settlement Stories December 15, 2014

New settlement in GT Advanced bankruptcy case gives supplier more time to sell equipment

The Wall Street Journal reported today that Apple and GT Advanced Technologies have reached a settlement in their ongoing bankruptcy case. The settlement, which was approved by the courts earlier today, gives the sapphire supplier up to four years to sell its current stock of sapphire production equipment in order to repay Apple.

The two companies previously went head-to-head over who should be considered responsible for the complete failure of the partnership, with GT blaming Apple for making demands the company couldn’t meet while blocking any other contracts GT may have wanted to accept. Apple, on the other hand, blames GT for accepting a contract and then failing to provide the agreed-upon product.

settlement Stories November 21, 2014

iBooks Mac iPad iPod

Following preliminary approval it received in August, Apple has been granted the final court approval it needed in its $450 million ebook settlement, according to a Reuters report.

During a hearing in Manhattan, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote approved what she called an “unusual” accord. It calls for Apple to pay $400 million to as many as 23 million consumers if the company’s appeal of a ruling finding it liable for antitrust violations is unsuccessful.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote previously expressed concern over the proposed settlement citing a clause in the agreement that she called “most troubling”, but today called the settlement agreement “within the range of those that may be approved as fair and reasonable.” expand full story

settlement Stories November 19, 2014

Mesa-Arizona

In the aftermath of GT Advanced filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the sapphire maker reached a $439 million settlement with Apple in which the supplier will repay the iPhone maker up to $290,000 per furnace sold. GT Advanced creditors aren’t happy with the proposed settlement, however, arguing that the sapphire company may have received too little in the deal. expand full story

settlement Stories November 4, 2014

GT-logo2011-pms

GT Advanced announced this afternoon that it has reached an amended settlement agreement with Apple related to the sapphire crystal glass manufacturer’s recent bankruptcy filing, in which both parties have agreed to waive the condition that GT Advanced’s declaration on October 8th remain under seal and expunged. Meanwhile, GT Advanced has filed a Form 8-K with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that provides further details about the recent fallout between Apple and GT Advanced. expand full story

settlement Stories June 16, 2014

iBooks Mac iPad iPod

Apple settled out of court in the latest e-books price-fixing suit brought against the company, allowing the company to dodge an $840 million bullet, as reported by Bloomberg. The case, brought against the Cupertino company by multiple states and consumers, was set to go before a jury next month, but that will no longer be necessary.

The terms of the settlement have not yet been revealed, and the opposing sides of the case have one month to request formal acceptable of their agreement by the court.

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settlement Stories August 2, 2013

Apple calls DOJ ebooks remedy proposal ‘draconian and punitive’

Following the Department of Justice’s proposed settlements for the iBooks court case, Apple has submitted a response to the court that clearly shows the company is in no way interested in the suggested changes. The 31 page document is summarized quite well by the initial introduction:

Plaintiffs’ proposed injunction is a draconian and punitive intrusion into Apple’s business, wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm. Plaintiffs propose a sweeping and unprecedented injunction as a tool to empower the Government to regulate Apple’s businesses and potentially affect Apple’s business relationships with thousands of partners across several markets. Plaintiffs’ overreaching proposal would establish a vague new compliance regime—applicable only to Apple—with intrusive oversight lasting for ten years, going far beyond the legal issues in this case, injuring competition and consumers, and violating basic principles of fairness and due process. The resulting cost of this relief—not only in dollars but also lost opportunities for American businesses and consumers—would be vast.

Here is the response in its entirety (via TNW):

 

steve-jobs-ibooks

After reaching settlements with just about every publisher involved in the long-running Apple/Amazon e-book price fixing case, The United States Department of Justice today published its proposal to end the case with Apple after finding the company guilty of conspiring to fix ebook prices during trial earlier this month:

“The court found that Apple’s illegal conduct deprived consumers of the benefits of e-book price competition and forced them to pay substantially higher prices,” said Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “Under the department’s proposed order, Apple’s illegal conduct will cease and Apple and its senior executives will be prevented from conspiring to thwart competition in the future.”

Among the key points in the proposal: expand full story

settlement Stories June 25, 2013

Samsung could settle in EU antitrust case over use of essential patents against Apple

Reuters reports that Samsung is currently in preliminary discussions with EU regulators regarding a possible settlement related to charges that it abused its market dominance by blocking Apple from fairly using its essential patents in various ongoing patent disputes:

The talks came after the European Commission, which acts as EU competition regulator, told Samsung in December that it was acting unfairly by seeking injunctions against Apple over use of the essential patents.

