Attorney General Jepsen: District Court Finds Apple
Violated Law in eBook Price-fixing Scheme
Court to schedule trial on request for injunctive relief and damages
A federal judge has ruled that Apple Inc. violated federal and state law in conspiring to fix prices in the market for electronic books, or eBooks, a decision that Attorney General George Jepsen today welcomed.
In the order, Judge Denise L. Cote of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said that evidence presented in a trial held last month had shown that Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing a conspiracy designed to eliminate retail price competition in order to raise eBook prices. A trial on the request for injunctive relief and damages will now be scheduled.
“As we have said throughout our investigation, consumers are entitled to a fair, open and competitive marketplace,” Attorney General Jepsen said. “The judge found, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Apple conspired to restrain the marketplace for eBooks. This is a welcome decision for consumers and, as we move into the next phase of this trial, we will continue to aggressively seek compensation for those who have been injured by this conspiracy.”
In February, the Attorney General announced that Holtzbrinck, LLC, d/b/a Macmillan, had agreed to settle the same claims against it for the payment of $12 million to consumers in the participating states. A $75 million settlement agreement with Penguin was announced in May.
Also in February, Judge Cote granted approval of previous settlements with eBook publishers Hachette Book Group, Inc., Harper Collins Publishers LLC and Simon & Schuster, Inc. related to the same conduct. These previous settlements were joined by the attorneys general of 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. To date, approximately $164 million has been recovered through settlements for consumers nationwide.
The litigation and settlements stem from a two-year investigation conducted by the Offices of the Connecticut and Texas Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice. Attorney General Jepsen today thanked the Department of Justice, the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the additional participating states for their partnership.
For consumer information on the previously approved settlements, please visit www.ebookagsettlements.com
or call the eBooks settlement hotline at 1-866-621-4153.
The Attorney General praised his staff team – Assistant Attorneys General Joseph Nielsen, Gary Becker, Richard Porter and Kirsten Rigney; Paralegal Holly MacDonald; and Assistant Attorney General Michael Cole, chief of the Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Department – for their hard work on this case, which helped lead to the favorable decision.
Attorney General Jepsen serves as co-chair of the Antitrust Committee for the National Association of Attorneys General.
Jaclyn M. Falkowski