Expressing concern over the proposed USD 450 million E-Book price fixing settlement case between Apple and five publishers, a US judge, who is looking into the case, said that the clauses and provisions of the settlement claim could severely reduce money that is to be paid to consumers depending on appeals.
“I’m concerned about the terms of the settlement,” said US District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan.
Calling the settlement worrisome, the judge said what is ‘most troubling’ is a clause that allows Apple to pay only USD 70 million in case her observations holding the company guilty of antitrust violations is reversed by appeals court for reconsideration.
If the tech giant loses its appeal, it would have to pay USD 400 million to consumers and USD 50 million to the states and territories and plaintiffs’ lawyers. But if Apple wins his appeal and the 2nd Circuit send the case back to Cote for further proceedings or a new trial, Apple would pay just USD 70 million, with USD 50 million for consumers. Moreover, in case the 2nd Circuit reversed the case outright and ended the case, Apple would pay nothing.
Cote, while speaking on a teleconference, argued that whether the provision made in the settlement claim would be fair and in case her observations are reversed then what will happen in this minor issue.
On July 16, Apple agreed to pay USD 450 million for an out-of-court settlement with state district attorneys and action lawyers over fixing e-book prices.
Apple successfully avoided a long and expensive damages trial by first opting for an out-of-court settlement agreement with 33 US states and territories and lawyers for a class of consumers, who have submitted the settlement for judge’s preliminary approval and to avoid the damages trial on August 25.
CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc, Penguin Group (USA) Inc, Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group Inc, News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers LLC and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s Macmillan were the publishers involved in the case.
The trial was scheduled by Cote following the last July ruling that Apple was liable for conspiring with publishers and committing antitrust violations to obstruct e-book competitors like Amazon.
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