Judge OKs iPhone class action against Apple, AT&T

Jul 12, 2010

(AP) -- A federal judge says a monopoly abuse lawsuit against Apple Inc. and AT&T Inc.'s mobile phone unit can move forward as a class action.

The consolidates several filed by iPhone buyers starting in late 2007, a few months after the first generation of Apple's smart phone went on sale.

An amended complaint filed in June 2008 takes issue with Apple's practice of "locking" iPhones so they can only be used on AT&T's network, and its absolute control over what applications iPhone owners can and cannot install on the gadgets.

The lawsuit also says Apple secretly made AT&T its exclusive iPhone partner in the U.S. for five years. Consumers agreed to two-year contracts with the Dallas-based wireless carrier when they purchased their phones, but were in effect locked into a five-year relationship with AT&T, the lawsuit argued.

The actions hurt competition and drove up prices for consumers, the lawsuit claims.

Apple and AT&T have not commented on the terms of their deal. In its response to the complaint, Cupertino, California-based Apple said it did not hurt competition.

In court documents filed July 8, Judge James Ware of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said parts of the lawsuit that deal with violations to antitrust law can continue as a class action. The class includes anyone who bought an iPhone with a two-year AT&T agreement since the device first went on sale in June 2007.

Apple has sold more than 50 million iPhones in the last three years. The company does not specify how many have gone to U.S. customers.

Ware dismissed other claims against Apple, among them allegations that the company broke laws when an update to the iPhone's operating software caused some phones to stop working and deleted programs that users had purchased.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction to keep from selling locked iPhones in the U.S. and from determining what iPhone programs people can install. It also seeks damages to cover legal fees and other costs.

Explore further: Apple, Samsung lose ground in cooling tablet market

4.8 /5 (4 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Microsoft reaches licensing deal on HTC phones

Apr 28, 2010

(AP) -- Microsoft Corp. says it has patents covering phones that use Google Inc.'s Android software - but unlike Apple Inc., Microsoft has reached a licensing deal rather than suing over the software.

Nokia expands patent dispute beyond Apple iPhone

Dec 29, 2009

(AP) -- Nokia Corp. is broadening a legal dispute it already has with Apple Inc. over the iPhone, saying almost all of the company's other products also violate the Finnish phone maker's patents.

Apple countersues Nokia over phone patents

Dec 11, 2009

(AP) -- Apple Inc. is suing cell phone maker Nokia Corp. for patent infringement, a countermove to Nokia's earlier suit against technologies used in Apple's iPhone.

Del. judge puts Nokia-Apple patent fight on hold

Mar 04, 2010

(AP) -- A federal judge in Delaware has agreed to put a patent fight between Apple Inc. and Finnish phone maker Nokia on hold pending resolution of their competing claims before the International Trade Commission.

Recommended for you

Nokia profits rise after sale of handset division

8 hours ago

(AP)—Telecommunications and wireless equipment maker Nokia Corp. saw its shares surge on Thursday after it reported higher profits and an improved earnings outlook in the wake of its sale to Microsoft of its troubled handset ...

Swiss drug maker Roche posts 7 percent profit drop

10 hours ago

(AP)—Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG on Thursday posted a net profit drop of 7 percent compared with a year ago, weighed down by a strong Swiss franc and charges from one of its diagnostic units.

Cheaper wireless plans cut into AT&T 2Q profit

21 hours ago

(AP)—AT&T Inc. on Wednesday posted lower net income for the latest quarter due to cheaper cellphone plans it introduced as a response to aggressive pricing from smaller competitor T-Mobile US.

Facebook 2Q earnings, revenue soar (Update)

21 hours ago

(AP)—Facebook is on a roll. The world's largest online social network posted sharply higher earnings on Wednesday as revenue from mobile advertising continued to grow, and more people used it, more often.

User comments : 0