Apple agrees to pay up to US$400 million in ebooks price-fixing case

Grant Gross
17 July, 2014
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Apple-ebook-trial-macworld-australia1Apple has reached a settlement in a long-standing case that accused the company of fixing the price on ebooks, with the company paying up to US$400 million, depending on the outcome of its appeal in the case, a law firm has announced.

Apple would pay the US$400 million in the class-action lawsuit if its appeal of a 2013 court ruling that found the company guilty of antitrust violations is dismissed, said class-action law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, which is representing ebook customers in 19 US states and four US territories.

If the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reverses and remands the case back to district court, the settlement agreement calls for Apple to pay consumers US$50 million to settle their claims, the law firm said. The US Department of Justice and several state attorneys general would be free to continue pressing their claims if that happens, the law firm said.

If the court of appeals reverses the 2013 decision by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, Apple would pay no damages, the law firm said.

The law firm believes the appeals court will uphold the lower court’s decision, Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, said in a statement.

Apple representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the settlement.

The DOJ, in April 2012, filed an antitrust complaint accusing Apple and five book publishers of fixing the prices of ebooks.

Before this settlement, Hagens Berman and the state attorneys general have agreed to US$166 million in settlements on behalf of consumers from the five publishing companies.

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