Tags lawsuit

Judge rejects class-action over AppleCare’s subpar replacements, calls lawyer ‘manifestly incompetent’

Apple-Care

Remember that class-action lawsuit alleging AppleCare+ customers were being given subpar replacement products? This week a federal judge rejected the case while calling the plantiffs’ lawyer “manifestly incompetent” and suggesting the counsel orchestrated the entire case.

ArsTechnica reports the judge’s rejection this week claimed the lawyer encouraged the plaintiffs to purchase AppleCare plans and record interactions with Apple employees “for the purpose of initiating this lawsuit.”

But none of the plaintiffs were disgruntled consumers who went looking for a lawyer after getting bad service. Galindo was a paralegal for Renee Kennedy, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit, and Adkins had also worked for Kennedy in the past. Kennedy gave them both “monetary gifts to thank them for their excellent work,” and both women used those “gifts” to buy AppleCare Plus, referred to as “AC+” in court papers.

While the case isn’t entirely over, it won’t be a class-action and therefore will likely be on a much smaller scale than it might have been otherwise (if it doesn’t eventually get thrown out altogether).

Under Apple’s current policy for AppleCare plans, the company promises to “exchange the Covered Equipment with a replacement product that is new or equivalent to new in performance and reliability, and is at least functionally equivalent to the original product.” It’s not always the case — the judge found one plaintiff in the case was actually given a brand new device as a replacement — that’s another way of saying you might get refurbished replacement units (or parts for repairs).


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, AppleCare, Class action, Lawsuit, Refurbished

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Jordan Kahn

January 8th

Apple

Mac

Biometric company’s lawsuit accuses Apple of underhand tactics to gain access to heart-rate tech for Apple Watch

heartrate

Biometric specialist Valencell – whose technology is licensed by iRiver, LG, Sony and others – has filed a lawsuit accusing Apple of using underhand tactics to gain access to its patented technology for use in the Apple Watch.

The company claims that Apple violated three of its patents for improving the accuracy and reliability of heart-rate data when using the photoplethysmography (PPG) approach used in the Apple Watch. But the lawsuit alleges more than just patent infringement, reports AI: it also claims that Apple used deceptive techniques to get access to the technology …

Specifically, it suggests that Apple feigned interest in a partnership agreement with Valencell, and that IP addresses belonging to Apple were used to download white papers using fake contact details.

 Apple […] obtained such white papers by providing fictitious information. On March 27, 2013 and May 5, 2014, one or more Apple agents downloaded the “PerformTek Precision Biometrics: Engaging the Burgeoning Mobile Health and Fitness Market” white paper from Valencell using fictitious names. On March 10, 2014 and April 23, 2015, one or more Apple agents downloaded the “Earbud-Based Sensor for the Assessment of Energy Expenditure, Heart Rate, and VO2 max” white paper from Valencell using fictitious names. On April 1, 2015 an Apple agent downloaded the “Earbud-Based Sensor for the Assessment of Energy Expenditure, Heart Rate, and VO2 max” white paper from Valencell using a fictitious

It alleges that seven Apple employees did this. The lawsuit names these individuals, and says that all seven not only worked on the Apple Watch, but were specifically involved in development of the heart-rate sensor.

A separate lawsuit makes similar allegations against Fitbit for technology used in the Charge HR and Surge.

In the run-up to the launch of the Watch, Apple focused attention on the advanced heart-rate monitoring capabilities of the device, whose accuracy has been found to rival dedicated monitors. The company adjusted the behaviour of the heart-rate monitor in watchOS 1.0.1.

We have invited Apple to comment on the allegations and will update with any response received.


Filed under: Apple Watch Tagged: Apple Inc, Apple watch, Fitbit, fitness, Health, heart rate, Lawsuit, Valencell

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Ben Lovejoy

January 5th

Apple

Mac

Apple hit with class action lawsuit over iOS 9’s performance on older iPhones

ios-9-features

In a new class action lawsuit, Apple is being accused of deceptive trade practices and false advertising due to its claims of iOS 9 being compatible with older iOS devices, primarily the iPhone 4s. The lawsuit claims that iOS “significantly interferes” with the performance of the iPhone 4s and that Apple is in the wrong for not allow users to downgrade to older versions of the operating system.

