On Friday, August 9, 2013, Judge Denise Cote of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied Apple’s request to suspend pending appeal a previous ruling that it had violated antitrust laws by conspiring with publishers to raise the price of e-books.
Judge Cote also proposed a remedy which includes a two year prohibition on any contracts which would restrict Apple’s ability to discount e-books. Apple would then be required to negotiate with publishers on a staggered timeline. Judge Cote also stated that she would prefer Apple to instate a “vigorous” in-house antitrust compliance program, rather than follow the Justice Department’s proposal to hire a full-time internal compliance officer alongside court monitoring for 10 years. “I don’t want to do more than is necessary here,” said Judge Cote, recognizing the risk of disrupting innovation.
Judge Cote remained concerned about the “continuing danger of collusion,” especially given publishers’ recent protests of the Justice Department’s proposed remedies. Publishers claimed a proposed ban on Apple’s agency agreements would also punish them, even though they had already settled with the U.S. government on the condition that they could continue to use the agency model.
The case continues to move forward to a trial for damages while Apple intends to appeal the July ruling on liability.