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US: Apple’s big day in court for eBooks, patent cases

 |  August 12, 2013

Apple had a big day in mulitple courts last Friday as the tech giant faced developments in two major antitrust cases: eBooks and its patent war with rival Samsung.


Apple Inc. told US District Judge Denise Cote in New York that she made errors in July’s price-fixing case against the technology giant, claiming the judge excluded evidence in a case that resulted in the finding that Apple conspired to fix eBooks prices. The claims came on the same day Apple was scheduled for a hearing where Judge Cote would consider remedies regarding the case proposed by the US Department of Justice, which originally filed the case against Apple following an investigation that also involved five eBooks publishers.

Those publishers, which all settled with regulators, are now backing Apple against the DOJ’s proposed sanctions that would order Apple to sever all ties with the publishers. The DOJ also wants a watchdog for the sole oversight of Apple for the next decade. They sanctions are currently being weighed by Judge Cote, who said Friday she is considering the measures but hinted she may not require an Apple-focused regulator. The Judge said her focus is to ensure “we don’t have collusive activity again interfering with the eBooks market.”

Apple reportedly set a letter to Judge Cote on Thursday claiming that evidence was overlooked and that the issues regarding evidence “demonstrate that Apple has a substantial possibility of prevailing on appeal.” Reports say Random House Inc., one such publisher involved in the DOJ’s case, testified that its eBooks agency model for sales was “not because of any actions by Apple.” The agency model was the basis for the DOJ’s concern of price-fixing as the model allows publishers and not retailers to set product prices. That evidence was excluded, however.

Samsung patent wars

Just days after President Obama overturned an import ban on certain Apple products, the International Trade Commission found that Apple rival Samsung infringed on Apple patents and issued a similar import ban against Samsung smartphones.The ruling fuels the fire between the two tech rivals following the ITC’s older ruling that Apple infringed on Samsung products, leading to the iPhone import ban the White House overturned on August 3.

Reports say the patent infringements on Apple patents involve designs for headphone jacks and multitouch features. The Obama administration could similarly overturn this ban.

The patent wars between Apple and Samsung began in April of 2011, when Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung regarding patent infringement claims. Just weeks later, Samsung responded with its own case. Regulators in the US have recently taken on the so-called patent trolls that acquire standard essential patents for the sole purpose of suing those that use them. Regulators and lawmakers say the practice harms competition and innovation.


Full Content: Bloomberg and Businessweek

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