At Wednesday afternoon’s hearing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the first since the filing of the anti-trust suit against Apple and five publishers by the Department of Justice, Apple attorney Daniel Floyd asked to go to trial. As reported by Reuters, Floyd told Judge Denise Cote, “Our basic view is that we would like the case to be decided on the merits. We believe that this is not an appropriate case against us and we would like to validate that.”
According to the government suit, e-book price-fixing began in early 2010 when Apple introduced the iPad. This suit is part of a series of cases that includes a similar antitrust action by 15 U.S. states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as well as an earlier class-action suit over e-book pricing that was consolidated in the New York court. Three publishers—Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster—have already settled, or are in the process of settling, with the U.S. government and with the states. The other two, like Apple, maintain that they have done nothing wrong.
Today’s [Toronto] Star reports that an e-book pricing class action lawsuit has just been filed north of the border by two Canadian law firms against Apple, five U.S. publishers and their Canadian subsidiaries. It is too soon for the companies to have filed their response. The suits, one in Ontario and one in B.C., are likely to be merged.
The European Commission is also investigating antitrust claims against Apple and the publishers. Reuters reports that the Commission received settlement proposals from Apple and four publishers, the same three as in the U.S. plus Macmillan’s parent.
The next hearing in the DoJ case is slated for June 22.