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APPLE FAILS to ditch class action suit over ebook PRICE-FIX fiasco

Do not pass go, do cough (up to) $840m in damages

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Apple has lost its bid to dismiss an $840m class action lawsuit over the ebook price-fixing fiasco.

State attorneys general in 33 states and territories have joined together with lawyers for Apple customers to sue the fruity firm for damages relating to the allegations that it worked with five major publishers to fix prices and loosen Amazon's growing stranglehold on the emerging market.

A US court found the company guilty of conspiring to fix prices last year, but Apple is in the midst of appealing the ruling.

Although the firm eventually bowed to the court order that it take on an antitrust compliance monitor and has agreed not to enter into certain types of contracts with book publishers, it still claims it shouldn't have to pay any damages, because it claims that the states have not said that they suffered any harm.

The five publishers involved, Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan, have all settled with the states and are paying more than $166m in refunds to deal with the charges.

Cote said that the states had shown in the earlier trial against Apple that they and their citizens had suffered concrete injury from Apple's part in setting price caps on ebooks.

"Based on this record, it is easy to conclude that the states have standing to bring this lawsuit against publishers and Apple for injunctive relief and damages," she said in her order.

"The States have both articulated and shown an injury in fact to their economies, a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of and that it is likely that the injury will be redressed by a favourable decision.

"Apple has cited no authority to support the distinction it is advocating here between the standing to seek an end to an antitrust violation and the standing to seek damages for that violation," she added.

The states are looking for damages of around $840m from Apple for the injury to their citizens, on top of the court orders already applied to the firm. ®

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