Apple questions whether iPod class action suit can proceed as case may lack genuine plaintiffs

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Just as it looked like the iPod-related class action suit against Apple was getting interesting, Eddy Cue arguing that competing music stores had effectively hacked the iPod, it now seems the case is in danger of collapsing.

Apple’s lawyers have written to the judge to say there is no evidence that either of the two plaintiffs owned iPods during the time affected by Apple’s action to remove non-iTunes songs from iPods …  Read more

Court rejects earlier $324 million anti-poaching settlement between Apple, Intel, Google, and Adobe

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Image via Bloomberg

A judge has rejected a settlement that was reached earlier this year between employees of Apple, Intel, Google, and Adobe and their respective companies, CNBC reported today. According to reports from the courtroom, Judge Lucy Koh ruled that the settlement was not high enough and should actually be $380 million.

The lawsuit was brought against the tech giants in question by current and former employees who believed (correctly) that their employers had created agreements to avoid attempting to hire engineers from one another. The idea was that if no competitors were making offers, each company was free to pay its employees whatever it wanted without having to worry about them jumping ship for a better offer.

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Apple faces off against 20,000 employees in class action lawsuit over labor code violations

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A group of corporate and retail employees has received class action status for a lawsuit against Apple in which the plaintiffs argue that the company violated the California labor code by not offering “timely meal breaks, timely rest breaks, and timely final paychecks,” per a report from TechCrunch.

The suit was originally filed in December 2011, but was today expanded to cover around 20,000 current and former Apple employees in California. The employees named in the suit have varying reasons for joining forces against Apple, but all accusations boil down to Apple having violated several points of the state’s labor laws.

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Apple faces class-action lawsuit over do-not-hire arrangements with other companies

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A federal judge ruled that a lawsuit against Apple and several other companies can proceed as a class-action suit today after determining that a significant number of employees across the tech industry were hurt by “do-not-hire” arrangements between their employers and other companies. The policies in question were practiced by Apple, Google, Adobe, Pixar, and more as a way of keeping their own employees from defecting to competitors for higher pay. Essentially the agreements barred two companies from offering jobs to competing employees for a higher salary. Because doing so gave employees leverage with which to bargain for higher pay at their own jobs, employers were often faced with the decision to either pay any given employee more to keep them around or lose them to a competitor willing to pay more.

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Apple in court: Samsung infringes key text-selection patent, anti-poaching class action blocked, slide to unlock invalidated in Germany

Text-selectionApple’s decision to disable VPN on demand functionality on iOS due to the virnetX lawsuit isn’t the only patent related Apple news today. Head below for a roundup of Apple’s court woes and wins from earlier today:

Samsung infringes key text-selection patent: Reuters reports that the International Trade Commission has handed down a preliminary decision ruling Samsung infringed on an Apple patent related to a text-selection feature. However, the courts also ruled Samsung didn’t infringe another patent related to detecting when other devices are plugged into a microphone jack. If the text-selection decision is upheld, the result could be a U.S. import ban on Galaxy, Transform, and Nexus devices: Read more

Police officer reports son for fraud after Apple refuse to refund £3,700 App Store spending spree

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A police officer in the U.K. named Doug Crossan reported his own 13-year-old son for fraud after Apple refused to refund £3,700 that the child ran up playing freemium App Store titles on his iPad. DailyMail has the story:

Cameron then racked up more than 300 purchases on games such as Plants vs Zombies, Hungry Shark, Gun Builder, Nova 3. Many of them are free to download but users can buy in-game extras – in one game Cameron had purchased a virtual chest of gold coins costing £77.98.

But the technology company has refused and his only way of recouping the money is to report the purchases as being fraudulent. So Mr Crossan, of Clevedon, North Somerset, has shopped Cameron to the Action Fraud helpline – meaning his son could face arrest and questioning by the his father’s colleagues. He said: ‘I am sure Cameron had no intention to do it, but I had to have a crime reference number if there was any chance of getting any credit card payments refunded.

We reported last week that Apple was adding a new “offers in-app purchases” warning in the App Store to better inform consumers downloading free apps that additional content will require a fee. The move followed a settling a class action lawsuit that alleged children were able to rack up thousands of dollars through the iOS freemium model, i.e. in-app purchases, with both parents and children under the impression that the games were free. Apple is refusing to refund Crossan, citing “parental responsibility and pointing out that iPads contain password locks to prevent accidental or unwanted purchases.”

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Judge orders Apple to explain why it didn’t hand over Jobs emails in location tracking suit

Image (1) iPhone-location-data-in-UK.jpg for post 75765Bloomberg reported that U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal has ordered Apple to reveal exactly how it’s complying with previous orders to hand over evidence in a lawsuit that accused the company of collecting users’ location data. It will also have to submit documents related to its process for reviewing apps. Earlier this week, Apple’s lawyer, Ashlie Beringer, told the court that the decision to not provide emails from Steve Jobs in an order from November was a “mistake.”

