Apple & AT&T sued over iPhone | iLounge News


Apple & AT&T sued over iPhone

The law firms of Folkenflik & McGerity and Hoffman & Lazear have filed a $1.2 billion class action suit on behalf of iPhone owners against Apple and AT&T Mobility (AT&T’s cellular unit) in US District Court. The case, Paul Holman and Lucy Rivello v. Apple, Inc., AT&T Mobility, LLC., claims that the companies’ agreements to restrict iPhone users to using only the AT&T cellular network for voice and data, and to restrict users to using only applications from Apple, run afoul of Federal antitrust laws, California antitrust laws, and California unfair trade practice laws. The suit goes on to say that Apple and AT&T are liable for “computer trespass”, based on the recent 1.1.1 iPhone software release, which disabled many SIM unlocks, third-party software, and left some users’ phones inoperable. The suit claims these changes were not technically required for the new features Apple was offering in the update.

“There is little question that Apple and AT&T have misused Apple’s programs to improperly coerce consumers to buy only AT&T voice and data services and only Apple programs. That is unlawful under both Federal and state laws, and any terms in Apple’s and AT&T’s contracts to the contrary are also unlawful and unenforceable,” said Max Folkenflik, one of the attorneys on the case. “Apple and AT&T have no more right or technological justification for forcing iPhone users to use only AT&T service and Apple applications than Ford would to force car owners to use only Ford batteries or tires, or than the maker of your television has to force you to watch only Fox or CBS.”

The suit calls for compensatory damages of $200 million, which are trebled according to law to $600 million, as well as for punitive damages of $600 million, and for injunctions prohibiting the alleged unlawful conduct and voiding the unlawful contract terms. More information, including a complete copy of the class action complaint, is available on the lawsuit’s website,

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OK, This is re-God-damn-diculous!  What a bunch of whining mewling losers!  I am sorry, but this is the most frivolous of frivolous lawsuits.  Why not sue Verizon for neutering every phone they have on their roster?  Puh-lease.  I hope Apple countersues and takes them for every cent they and their families have—I mean, I want their grandkids paying their salaries to Apple.

Posted by iPhone Home on October 11, 2007 at 10:08 PM (CDT)


I am humbled to bear witness to such an historic landmark “computer trespass” case. In a day when Guantanamo and interrogation techniques are questioned, when gun availability allows our children to wound teachers in school, when embryo stem cells wins hearts and minds here and abroad in Korea, when lead paint find their way into our Chinese made toys, when Africans cope with scarcity of water, and domestically our homeless were criminalized, there are such brave and courageous souls as Paul Holman and Lucy Rivello who would stand up for all of us with disposable incomes to throw away on $700 devices. Who but the most sincere and unselfish law firms would take up this case against the looming tyrant of a corporate hegemony that is Apple.

I am sad not because this is a litigious society. I am sad because Paul and Lucy, and their attorneys especially are not governed by laws of nature. Since their stupidity would require they be admitted to the Darwin Awards post haste or at least become a chewy snack to some predators (hopefully with long serrated teeth).

Posted by grilled cheese sammies on October 12, 2007 at 12:04 AM (CDT)


I am embarrassed that anyone, let alone the many people involved, has determined this to be a worthwhile pusuit. If just the idea of it doesnt disgust you then the supposed “damages” certainly should.

Posted by Jordan on October 12, 2007 at 12:31 AM (CDT)


America!  The land where you can sue the hat manufactuter for not fitting anymore after you’ve had a haircut!

I agree with ‘grilled cheese sammies’.  Someone needs to get a bit of perspective.

Posted by markrich on October 12, 2007 at 4:45 AM (CDT)


Give me a break. Phones are tied to providers all the time—remember the Motorola Razr when it first came out? Hot as all get out, but only ONE provider. And cracking in to the inner workings of the iPhone to hack it to other networks? Sheesh ... every warranty out there states that doing that on any product voids the agreement, so Apple is more than in the clear when it updates software that winds up disabling these illegally hacked phones. And now some shyster law firm thinks it has a billion-dollar class action suit?? Again, give me a break.

Posted by jlanderson on October 12, 2007 at 7:59 AM (CDT)


Fanboys, cry me a river!

Other cell phone operators have “gotten away” with locking because they subsidize the phone.  I don’t particularly have a problem with that - get a free phone but sign a contract for a year or two.  It’s my choice.  AT&T does not subsidize the phone at all, so why should I be locked to their network.  And worse still, if I buy the device and Apple maliciously releases software to limit my fair use of the device, they should be punished.

And Apple is not the only company being sued over this.  T-Mobile is in a lawsuit over locking and early termination also.

If these lawsuits win, it can only be good for the consumer.

Posted by kokketiel on October 12, 2007 at 8:13 AM (CDT)


Kokketiel, Apple is not limiting the fair use of the device at all, and certainly not in a malicious manner. They are releasing software updates that will improve the iPhones that have been purchased, activated, and used in accordance with the product’s warranty and terms of use. Consumers are not restricted and can hack or unlock as they deem fit but Apple cannot bear and should not bear any responsibility for ensuing problems that the user of an unlocked iPhone suffers.

Our free market society doesn’t allow us to simply buy toasters and turn them into space heaters. All products have reasonable uses and manufacturers, in order to limit their liability, generally provide warranty coverage and other services only to those who adhere to such uses. Sony will not cover your electronics if you open them up to tamper with or modify them. Nissan will not cover and faultless damages to my car’s audio system because it is an after-market unit. The principle is the same here, and it is not fanboyism that controls this reply but common sense.

