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Will states and consumers sue Apple over e-book prices?

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Paul Sakuma/AP

(Read caption) Apple headquarters is located in Cupertino, Calif.

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Nearly four months after a federal judge ruled that Apple broke anti-trust laws by conspiring with publishers to increase e-book retail prices, Apple is seeking to stop a pending class action lawsuit that could result in the company's having to pay millions in damages.

According to Publishers Weekly, Apple filed a motion last week arguing that a class action lawsuit pressed by plaintiff states and a consumer class was invalid. As it stands, Apple may have to pay up to $307 million in damages, based on a Stanford economist’s estimates.

In a July 10 decision, US District Judge Denise Cote ruled that Apple orchestrated a conspiracy with five major publishers to raise e-book prices in competition with Amazon. Apple had led an agreement with major publishers to set e-book pricing via the agency model, whereby publishers set the price on e-books (as opposed to the traditional wholesale model, where the distributor or retailer sets prices). Under its plan, Apple raised e-book prices, Cote said.

Now, a class-action lawsuit is being brought against Apple that could result in the company's having to pay more than $300 million in damages to consumers.

Apple is trying to quash the class action suit. Here’s how:


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