“Luckily for the plaintiffs, Apple has provided more than enough evidence itself to suggest to the court that it has not fully complied with the court’s order,” Grewal wrote in the March 6 order. “In light of Apple’s performance in this case, the court cannot rely on its representations that this time it really has or will produce all responsive documents.”

According to the report, Grewal said in his order today that “it was ‘unacceptable’ that Apple waited more than three months to verify whether it complied with his November order to turn over documents.”

Apple has said previously that it has guarded some documents in the case to protect customers from harm if the documents were “inadvertently released to the public or fell into the wrong hands.”

Beringer said she and her team of lawyers reviewed more than 8,000 e-mails over the previous weekend and determined that they should turn over messages involving Apple’s late co-founder Jobs, Phil Schiller, its marketing chief, and Scott Forstall, the former head of mobile software, among others.

The result is Apple will now have to give a “detailed account” by March 8 of how it went about gathering documents it was ordered to submit to the plaintiffs: Read more

Apple settles in-app purchasing class action, agrees to pay $5 iTunes credit or cash refund

Last time we checked in on the in-app purchase class-action lawsuit against Apple, courts refused Apple’s request to throw out the case brought on by parents arguing the iOS freemium model, i.e. in-app purchases, allowed children to easily rack up hundreds or thousands of dollars. Today, Law360 (via GigaOM) reported Apple has agreed to pay a settlement and will be contacting 23 million iTunes users that “made a Game Currency purchase in one or more Qualified Apps.”

According to the report, Apple will pay $5 in iTunes credit to those who claim in-app content was purchased by a minor without their permission. For purchases above $30, users will be able to request a full refund. However, credits will likely not get to users until early 2014 when the settlement meets regulatory approval: Read more

Apple in court: iPhone data collection, Samsung/iPad patent case, & double iTunes billing

When we reported on Apple’s courtroom woes in March, we told you lawmakers were sending letters to iOS devs (Apple included) and questioning them on their privacy policies about how apps access contact data without explicit user permission. Despite promises, Apple has yet to carry out an update requiring apps to ask for user-approval, but an earlier case over the collection of user data has been given the green light by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in California. Reuters reported the lawyers representing customers in the case claimed in court today that Apple “collected data on customers’ geographical locations even after users said they didn’t want to share the information.” The judge is asking Apple to submit relevant documents to the plaintiffs by May 17.

In other courtroom news, ComputerWorld reported this week that Judge Koh ordered Apple and Samsung to “streamline” its patent claims ahead of a trial set for July 30. According to the report, the companies have already cut back the claims included in the case to 37 products, 16 patents, six trademark, five trade dress claims, and an antitrust suit, but Judge Koh said the extent of the case is “cruel and unusual punishment to a jury.” If Apple and Samsung do not agree to reduce the set of claims, the trial could be postponed until next year. The news comes after the companies agreed with Koh to have their CEOs meet for settlement talks related to the patent cases on May 21-22.

Justia.com reported this week that Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit over claims that iTunes is continually double billing a customer for downloads of a song. Apple apparently refuses to refund some customers for these double billing incidents, citing its Terms of Service. A copy of the lawsuit and more information on the class action is here.

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Apple objects to discovery request of secret Steve Jobs and Eddy Cue depositions

According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Apple is objecting to a discovery request in a class action case against Universal Music Group that seeks the release of trial exhibits, expert reports, and depositions from former CEO Steve Jobs and Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue.

The depositions were originally given in a case between F.B.T. Productions, producers of Eminem records, and Universal Music group division Aftermath Records. That case is about to go to trial, but Apple is filing an objection to the discovery request from the class action that would alter an existing protective order, claiming the depositions and documents are “highly confidential and proprietary trade secrets.”

In its objection, Apple apparently referenced the fact that most involved in the case were sent out of the room during the depositions and claimed if released it could lead to “competitive harm”:
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Apple eBook price-fixing lawsuits hit Canada following DOJ suit

Following an investigation into alleged eBook price-fixing, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and publishers Macmillan and Penguin earlier this month, who refused to settle. Other publishers, including Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster, settled and reached an agreement to return Amazon to its previous wholesale model and dismantle Apple’s agency model. The settlement also included agreements with select states that would see $51 million in restitution paid to those who purchased eBooks through Apple’s platform. Now, several Canadian publications are reporting class-action lawsuits were filed against Apple and the five publishers throughout Canada.

Lawyer Normand Painchaud spoke with The Montreal Gazette about his class-action suit filed in Quebec Superior Court and talked about two others filed in Ontario and British Columbia:

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