Judge Throws Out iBrick Suit

Apple vs. OMGIMGONNAWINAMILLIONDOLLARS!A federal judge this week threw out a lawsuit against Apple that accused the company of releasing iOS software upgrades that deliberately made older phones run slow in an underhanded effort to have consumers purchase newer iPhones.

In June 2010, Apple released iOS 4 as a free download to all iPhone models available at the time with the exception of the original iPhone. However, some iPhone 3G owners complained that their phones ran slow and hot after the upgrade. In a rare move, Apple acknowledged the complaints, investigated the issue, and in September 2010 released iOS 4.1 which addressed these issues.

Not satisfied with that, Bianca Wofford of San Diego, California filed a complaint in November 2010 that the newly downloaded iOS 4 turned her iPhone 3G into an “iBrick.” She asked for $5,000 for herself and every other iPhone 3 or 3G owner in the state that had seen reduced performance with the upgrade.

PaidContent.org reported that on Tuesday, Judge Anthony Battaglia dismissed the complaint for several reasons. First, a free software upgrade is considered neither a sale nor a lease under California’s Consumer Legal Remedy Act, so that piece of law did not apply. He also didn’t consider the software upgrade either a good or a service according to the law, so any claims of false or deceptive advertising weren’t applicable. After a few more legal nuances, the judge concluded to dismiss the lawsuit.

The plaintiff does have 30 days in which to file an amendment. However, given the arguments against the case and the fact that Wofford also agreed to the download license for the upgrade, it doesn’t seem an amendment would make a difference. It appears to be a cut and dried win for Apple in this instance.