Apple sued over Nano scratches

Would-be class action claims foul play

Apple knew its iPod Nano was susceptible to scratching but chose to ship the product anyway - so claims a lawsuit filed against the Mac maker last week.

The complaint was filed in US District Court in San Jose California by Seattle-based lawyers Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro (HBSS) on behalf of California resident Jason Tomczak.

The complaint alleges the Nano "is defectively designed, allowing the screen to quickly become scratched with normal use". The suit also claims "the excessive, rapid wear renders the device unusable".

Apple, the plaintiff alleges, was aware of the problem, but chose to launch the Nano anyway. The Mac maker's behaviour was "deceptive and unlawful", the complaint maintains.

"Rather than admit the design flaw when consumers began to express widespread complaints... Apple concealed the defect and advised class members that they would need to purchase additional equipment to prevent the screen from scratching excessively," the complaint said.

It seeks the return of money the plaintiff spent on his Nano and costs arising from its return, replacement and return of the replacement for the same reason.

While it does not yet have class action status, HBSS is hoping the District Court judge assigned to the case will allow it to be so classified.

In September, Apple admitted that a small batch of Nanos contained a manufacturing fault that could cause the screen to crack. However, it did not accept allegations that the player's plastic shell was susceptible to scratching. It maintains the Nano is made of the same polycarbonate as previous iPods, none of which have yielded quite so many online complaints of scratching.

HBSS is currently representing one of the individual plaintiffs suing Intel on the back of AMD's anti-trust action against the chip giant. Like the Nano lawsuit, the Intel complaint alleges behaviour in contravention of California consumer law. ®