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February 4, 2014

Apple faces $840m damages claim for alleged e-book price fixing

Class action suit for customers in 33 US states.

By CBR Staff Writer

Apple is facing with $840m in state and consumer antitrust claims over e-book pricing ‘conspiracy’ with publishing firms. The Cupertino-based company is accused of trying set the price of e-books across the industry.

Filed by attorney Steve Berman leading a class action suit for e-books customers in 33 US states, the latest claim states that the iPhone-maker owes American e-books users at least of $231m in damages, and perhaps more money than that.

Last July, US District Judge Denise Cote found that the company had devised a scheme along with the e-book publishers to fix the prices of e-books.

In addition, Berman pointed out that there has been 18.1% rise in ebooks sales, or a total $280m worth of sales and urged the judge to force the iPhone maker to triple the amount, which could be effectively divided between plaintiffs.

Apple is currently seeking a hearing on the court appointed monitor appointed as part of a legal agreement in 2013 when the US firm had been allegedly found to have ‘colluded’ to raise the retail price of e-books.

Apple said in its filing that the monitorship the district court imposed on Apple is unprecedented, impermissible and unconstitutional.

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"The court authorised the monitor to exercise authority that is not ‘judicial’; to engage in ex parte discussions with the plaintiffs, even while the state plaintiffs are seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from Apple in another proceeding; to incur significant and unrecoverable fees that Apple is supposed to pay; and to interview anyone at Apple and demand any Apple documents," a statement read.

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