Apple Resellers Retain New, Experienced Counsel

Five Apple resellers have retained new lawyers in their legal fight with Apple Computer over what they claim was the companies systamatic attempt to put them out of business.

The Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal reports the new lead counsel is David Franklin, of San Diego, along with two additional unnamed litigants from San Diego and Tennessee. They replace Marcus Merchasin, of San Francisco, who filed the original lawsuit in 2003.

Mr. Franklin litigated a similar suit in the early 1980s against the company that issued FotoMat franchises. The franchisees accused the franchisor of opening its own FotoMats near the franchise outlets and engaging in other tactics to hurt their sales and increase their costs so they became unprofitable, he said. The 2-month long trial ended in a settlement.

The dealers, lead by Tom Santos, owner of MACadam Computers Inc. in San Francisco, have accused Apple of breach of contract, unfair competition, intentional interference with economic advantage and other offenses.

The group operates the Web site.

A hearing in the case is set for Jan. 25 in San Jose.