“Samsung has been involved in settlement discussions for several months now. Samsung wants to settle,” said one of the sources, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

If Samsung does settle in the case, it could avoid as much as $17.3 billion in fines. However, it would presumably have to agree to license its essential patents on fair terms, which could have an impact on current cases related to the European Union’s 3G UMTS standard.

settlement Stories May 22, 2013

Penguin agrees to pay $75 million in consumer damages following eBook price fixing case

We already knew back in December that Pearson, along with a handful of other publishers had decided to settle with the U.S. Department of Justice in the high-profile Apple ebook price-fixing case. Today a statement from Peason’s Penguin unit confirms that it has now also reached an agreement that will see the publisher pay $75 million in consumer damages to the US State Attorneys General on behalf of people that were overcharged due to the alleged price fixing:

Penguin has reached a comprehensive agreement with the US State Attorneys General and private class plaintiffs to pay $75 million in consumer damages plus costs and fees to resolve all antitrust claims relating to eBook pricing.  Penguin has also committed to the State Attorneys General to abide by the same injunctive relief as previously agreed in a separate settlement with the Department of Justice.

In anticipation of reaching this agreement, Pearson had made a $40m provision for settlement in its 2012 accounts. An incremental charge will be expensed in Pearson’s 2013 statutory accounts as part of the accounting for the Penguin Random House joint-venture.

settlement Stories April 26, 2013

Apple reverses decision to change VPN on Demand in VirnetX lawsuit, but only for devices that already shipped

Due to a loss in a patent lawsuit that awarded patent holder VirnetX $368.2 million, we reported earlier this month that Apple would be changing the behaviour of its VPN on Demand features for devices running iOS 6.1 and up. The changes would mean a downgrade in functionality for users effectively forcing them to start the VPN client before they run an app, or before they open mobile Safari to access an intranet site.

Now, in a recently updated knowledge base article (via MacRumors), Apple appears to be backtracking on that decision informing customers it “no longer plans to change the behavior of the VPN On Demand feature of iOS 6.1 for devices that have already been shipped.”

Apple continues by stating “The ‘Always’ option will continue to work as it currently does on these devices.” It seems as if Apple and VirnetX have reached some type of settlement, but what this means for future devices that have yet to ship is unclear.

settlement Stories April 25, 2013

T-Mobile-uncarrier-no-contract-plansFollowing the launch of T-Mobile’s new “Uncarrier” strategy alongside the $99 iPhone 5 and new no subsidy pricing plans last month, today the Washington State Attorney General has ordered T-Mobile to change its advertising calling its promise to offer no annual contracts “deceptive”.

The result of a court order filed by Attorney General Bob Ferguson and signed by T-Mobile will ensure the carrier’s commitment to changing advertising in order to properly outline “the limitations of its new no-contract” service plans. It will also allow “customers duped by the deceptive ads to exit their contracts with no penalty.”

“As Attorney General, my job is to defend consumers, ensure truth in advertising, and make sure all businesses are playing by the rules,” Ferguson said. “My office identified that T-Mobile was failing to disclose a critical component of their new plan to consumers, and we acted quickly to stop this practice and protect consumers across the country from harm.”

More specifically, the Attorney General’s investigation found T-Mobile “failed to disclose that customers who purchase a phone using the 24-month payment plan” would be required to stay with T-Mobile’s plans for 24 months or pay the balance owed on the phone in order to cancel their service. T-Mobile has been working with the Attorney General’s Office to come to a solution and has now agreed to the following terms: expand full story

settlement Stories April 22, 2013

Check-iphone-4-settlement.

Payday has come for some of the first responders to the iPhone 4 class action lawsuit.  Last February a settlement was reached that granted iPhone 4 owners who had not previously received a free bumper for their “defective” iPhones a $15 payout.  Several of our readers are now reporting that they received their settlement checks today.  The first checks were issued on April 17 2013 and are void after July 16th.  Unfortunately the deadline for submitting a claim has passed so if you missed out the first time around it seems you are out of luck.

In case you forgot, the settlement found:

Apple was “misrepresenting and concealing material information in the marketing, advertising, sale, and servicing of its iPhone 4–particularly as it relates to the quality of the mobile phone antenna and reception and related software.”

