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Judge Worried About Apple E-Book Deal

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One judge is less than pleased with a recent e-book deal that involves Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). United States District Judge Denise Cote disapproves of Apple’s decision to agree with $450 million settlement. The settlement comes after a battle involving fixed e-book pricing.

Concerns for consumers

Judge Cote is concerned over the provision that would lower the cost Apple would have to pay if the company was re-tried. She even told Reuters her concern regarding the terms of the settlement. Apple made an agreement to pay $400 million into a fund for consumer compensation, $20 million for state cases, and $30 million to class counsel if it lost the ongoing appeal.

Should the same courts that found Apple guilty of price-fixing isn’t affirmed and the liability is remanded, Apple could pay $50 million to consumers, $10 million to states and another $10 million to counsel. If Apple isn’t found guilty, it won’t have to pay anything. Cote saw a problem with consumers getting a lot less money with the second option. Steve Berman, the attorney representing customers, thinks that is an unlikely scenario.

Apple vs. DOJ

The whole case first starts out in early 2012 when the Department of Justice sued Apple, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin, and Macmillan over an e-book price fixing scheme. There were also state-level lawsuits filed around that same time. Although the publishers reached a settlement with the government, Apple fought back. Last year the courts found the company guilty of fixing prices but the iPhone maker is fighting back with an appeal.

Apple is a popular target for lawsuits. Last year, the company was hit with more patent lawsuits than any other company with a total of 59. That was nine more their online retail giant Amazon. To be fair, it is usually tech corporations that are prime target for litigations. Other tech companies which are frequently sued include AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG), and HTC Corp (TPE:2498).

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Anna Peel

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