Judge Cote Denies Apple Request to Stop State Ebook Antitrust Cases

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States can move forward with Apple antitrust caseApple's attempt to dismiss the string of ebook antitrust lawsuits filed against it by several states was shot down by Federal Judge Denise Cote on Tuesday. Several state Attorneys General filed lawsuits accusing Apple of conspiring with publishers to artificially raise the price of books, and Judge Cote -- who already found Apple guilty in the antitrust case filed by the Department of Justice -- said the states can move forward with their trial scheduled for July 14.

The Federal case for antitrust violations was brought against Apple by the Department of Justice. The DOJ argued Apple colluded with book publishers to force prices up, while Apple said it was negotiating independent deals with the companies and trying to break Amazon's monopoly on the market. Judge Cote ruled Apple had orchestrated a price fixing conspiracy, and placed a monitor in the company to watch over future contract negotiations.

The iPhone and iPad maker had hoped to convince Judge Cote that the states hadn't shown they suffered any legal injuries, but Judge Cote disagreed, according to Reuters. In her response to Apple's motion, she said,

Apple has cited no authority to support the distinction it is advocating here between the standing to seek an end to an antitrust violation and the standing to seek damages for that violation.

The 33 states involved in the lawsuit are seeking US$840 million in damages over allegations that they suffered financial harm because Apple and publishers colluded to drive up book prices.

With Judge Cote's decision in place, the states are free to move forward with their lawsuit even as Apple works through the appeal process to get her original ruling overturned. The states, of course, are happy with Judge Cote's ruling. Apple has not offered up any comments.

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It's no surprise that the states get to move forward with their antitrust lawsuit because Judge Cote doesn't think Apple has been able to back up its claims that there wasn't any injury. July should be an interesting month for Apple's legal team.

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I’d be curious to know what damages the states suffered (not the consumers in them but the states themselves) other than increased sales taxes.

John Dingler, artist

The performance of Apple’s crop of lawyers need examination.

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