On Friday, a U.S. federal judge granted class action status to a group of customers who sued Apple for “fixing” e-book prices in its iBookstore. The move saw U.S. District Judge Denise Cote reject Apple’s argument that plaintiffs were too different from one another to sue en masse, and declared that the individuals had “more than met their burden” to challenge Cupertino as a group.
The news reached us in a late report from Reuters, which cites Cote’s decision on the case. “This is a paradigmatic antitrust class action,” the judge wrote, and a trial to determine damages has been set for later this year. As a reminder, Apple was found guilty of fixing prices in its digital iBookstore back in July 2013, and at the time we explained:
Over a three-week civil antitrust trial, which ended June 20, the Justice Department said that Apple agreed with the publishers in January 2010 to allow them set a higher price for best sellers and new releases in response to the publishers’ “Amazon problem”: a $9.99 price point for those books on Amazon.com Inc. As a result, prices for e-book best sellers rose to $12.99 and $14.99, the government claimed in its lawsuit.
Though Apple is appealing this decision, Cupertino now has another problem on its hands. Reuters continues: “Cote on Friday also denied Apple’s motion to exclude the opinions of the plaintiffs’ damages expert.” On the other hand two of Apple’s damages experts had their opinions thrown out of court, with Cote claiming that their conclusions were not based on the “rigorous application of economic methods.”
The publication adds that the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Steve Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, said: “We are thrilled with the win.”
It seems the trial should begin in July or September, and damages could be up to hundreds of millions of dollars in value. We’ll keep you updated with further information as we receive it.
In the meantime, see: Could This Be The Display Apple Uses In Its iPhone 6?, BlackBerry Wins Patent Ruling Against Ryan Seacrest’s Typo iPhone Keyboard Case, and Microsoft To Update Office Apps For iPad With Support For Printing Functions.