Apple paid out a total of $53 million in the settlement, which was lawyers took a hefty $16M chunk.

http://twitter.com/bradkellyfilms/status/326481430584627200/

settlement Stories April 11, 2013

via Flickr

Bring your faulty iPhone into your local Apple Store and probably the first thing the technician behind the Genius Bar troubleshooting your device will do is check the status of Liquid Contact Indicator, which signals excessive exposure to water.

This hidden tape strip reacts to moisture and can be found in your device’s headphone jack and charging port. The status of your warranty coverage depends on its color: if it is white, you pass, which means you are probably not responsible for replacement costs; if it is pink, your warranty is void, which can lead to expensive repair costs.

Apple’s practice of not honoring its hardware warranty based on this practice led to a class action lawsuit against the company in California.

Apple has reportedly agreed to pay up to the tune of $53 million in a settlement, nearly $16 million of which will go toward the legal counsel of the plaintiffs, and should be filed in a San Francisco federal court in the coming days, according to Wired.com.

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Judge says Apple and Google are using litigation as a business strategy, have ‘no interest’ in settlement

In an ongoing case in which Apple and Google’s Motorola have accused each other of infringing various mobile related patents since 2010, U.S. District Judge Robert Scola said in an order yesterday that the two companies have no interest in reaching a settlement. Bloomberg reports Scola said in his order that both companies are using the litigation as a “business strategy that appears to have no end”:

“The parties have no interest in efficiently and expeditiously resolving this dispute; they instead are using this and similar litigation worldwide as a business strategy that appears to have no end,” U.S. District Judge Robert Scola in Miami said in an order dated yesterday. “That is not a proper use of this court.”

“Without a hint of irony, the parties now ask the court to mop up a mess they made by holding a hearing to reduce the size and complexity of the case,” he wrote. “The court declines this invitation.”

The result is Apple and Google will now have a four month period to narrow their claims related to the case that now includes over 180 claims for 12 patents. Bloomberg notes that Scola said the case currently includes “disputes over the meaning of more than 100 terms,” and that the case would be put on hold until the disputes are resolved if the two companies are unable to come up with a solution before the four month timeframe expires.

Back in November there were reports that Apple and Google’s Motorola were considering a settlement and even submitted “proposals on using binding arbitration to reach a licensing agreement” for standard essential patents to courts in Wisconsin. At the time Apple said “such an agreement could lead to a global settlement of all of their patent disputes,” but the two companies couldn’t come to an agreement on the arbitration process.

Last year Apple and HTC announced they reached a global settlement in multiple patent-related cases that some analysts estimated could be worth as much as $180 million to $280 million annually. When it comes to Samsung, many reports quoted Samsung’s Shin Jong-kyun as claiming the company does not “intend to (negotiate) at all” following the HTC settlement.

settlement Stories March 25, 2013

Crossan-Apple-in-app-purchases

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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settlement Stories March 22, 2013

Apple adds ‘offers in-app purchases’ warning in iTunes following class action lawsuit

After settling a class action lawsuit brought on by parents arguing the iOS freemium model, i.e. in-app purchases, allowed children to easily rack up thousands of dollars, Apple has made a subtle change to the App Store to make consumers more aware of apps that offer in-app purchases. The Guardian confirmed with Apple that it recently added a new “Offers In-App Purchases” warning directly underneath the download button in iTunes following the settlement (as pictured above).

Apple has always listed “Top in-app purchases” on app listings in iTunes and the App Store app, but the new warning is clearly a response to the lawsuit and an attempt to make apps that offer in-app purchases more visible to customers downloading free apps. The new warning isn’t on listings in the App Store iOS app yet, but could presumably make its way there as well.

Apple previously agreed to pay $5 in iTunes credit or a full refund for purchases above $30 to those claiming in-app content was purchased by a minor without their permission. Apple is contacting 23 million iTunes account holders that qualify to receive a cut of the settlement.

Update: As expected, the new warning is now appearing on the App Store on iOS as well:

settlement Stories November 12, 2012

Analyst estimates Apple will get around $7 per HTC phone sold yielding $180-$280M annually

On Friday, a press release confirmed Apple and HTC reached a global settlement regarding two patent infringement lawsuits that would include a 10-year licensing agreement and dismiss the current lawsuits between the companies. There was no other information on the deal at the time, but today Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu claimed to have the specifics (via BusinessInsider):

Apple will get $6-$8 for every Android-based HTC phone sold, says Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee… HTC sells 30-35 million Android smartphones annually, so it will generate $180-$280 million in annual revenue for Apple. Since there is no almost cost associated with that revenue, it should be pure profit. But, Apple made $41 billion in net income during its last fiscal year, so it’s not like this HTC money means much.

