMessages

Apple has been spending a lot of time in court the past few years, but the company just avoided another potentially costly lawsuit this week, after a federal judge shot down a group’s request to sue Apple over lost text messages. A former iPhone user filed a lawsuit against Apple in San Jose, California, claiming […]

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Lawsuit Against Apple Over Android-Switching iMessage Issue Fails to Gain Class-Action Status

Apple yesterday won a significant ruling against a group lawsuit filed by a former iPhone user who sued the Cupertino company after claiming that switching from an iPhone to an Android smartphone interfered with her receipt of text messages (via Bloomberg).

The plaintiff, Adrienne Moore, noted in her complaint originally filed in May 2014 that an inability to unlink her phone number from iMessage prevented her from receiving text messages sent by iPhone users to her Samsung Galaxy S5 running Android. The lawsuit claimed users switching away from the iPhone to other devices were „penalized and unable to obtain the full benefits of their wireless-service contracts“ due to the issue, with Moore and her lawyers alleging Apple failed to successfully elaborate on the „interference“ that switching platforms would cause.

The lawsuit sought group status for the claim, which would automatically include all affected users and potentially result in a significant settlement or court judgment, but U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh yesterday ruled the suit can’t continue as a group lawsuit because it wasn’t clear enough that all included members were actually affected by the occurrence described by Moore. Koh decided there was no direct „contractual breach or interference“ relating to a problem within the iMessage system itself, thereby giving Apple a victory on the case.

Even if Moore is correct in arguing iMessage has “systematic flaws that could result in the disruption of text messaging services, that determination does not assist the court in determining whether iMessage actually caused the proposed class members to suffer any interference,” Koh wrote in her ruling.

The ruling is a win for Apple because allowing the case to proceed stood to increase the iPhone maker’s potential costs in defending the case, and could have given plaintiffs leverage to negotiate a deal.

The lawsuit began in May of 2014, with customers noting iMessage issues after switching over to a non-Apple platform since the service was introduced in 2011. Despite Apple’s move to address the issue by offering a tool for users to deregister their phone numbers from iMessage, it was ruled last November that the company would indeed face a federal lawsuit on the iMessage issue.



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Apple to Face Class Action Lawsuit Over Off-the-Clock Employee Bag Checking

Apple will face a class action lawsuit brought against it by retail employees in California who were subjected to ongoing bag checks that often caused them to remain at work for 10 to 15 minutes after their shifts had ended, reports Reuters.

Employees allege Apple subjected them to mandatory bag checks that were „embarrassing and demeaning,“ and were conducted off the clock, leaving them uncompensated for their time. The group is seeking damages for unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, and other recompense.

The lawsuit was first filed in 2013 and after some legal hurdles that included a 2014 dismissal, it was granted class action status today by U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco. Class members participating in the lawsuit include more than 12,000 of Apple’s current and former employees in the state of California.

Amanda Friekin and Dean Pelle, the plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit, claim Apple’s bag checks were mandatory each time a sales rep left the store and were put in place to discourage theft. Several employees subjected to these bag searches emailed Tim Cook in 2012, writing that managers were „required to treat ‘valued’ employees as criminals“ and that the searches were often performed „in front of gawking customers.“

Over the course of the past two years, Apple has argued that the case should not get class action status because not all managers conducted bag searches and that the bag searches that did happen took so little time that compensation was not necessary. Now that it has received class action status, the lawsuit will go to trial.



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Apple is accused of bullying Monster over Beats lawsuit

Apple is accused of corporate bullying after reportedly booting rival headphone maker Monster from its “Made for iPhone” accessory program. Monster claims the move is in retaliation for an ongoing lawsuit against Beats, which is now owned by Apple. Monster…Read more ›



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