Apple Computer said Tuesday it is a defendant in five separate purported class-action lawsuits accusing the company of misrepresenting claims of the battery life in its popular iPod digital music player.
The details of the lawsuits were part of the companyis quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The lawsuits allege violation of a California law for unfair competition and violation of Californiais Consumer Legal Remedies Act. The suits also accuse Apple of false advertising, fraudulent concealment and breach of warranty. The lawsuits seek unspecified damages and other relief.
The five plaintiffs - identified only by the last names of Chin, Keegan, Hughes, Westly and Craft - filed their suits in California in late December of last year. The plaintiffs have filed a motion to consolidate their claims in San Mateo County, Calif., but Apple is opposing the consolidation saying Santa Clara County, Calif. would be a more appropriate venue.
iPod users have been complaining about iPod battery life for some time, particularly starting with the 3rd generation of the units introduced in 2003. The issue gained some notoriety when Casey Neistat and his brother began a guerilla marketing campaign saying "iPodis unreplaceable battery lasts only 18 months." The brothers then filmed their efforts and released a video at iPodsDirtySecret.com that quickly swept the Internet. Wether or not it was related to this campaign, it was shortly thereafter that Apple began offering a battery replacement service for US$99.
In another legal action against Apple, the company said it is one of eight defendants named in a patent infringement lawsuit filed by East Texas Technology Partners on January 23 . The company said the lawsuit alleges infringement on patent 6,574,239 relating to "virtual connection of a remote unit to a server."
East Technology Partners is seeking unspecified damages and relief. The filing did not provide additional information on who the other seven defendants were named in the lawsuit.
Apple was also named as a defendant in a purported class-action lawsuit filed by a plaintiff on January 9 in California, alleging "improper collection of sales tax in transactions involving mail-in rebates." The company said the lawsuit alleges violations of a California law relating to unfair competition and seeks unspecified damages and other relief. Apple Computer said it was served the lawsuit on Jan. 21 and is beginning its investigation of the allegations. The lawsuit was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court.