Apple Agrees to Pay $2.29 Million Fine for Aussie iPad Ads

Apple in AustraliaApple has agreed to pay a US$2.29 million fine (AUS$2.25 million) for using the term “4G” to brand its new iPad in Australia even though the devices don’t work on any of Australia’s 4G networks. Apple also agreed to pay $307,500 (AUS$300,000) in court costs for the trial that found the company guilty of violating the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), which protects consumers from deceptive advertising, among other things.

Apple was sued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission after it introduced its new iPad with WiFi + 4G in the Australian market. While the device works on some 4G networks in the U.S. and some other countries, it does not work with any of the 4G networks Down Under.

Apple was found guilty of violating the ACL earlier this year, and the above-mentioned fine was established in June, but The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the judge had delayed the case for a week while he received confidential business information from Apple about is Australian operations. Apple’s agreement to pay the fine really means that the company will no longer fight the case, and will take its lumps and move forward.

In discussing the agreement in a ruling, Justice Mordecai Bromberg of the Federal Court in Victoria acknowledged the difficulty of levelling a fine on one of the richest corporations on the planet. Apple’s size, he wrote, “diminishes the meaningfulness of the proposed penalty.”

He added that, “Apple’s admitted contraventions were not trivial {and were deliberate because] Apple’s desire for global uniformity was given a greater priority than the need to ensure compliance with the Australian Consumer Law.”

We should note that may be one of the most salient descriptions of Apple we’ve seen come out of a courtroom during the last three years of global court battles the company has been engaged in.

Be that as it may, the judge wrote that he believes that Apple was unlikely to make the same mistake again, and he noted that Apple took a hit to its reputation in Australia because of this case.

In other words, while Apple may be able to pay this fine by rummaging for change in CEO Tim Cook’s waiting room couch, the judge believes that Apple realized its error and has learned a lesson.