A Supreme Court decision still looms, but Apple and the Big Five publishers have won a minor legal battle stemming from their 2012 e-book price-fixing case. In separate orders, Judge Denise Cote has tossed a follow-on case filed by three defunct e-book retailers that claimed the alleged 2010 conspiracy to fix e-book prices forced them out of business.
In a 19-page opinion and order filed in December, Cote granted Apple and the publishers’ motion for summary judgment in a case filed by DNAML, with prejudice, holding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue because they were not “the entity injured by the violation of the antitrust laws alleged here." In a separate decision, filed on January 22, Cote dismissed a related case against the agency publishers, filed by Abbey House Media, finding that the company had "not presented sufficient evidence to permit a jury to find that the failure of its business was due to [the e-book price-fixing] conspiracy." In April, 2015, Apple was dismissed from that action after a settlement in which both sides paid their own fees and costs.
First filed by Australian upstart DNAML in September of 2013 (and later joined by Lavoho, LLC, a "successor" to the Diesel eBook Store and Abbey House Media, formerly BooksOnBoard) the suits alleged that the fledgling e-book businesses were harmed "directly and as a proximate result" of the 2010 price-fixing scheme executed by Apple and the five agency publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Penguin).
Correction: this story was updated to include the decision against Abbey House Media. At press time, the related case filed by Diesel was still live.