Last July, Apple lost an antitrust lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice. The lawsuit, initiated by Amazon, was a little odd from the beginning, what with the presiding judge announcing before the trial that she fully expected Apple to lose. Everything seemed to happen exactly the way Amazon needed it to happen; U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled against Apple, and included some very harsh sentencing that should help Amazon regain much of its lost eBook monopoly. But Apple is not giving up that easily.
After losing the bizarre eBook trial with the United States Department of Justice in July, Apple awaited whatever sanctions the court was deliberating on handing out. On Friday, the DOJ proposed its settlement with Apple based on its ruling the company was indeed guilty of conspiring to fix eBook prices.
Apple lost the Ebook trial, and we were surprised. We thought the government's case was crumbling. We thought the winds had shifted to Apple's favor. We thought that once the truth of the Department of Justice's case againstApple (for allegedly conspiring with publisher to price-fix eBooks) was revealed, there was no way Cupertino would lose. We're sorry. We were wrong. We were not alone in this assessment, however. Either way, what does Apple do now? Let's discuss.
Samsung continues to pull every legal trick out of its hat to avoid paying Apple legal damages from last summer's trial, but this time it may actually have a valid point. Apple, on the other hand, has decided that consumers may just be smart enough to know the difference between shopping from Apple and shopping from Amazon. Another serving of legal drama and courtroom surprises; we'll try to make sense of it all in this week's Law & Apple.
As the Department of Justice eBook trial against Apple enters it's third, and likely final, week, two themes consistently emerge: one, the entire DOJ case seems built on a flimsy house of cards that continues to get knocked down; and two, Amazon was a major player in making this lawsuit happen. It seems reasonable to many that Apple will walk away from this case vindicated and victorious. Maybe. Will Apple prevail and, if not, what happens next? Read on.
As the Department of Justice's bizarre prosecution of Apple hits the halfway point of a scheduled three-week trial, there are some clues that perhaps the winds are shifting in favor of Cupertino. This entire case, which could only seem more sponsored by Amazon if its logo was displayed behind the judge's bench, started out with a great deal of hyperbole against Apple, as well as a judge that seemed to have decided the case before it began. Now, as the smoke clears from the DOJ's initial courtroom (and media) assault, it doesn't seem as clear-cut to everyone that Apple is the bad guy. In fact, it is even becoming obvious to many, including perhaps the judge, that Apple actually did not do anything illegal or unethical, and has actually greatly helped the eBook market since coming on the scene. Let's catch up on the last week and a half of this increasingly fascinating case.
This week, Apple finds itself in several rather awkward courtroom dramas: being asked by a U.S. judge to find a way to go away; being sued by a European Union nation for something it should have fixed a year ago; and being railroaded by a Russian company for failing to police the App Store. All aboard! It's time for another trip on the Law & Apple Express.
Apple is not the boss of every word in the English language, and Samsung is on the verge of breaking the U.S. Patent system forever. The Patent Wars roll on, and to what end? If Apple is going to try to corner the market on words, and no company in the United States is going to be stopped from putting copycat products on store shelves until it is too late, these lawsuits will never stop. Join us for another week of Law & Apple as we try to make some sense of this nonsense.
This week we look at how Apple and a Swedish photographer don't see eye to eye over a disputed image, how new developments in an ebooks antitrust case may bump up your iTunes account, and yet another move in the global chess match with Samsung. It's all fun and games until someone uses an eye!