The Wall Street Journal also reported today that the settlement would indeed include licensing fees.

settlement Stories November 7, 2012

A couple carriers are making headlines today for different reasons. Sprint, which could soon be scooped up by Softbank, announced today (via Engadget) it is spending $480 million to acquire PCS spectrum and 585,000 customers from U.S. cellular across the Midwest. As always, the deal is subject to approval from government officials in the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission, but Sprint could take over the spectrum and customers in “parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio including the Chicago and St. Louis markets” by sometime next year:

Under the terms of the agreement, Sprint will acquire 20 MHz of PCS spectrum in the 1900 MHz band in various Midwest markets including Chicago, South Bend, Ind. and Champaign, Ill. and 10 MHz of PCS spectrum in the St. Louis market.

AT&T is also making the news today with the FCC announcing the carrier will pay a $700,000 fine to put an end to the agency’s investigation into how the carrier handled its transition to mandatory monthly data plans (via BGR). The investigation followed complaints from consumers that AT&T had switched them from grandfathered pay-as-you-go plans to its new monthly plans as far back as 2009. According to the FCC, as part of the settlement, AT&T “has agreed to refund excess charges paid by individual customers, which could be as much as $25 to $30 a month, depending on data use”: expand full story

settlement Stories September 6, 2012

Federal judge approves settlement with three publishers in Apple/Amazon ebook price fixing case

We noted last month that Apple filed a document with the Southern District of New York attempting to have settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice and three publishers delayed until after the high profile eBook price-fixing case goes to trial in June 2013. The Wall Street Journal reported today that a federal judge approved the settlements, which would allow Amazon and other retailers to return to its previous model and freely set eBook prices. Not surprisingly, Apple is expected to appeal the decision:

In a move that could reshape the publishing industry, a federal judge has approved a settlement with three of the nation’s largest book publishers over alleged collusion in the pricing of e-books… Apple has previously indicated in court papers that it would seek to appeal any decision approving the settlement. As a result, it could take some time before consumers see lower prices on e-books… “It’s devastating to bookstores,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. “For two years the settling publishers must allow vendors to discount e-books at any price they want. The court acknowledges that this restores the status quo conditions before 2010, when Amazon was able capture 90% of the e-book market. The Justice Department is reshaping the literary marketplace without submitting a single economic study to the court to justify its actions.”

settlement Stories May 7, 2012

Apple offers to settle Proview iPad trademark dispute, ‘Big Gap’ remains in reaching agreement

According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple offered to settle with Chinese company Proview after a long, ongoing battle over the iPad trademark in China. While the amount of compensation offered was not disclosed, Proview’s lawyers have not agreed to the deal and claim a “big gap’ remains in reaching a settlement.

Recently, there was speculation that the trademark battle might have led to Apple holding off from launching the new iPad in the country. The case and negotiation process will continue at the Higher People’s Court of Guangdong, while separate complaints filed by Proview in February will seek compensation for alleged infringement of IP laws in the country.

In an interview with Xinhua on Sunday, Proview’s lawyer Xie Xianghui was positive negotiations were progressing:

“We feel that the attitude of Apple Inc. has changed. Although they expressed that they were willing to negotiate, they have never taken any action before. But now, they are having conversations with us, and we have begun to consult on the case.”

settlement Stories April 17, 2012

According to a report from Foss Patents (and confirmed by Reuters), Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and Samsung Chief Executive Officer Gee-Sung Choi will meet within the next 90 days for settlement talks over ongoing patent disputes. Judge Lucy Koh, who is presiding over the two cases in California, initiated the meeting after ordering the companies to submit their CEOs and legal counsels to an Alternative Dispute Resolution.

“As directed by the Court, Apple and Samsung are both willing to participate in a Magistrate Judge Settlement Conference with Judge Spero as mediator. At Apple, the chief executive officer and general counsel are the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Apple during the upcoming settlement discussions. At Samsung, the chief executive officer and general counsel are also the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Samsung during these settlement discussions.”

The report called the talks “semi-voluntary,” because the companies did not have to submit to the Alternative Dispute Resolution. However, as pointed out by Foss Patents, “if only one of them had made the CEO available, the other one would have appeared to be less than constructive.” Apple and Samsung executives will meet in San Francisco with U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero sometime over the next three months: expand full story

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