iPod Antitrust Lawsuit Finds a New Plaintiff

The class action lawsuit alleging Apple used monopoly power to block competitors from getting into the mobile music market is back on track with a new plaintiff. After Apple showed the previous three plaintiffs hadn't purchased iPods during the time frame specified in the lawsuit, attorneys scrambled to find a replacement, and that turned out to be a 65 year old ice dancer from Boston.

iPod antitrust lawsuit moves forward with a new plaintiffiPod antitrust lawsuit moves forward with a new plaintiff

Barbara Bennett apparently purchased her iPod at the end of 2006, which falls within the lawsuit's requirements.

The case claims Apple used its FairPlay copy protection to block competitors from loading music on iPods, and of changing the software when workarounds were found. The lawsuit also alleges Apple deleted competitor's music from customer's iPods with those software updates.

Attorneys representing the plaintiffs hit a stumbling block when Apple showed none of the people represented in the case had any record of actually purchasing an iPod that qualified for the lawsuit. Judge Yvonne Gonzales gave attorneys until yesterday to find a new plaintiff, which they managed to do.

Apple isn't contesting Ms. Bennett, according to the Wall Street Journal, so now the case can move forward. Both sides are expected to wrap up arguments this week and the jury will return a verdict some time next week.

The plaintiffs are seeing US$350 million in damages.

Should the Jury rule in the plaintiff's favor, Apple is in an excellent position to appeal. The Judge told Apple's legal team the problems with finding a legit plaintiff opened the door for an appeal, which the company will no doubt use to its advantage if it doesn't like the final ruling.