Apple agrees to pay up to $400 million in e-books price-fixing case

The amount Apple pays out depends on the outcome of its appeal of a 2013 antitrust ruling

Apple has reached a settlement in a long-standing case that accused the company of fixing the price on e-books, with the company paying up to US$400 million, depending on the outcome of its appeal in the case, a law firm has announced.

Apple would pay the $400 million in the class-action lawsuit if its appeal of a 2013 court ruling that found the company guilty of antitrust violations is dismissed, said class-action law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, which is representing e-book customers in 19 states and four U.S. territories.

If the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reverses and remands the case back to district court, the settlement agreement calls for Apple to pay consumers $50 million to settle their claims, the law firm said. The U.S. Department of Justice and several state attorneys general would be free to continue pressing their claims if that happens, the law firm said Wednesday.

If the court of appeals reverses the 2013 decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Apple would pay no damages, the law firm said.

The law firm believes the appeals court will uphold the lower court's decision, Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, said in a statement.

Apple representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the settlement.

The DOJ, in April 2012, filed an antitrust complaint accusing Apple and five book publishers of fixing the prices of e-books.

Before this settlement, Hagens Berman and the state attorneys general have agreed to $166 million in settlements on behalf of consumers from the five publishing companies.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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Tags U.S. Department of JusticeU.S. Court of Appeals of the Second CircuitInternet-based applications and servicesantitrustlegalCivil lawsuitsinternetU.S. District Court for the Southern District of New YorkHagens Berman Sobol ShapiroSteve BermanApple

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