Apple in court for 3 separate cases Friday


FILE - JULY 10, 2013: It was reported that U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled in favor of the U.S. government that Apple conspired to raise the retail prices of e-books July 10, 2013 in New York City. (Kevork Djansezian/GETTY IMAGES)
August 9, 2013

Apple’s legal team is busy Friday, with the company expecting developments in three major court cases.

The first is a follow-up hearing for Apple’s case with the Department of Justice over the pricing of e-books. Last month, a judge ruled that Apple had worked with publishers to raise the price of e-books — an accusation Apple has repeatedly denied.

While Apple has said it will appeal that decision, the Justice Department has asked that the company be banned from negotiating e-book deals with publishers under its current model for five years, The Washington Post reported. The government is also asking that Apple submit to auditing and be prohibited from entering into any contracts with content providers that could increase prices for consumers.

Apple attorneys, in court filings, said the proposed remedies “violate principles of equity and antitrust law.”

Meanwhile there is also some movement in the ongoing battle between Apple and Samsung over patent infringement. Lawyers from the two firms came before a panel of judges in the Washington, D.C., federal appeals court to discuss whether Samsung should have been allowed to continue selling products found to infringe on Apple patents in a California court last summer. A jury in that case found that more than two dozen Samsung products had infringed on Apple patents. But District Court Judge Lucy Koh denied an Apple request to ban those products from the market, saying that the firm did not show that keeping the Samsung products on the market would harm sales. The appeals court isn’t expected to make its decision for several months.

If Apple succeeds in appealing that decision, however, it could set a precedent for products being banned from the market if there is patent infringement — a big hammer for companies to be able to wield as a part of future settlement negotiations.

This fight is far from over, by the way. Apple and Samsung are due back in court for a second, separate patent infringement suit in March 2014.

Finally, the U.S. International Trade Commission is scheduled to issue a ruling on a software patent dispute Apple brought against Samsung over software patents, which could also result in a sales ban, though as patent blogger Florian Mueller noted, Samsung may be able to minimize the impact of a sales ban by making modifications to its software. A similar case filed by Samsung against Apple resulted in an ITC decision to ban older iPhones and iPads. That ban was lifted by the Obama administration last week.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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