The lawsuit, which has more than 100 backers, goes as far to say that the iPhone 4s was rendered essentially unusable by the iOS 9 update (via AI). The members of the suit claim that app performance, of both first- and third-party apps, was hindered by the update, as was general device performance and touchscreen responsiveness. Some members claim they experienced freezes and crashes, as well.

The actual performance of the device is just the beginning of the suit, however. The lawsuit asserts that Apple, through “internal testing and/or through other means,” was aware of the effects iOS 9 would have on the iPhone 4s, yet it went through with the update and even advertised things like increased performance and battery life as improvements in the update. The plaintiffs argue that Apple should have at least warned iPhone 4s owners of the potential issues.

It doesn’t stop there, however. The suit goes on to argue that because of the iOS ecosystem, users are far more likely to buy a new iOS device than switch to a competition platform like Android. The plaintiffs argue that users don’t want to reinvest in nontransferable content such as apps.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are seeking more than $5 million in damages.

iOS 9 was criticized across the board when it first launched for slowing down even the newest generation devices. In our poll, 43 percent of some 33,000 responders said their iPhone was “significantly slower after the update.” iOS 9.1, however, claimed to fix that issue for most. The plaintiffs in this case, however, argue that the primary issue is “planned obsolescence” on Apple’s part.


Filed under: iOS, iOS Devices Tagged: Apple, iOS 9, iPhone 4S, Lawsuit, legal

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Chance Miller

December 30th

Apple

Mac

Lawsuit against Apple for undelivered texts to Android phones now completely dismissed

imessages

Back in August, U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh threw out a class action lawsuit against Apple from former iPhone users complaining that text messages were no longer delivered when they ported their number to an Android phone. The lawsuit alleged that Apple was guilty of “interference” with their messages.

That wasn’t quite the end of it, however. Three of the plaintiffs persisted in individual claims against Apple, alleging that the company was in breach of the Federal Wire Tap Act by ‘intercepting’ their messages. The court has now dismissed these claims – with, it turns out, very good reason …

As Business Insider reports, Apple requested a dismissal after discovering that the claim appeared to be spurious.

Apple […] discovered that two of the three plaintiffs in the case had gotten rid of their old iPhones after they filed the suit against Apple. They are thus unable to demonstrate whether texts sent to their phone numbers went to their Apple or Android devices, Apple claimed. One of the plaintiffs also previously asked that she be dismissed as a “named plaintiff” in the case.

The three plaintiffs were a husband, wife and family friend. Judge Lucy Koh dismissed the case in a single-paragraph order.

The Court has granted the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Apple Inc. See ECF No. 112. Accordingly, the Clerk of the Court shall enter judgment in favor of Defendant. The Clerk shall close the file. IT IS SO ORDERED.

The original issue appeared to have been caused by a bug in the iMessage system, arising where someone switched to an Android phone without first disabling iMessage on their iPhone. While Apple later solved the problem by creating a web-based tool, it continues to recommend that people switch off iMessage on their iPhone before switching devices.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices Tagged: Android, Apple Inc, Class action, class action lawsuit, iMessage, iMessage bug, iMessages, Lawsuit

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Ben Lovejoy

December 23rd

Apple

Mac

Apple facing second (unrelated) lawsuit over excess data usage, this one for iPhone 5/5s

DSC_3401

Apple is already facing one class action lawsuit alleging that customers were unknowingly using up substantial amounts of mobile data, and it now faces a second.

The issue at stake in this new suit is that the iPhone 5/5s could silently switch from WiFi to LTE under some circumstances, resulting in mobile data usage even when the phone was on WiFi. This was fixed for Verizon users back in September 2012, but law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP claims that Apple didn’t fix it for AT&T users until more than two years later.

According to the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose, Apple knew about the defect “almost immediately,” yet failed to fix it for AT&T wireless subscribers for years, and did not even disclose the defect. The defect affected all versions of iOS 6 and 7 and was only resolved with the release of iOS 8.1 in October 2014.

