Legal scholars opined that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has a slim chance to overturn the decision of the court that it was guilty of conspiracy with publishers to fix the prices of e-books and eliminate competition in the market, according to John Paczkowski of AllThingsD.
Apple Vowed To Appeal
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) through its spokesperson, Tom Neumayr vowed to appeal the ruling of U.S. District Judge Denise Cote and strongly maintained the argument that the tech giant did nothing wrong instead it promoted innovation and competition.
According to legal scholars, Judge Cote’s decision was heavily based on facts and laws were meticulously applied, which is difficult to challenge in an appellate court. One of the evidences used by the Judge was a video interview between Steve Jobs and Walt Mossberg during the launching of the iBookstore.
In the video, Mossberg asked Jobs why would anyone pay $14.99 for the same e-book, which is only $9.99 at Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). Jobs responded that the case wasn’t like that. According to him, “The prices will be the same.”
Opinions from Legal Scholars
Legal scholars expressed uncertainty regarding the chances of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to prevail an appeal citing that Judge Cote used extensive factual findings and meticulously applied the law in her ruling. According to them, it would be difficult to challenge the ruling.
“Apple will appeal once the damages trial is complete, but I wouldn’t be very confident on their chances,” commented Stanford law professor, Mark Lemley.
He also opined that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has little opportunity to take the fight all the way to the Supreme Court. He said, “The Supreme Court? It’s possible, but unlikely. The case seems heavily dependent on the facts, not on a new question of law.”
Pam Samuelson, the Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law and Information at the University of California, Berkeley also opined that undertaking the appeal could be a daunting one for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
“Apple may have a tough time getting this ruling reversed because the judge made findings of fact about the antitrust violation that appellate courts typically defer to. Most reversals happen as to interpretations of the law,” said Samuelson.
Cote Found Apple’s Actions In Violation Of Anti-Trust Law
Samuelson emphasized that Cote found the actions of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in violation of the antitrust law, which is essentially illegal and there is no need to prove the anticompetitive effect of the company’s actions in the e-book market. In addition, the law professor pointed out the Judge Cote’s decision was based heavily on facts, which leaves very little room for an appellate court to overturn it.
Former DOJ official and dean of the University of Colorado Law School, Philip Weiser expressed the same opinion that it would be hard to reverse Judge Cote’s ruling. According to him, “This is a decisive defeat for Apple’s theory of the case. It will have a significant hurdle on appeal given the judge’s careful findings.”
Weiser said that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) needs to convince the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that Judge Cote committed an error in applying a law in the ruling, but he pointed out that such opportunity is slim.
“As a general matter per se, rulings are uncommon but nakedly anticompetitive agreements among competitors are still firmly in that category. Apple’s challenge is thus to find a way to distinguish the facts of this case from that category, and the judge firmly rejected its arguments on that score,” said Weiser.