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Court denies motion to dismiss filed by Apple on anti-trust cases; States to pursue $840M damages

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US District Judge Denise Cote rejected Apple’s argument that states lack standing in the anti-trust cases filed by state attorneys general accusing Apple of conspiring with book publishers to fix e-book prices.

In a 24-page opinion, Judge Cite said, “Apple appears on the one hand to concede that the states have standing to seek injunctive relief against Apple, but to contest that they have standing to seek damages arising from the same conduct by Apple. Apple fails to explain how this can be so.”

It could be remembered that way back April 2012, the state sued Apple and five (5) book publishers in the US of conspiring to set e-book prices, which is “a radical departure from modern antitrust law and policy” that if allowed to stand as Cote said, “would stifle innovation, chill competition, and harm consumers.”

In addition, the state also accused Apple and the publishers of working together to break Amazon’s hold on the market with its Kindle e-book reader.

Last July 2013, Judge Cote ruled that Apple indeed orchestrated the conspiracy. Cote said, “without Apple’s orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did.”

On its appeal, Apple emphasized that they did not end the competition in the e-book market when they entered into it, more so that they ?marked the beginning of the competition in the sector.

Moreover, pending appeal, Apple is seeking to remove former Assistant US Attorney and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Bromwich, who was appointed as monitor by Judge Cote to keep an eye on Apple’s compliance with antitrust laws. Apple called this monitoring provision “unprecedented and unconstitutional.”

With Judge Cote’s rejection of Apple’s motion to dismiss means one thing — that attorneys general in 33 states can pursue hundreds of millions of dollars in damages on July trial. Reports said, State attorneys general was seeking $280 million in damages, but asked to make the amount be tripled as the US Judge, District had already “conclusively proven” that Apple had orchestrated the conspiracy.

On the other hand, the five (5) publishers who entered into a settlement and agreed to pay more than $166 million anti-trust charges (leaving Apple behind) are Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group Inc, News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Penguin Group (USA) Inc, CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s Macmillan. (Photo courtesy of http://cdn1.appleinsider.com/13.06.19-iBooks.jpg)

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