The firm said that the problem occurred when streaming video, when the phone was working so intensively it shut down other functions to cope, causing it to switch off WiFi. (Swift here refers to the name of the CPU on the A6/A7 chip rather than the programming language.)

In the iPhone 5 and 5S, when a consumer streamed high volumes of data for a period even as short as a couple of minutes, the graphics processing unit (GPU) would take over all video decompression, decoding and presentation to the display. Because the Swift central processing unit (CPU) no longer played a role in the video decompression, decoding and presentation process, the Swift CPU would go to sleep to conserve battery life. Once the Swift CPU was asleep, the iPhone 5 and 5S would automatically switch from streaming data via a Wi-Fi signal to streaming data via a cellular signal.

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP said that because Apple was allegedly aware of the defect but failed to either fix it or warn customers, the company violated California consumer laws, “including the Unfair Competition Law, the Consumers Legal Remedies Act and the False Advertising Law.”

Anyone wanting to join the class action suit can do so via the firm’s website.

Photo: AnandTech


Filed under: iOS Devices Tagged: Apple Inc, AT&T, class action lawsuit, iPhone, Lawsuit, LTE, mobile data, mobile data lawsuit, Verizon, Wi-Fi

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Ben Lovejoy

December 18th

Apple

Mac

VW Hires GM Ignition-Switch Attorney To Develop A ‘Menu Of Remedies’ For Diesel Owners

With Volkswagen facing over 500 lawsuits in the wake of developing and fitting an emissions-cheating defeat device to millions of its diesel vehicles, the company has hired Ken Feinberg to oversee its Dieselgate woes—the attorney who oversaw the compensation program for the General Motors ignition-switch defect.

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December 18th

Uncategorized

California judge dismisses class action suit against Apple over retail worker bag searches

tim-cook

Nearly a year ago, a federal judge dismissed a class action lawsuit Apple employees filed against the company for wages they lost while standing in bag-check lines for 10 to 15 minutes before and after their shifts. The case, however, lived on in California. Until today, that is. According to a report out of Bloomberg, a San Francisco judge has today sided with Apple in the case, saying employees could have easily avoided the checks.

The case would have seen Apple compensating as many as 12,400 former and current employees across 52 retail locations a “few dollars a day” for the time spent undergoing bag checks. The employees argued that since the checks were mandatory, they should have been compensated for them. Estimates showed that Apple could have been on the hook for as much as $60 million.

The judge, however, sided with Apple and stated that the employees could have forgone the bag checks by not bringing bags with them in the first place. “It is undisputed that some employees did not bring bags to work and thereby did not have to be searched when they left the store,” U.S. District Judge William Alsup said today in the ruling.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Tim Cook was largely unaware of both the lawsuit and the policy of checking employee bags. When two employees complained directly to Cook about the issue, he forwarded the email to his HR executives, asking “Is this true?”

Following today’s ruling in San Francisco, the employees in the case said they are continuing to explore their options, but for now, it appears Apple will not be forced to compensate employees for the checks.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, Apple Stores, Lawsuit, retail, Tim Cook

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Chance Miller

November 8th

Apple

Mac

Lawsuit against Apple, Google & others for ‘Do not hire’ agreements ends as settlement deal finalized

A class action lawsuit against Apple, Google and other tech companies for agreeing not to poach each other’s employees has finally been settled. Steve Jobs, Google’s Eric Schmidt and others had agreed in emails not to offer higher salaries to each other’s employees in order to reduce the risk of losing valuable employees. When the emails came to light, the 64,000 employees affected successfully argued that this had limited their earning potential.

After Apple’s originally settlement offers were rejected by Judge Lucy Koh as inadequate, the company increased its offer to $415M, which the judge agreed was fair. Reuters reports that Koh has now granted final approval of this sum.

Koh did, however, reject the $81M cut the lawyers in the case had demanded … 

Koh decided such an award would be an inappropriate “windfall” for the lawyers, and awarded about $40 million instead.

