Apple Petitions US Supreme Court to Toss Ebook Antitrust Decision

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Apple Petitions US Supreme Court to Toss Ebook Antitrust Decision
Apple Inc has asked the US Supreme Court to overturn an appellate court decision that found the iPad maker conspired with five publishers to increase ebook prices.

Apple asked the high court on Wednesday to review a June ruling that favoured the US Department of Justice, and found the company liable for engaging in a conspiracy that violated federal antitrust laws.

If upheld, the decision would also force Apple to pay consumers $450 million under a 2014 settlement with 33 state attorneys general and consumers that was contingent on the company's civil liability being upheld.

Apple in its petition said the June decision by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York contradicted Supreme Court precedent and would "chill innovation and risk taking."

"The Second Circuit's decision will harm competition and the national economy," Apple wrote.

The Justice Department declined to comment on Thursday.

The 2nd Circuit's ruling followed a July 2013 decision by US District Judge Denise Cote after a non-jury trial that Apple played a "central role" in a conspiracy with publishers to eliminate retail price competition and raise ebook prices.

The Justice Department said the scheme caused some ebook prices to rise to $12.99 or $14.99 from the $9.99 price charged by market leader Amazon Inc.

Publishers that the Justice Department said conspired with Apple include Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group Inc, News Corp's HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Penguin Group Inc, CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster Inc and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH's Macmillan.

© Thomson Reuters 2015


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