It’s of course not the first time that emails from Steve Jobs have gotten Apple into trouble. Such emails formed key evidence in both ebook and iPod antitrust cases.

Image: NLM Studios


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Adobe Systems, Apple Inc, Apple lawsuit, Apple lawsuits, Class action, Eric Schmidt, Google, Lawsuit, Lucy H Koh, Steve Jobs, trial

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Ben Lovejoy

September 3rd

Apple

Mac

U.S. Patent Office invalidates an original iPhone patent in Samsung lawsuit

Screenshot 2015-08-17 22.10.41

Earlier this month, the United States Patent Office made a non-final ruling that one of Apple’s design patents for the original iPhone is invalid within Apple’s long-running lawsuit against Samsung, according to a report from FOSS Patents. This particular patent, as seen in the drawings above, references the overall design of the original iPhone launched in 2007. It is known as the “D’677” patent in court proceedings and legal documents. FOSS explains the reasoning behind the invalidation:

The problem the D’677 patent faces here is that the USPTO has determined (for now) that this patent “is not entitled to benefit of the filing date” of two previous Apple design patent applications because the design at issue was not disclosed in those earlier applications. As a result, certain prior art is eligible now, and against the background of that additional prior art, the USPTO believes the patent shouldn’t have been granted.

One reason for the invalidation at this point in the proceedings is that this particular patent was not disclosed by Apple in earlier patent applications, according to FOSS Patents. Additionally, as the report notes, this patent was already deemed by the USPTO to not be valid on four occasions due to comparisons with patents from LG and Sharp.

As Apple initially won the lawsuit in late 2014 against Samsung for iPhone design patents, and as Samsung’s latest appeal in the case was actually rejected just last week, it does not appear that this new patent invalidation will affect Apple’s odds of collecting over half a billion dollars from Samsung in patent infringement penalties. According to today’s report, it invalidation could only come into play if the “Supreme Court [becomes] interested in looking into this issue now and [overrules] the Federal Circuit.”


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS, iOS Devices Tagged: Appeals, Apple, design, Galaxy, iPhone, Jony Ive, Lawsuit, lg, Patent, Samsung, Sharp, Supreme Court

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Mark Gurman

August 18th

Apple

Mac

Judge dismisses lawsuit over iMessage bug that caused undelivered texts to Android switchers

iMessage iPhone 6 21

U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh today decided to stop a group lawsuit against Apple over undelivered text messages caused by an iMessage bug, Bloomberg reports. The issue drew a lot of attention last year when the bug with Apple’s messaging system caused former iPhone users that switched to Android to discover text messages were not being properly delivered to their phone number. In dismissing the lawsuit, Judge Koh explained that while Apple’s iMessage system may have resulted in lost text messages, their was inadequate evidence that the group faced a “contractual breach or interference” from iMessage…

Switching from Apple’s Internet-based iMessage system, which is only available on Apple devices, to non-iMessage SMS/MMS messaging used by Android and other smartphones required actively disabling the iMessage feature on iPhone before switching to avoid lost text messages.

News first surfaced that Apple would potentially face a group lawsuit over the text message delivery issue for former iPhone users in May 2014. This plus the attention around the issue lead Apple in November to release an online tool for current and former iMessage users to deregister phone numbers with Apple’s messaging platform without needing the iPhone originally used with the service. Just two days later, we learned that Judge Koh decided Apple would indeed have to face the lawsuit over iMessage preventing texts from being delivered.

Today’s development in dismissing the case over an inability to provide evidence of proper interference means Apple will not have to pour resources into defending itself in the lawsuit.

The issue with iMessage holding on to phone numbers after switching remains mostly unchanged, however, with Apple continuing to advise switchers to disable iMessage before changing to another platform. If a user does switch without indicating to Apple that the phone number will no longer be used with iMessage, Apple’s tool for requesting the phone number be removed from Apple’s servers is still the default solution.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS, Tech Industry Tagged: Android, court, iMessage, Judge, Judge Koh, Lawsuit, MMS, SMS, switchers, Text messaging, texts

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Zac Hall

August 5th

Apple

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