This suit is NOT good for the consumer if it discourages innovation or hamstrings corporations that provide good products. Your argument is pure fallacy. Consumers have abundant freedom of choice with regard to phones and services, and yet when Apple engages in conduct no different from that of LG or Samsung or Verizon or Sprint, they are the ones being haled into court. Fundamentally and philosophically, this smacks of our society’s me-first and me-now ideology, and it is embarrassingly telling.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on October 12, 2007 at 9:25 AM (CDT)


Computer trespass? What a crock!
You warned me that the update might create a problem.  I then chose to apply it to my phone. I even clicked again to Accept your terms. It bricked my phone like you said it might. It’s obviously your fault and you altered my phone without my permission!

I’m not an Apple fan.  I like my iPod but I’m not blind to the fact that there are better priced players and more feature laden ones.  And the complaints related to quality control of late and sloppy standards are justified.  But this suit just points out how much of a joke the American legal system has become.

Posted by WhoCares? on October 12, 2007 at 9:27 AM (CDT)


Flippy - you’re bang on with a well thought out post as usual!

Posted by WhoCares? on October 12, 2007 at 9:29 AM (CDT)


It’s not like the other mobile companies didn’t have their chance…. Apple courted all the mobile phone companies, and AT&T, then Cingular was the only one willing to chomp at the bit. No one else wanted to take a chance on an uncertainty. Don’t blame Apple that the iPhone isn’t on Verizon or T-Mobile, they passed on the opportunity to have this phone work on their networks.

Posted by Hayes on October 12, 2007 at 9:32 AM (CDT)


Whoever sues over this is a lunatic.  Why didn’t they sue the manufacturer of the last device they used prior to the iPhone????... That was locked down too!.. nobody had a gun to their’s or anyone’s head to BUY the iPhone and they knew damn well it was AT&T!  I FULLY SUPPORT APPLE IN THIS.. it’s their device, and they have the right to lock it down.  BOO F*(#&$(* HOO!

Posted by Craig on October 12, 2007 at 2:20 PM (CDT)


Don´t hate me cause I´m pretty, they just deliverme the wrong way!

Posted by iPhone on October 12, 2007 at 2:23 PM (CDT)


Be an early adopter and pay the price (AT&T lock) or wait a year or two and get a better iPhone, for less money, that you can use on any compatible carrier’s network.  Don’t buy one now and bitch.
It’s not all marketing either.  VZWs minority CDMA network (USA) made them a very dark horse for iPhone exclusivity anyway.  GSM, especially true 3G GSM is the world platform and iPhone is intended to play in that market.

Posted by Elcoholic in So Cal on October 12, 2007 at 5:20 PM (CDT)


B#tch that is.  The big disappointment is that Apple didn’t bust the Carrier’s strangle-hold on hand-sets they’ve used to lock consumers into contracts with since day one.  If anybody was positioned to do that, it was Apple.

Posted by Elcoholic in So Cal on October 12, 2007 at 5:28 PM (CDT)


Apple should counter sue for 2.4 billion because this is a waster of time. What is wrong with you people? If you don’t like Apple, don’t buy it. If you don’t like AT&T, don’t buy it. Sometimes in America, I think we have too much freedom.

Posted by Chief on October 12, 2007 at 6:41 PM (CDT)


Wow all the fan bois in here. I think the lawsuit has merit. And you can’t compare this to Verizon and having a certain phone on their network, because if it is an exclusive its only for a month. Also you can’t compare CDMA to GSM. GSM has always been open source to say. CDMA has always been closed although there are lawsuits right now to change that and make it more like GSM. I for one would like to have an iphone but alas i can’t because we have awful service in our area. When I had ATT it was always one bar within a 5 mile radius of where I live and i live in the city so to speak…but anyway back on topic i hope this goes through then i could use Cincinnati Bell a subsidy of ATT on which i had terrific service and an unlimited plan to boot. Before you try to flame me don’t bother cause normally after i post i don’t check back. But n e way Verizon or any other CDMA provider can’t be compared to ATT which is GSM which has always been open source. And no Apple could not sue people for hacking the phone because Apple no longer owns the phone.

Posted by E on October 12, 2007 at 10:33 PM (CDT)


“Hi, my name is E. I am going to come here, flame, declare everybody a fanboy, make an illogical and barely cohesive argument, then tell everyone not to bother ripping on me because I won’t check back.”

Man, I suppose those of us who introduced common sense and relevant principles into this discussion should feel really pwnt!

Posted by Flippy Hambone on October 12, 2007 at 10:39 PM (CDT)


The only reason people are complaining is that the iPhone is the new shiny gadget of the year that everyone has to have.

Why would anyone unlock their iPhone only to be able to choose only one other carrier along with the risk of bricking it.

I’d admit it was rather shady of Apple to have a price break on the iPhone being on the shelf for only 10 weeks. There’s a reason why you shouldn’t buy new technology at launch.

Oh yeah, the lawsuit isn’t going anywhere because it lacks..any thought at all.

Posted by Brian Draghi on October 13, 2007 at 2:02 AM (CDT)


oh darn, E is never, ever going to check this thread. The next letter in the alphabet is F, which is the first letter of the word I’d use to describe E!
How is it that people who think this lawsuit is a joke, (rational people) are suddenly fan bois? A company shouldn’t be required to waste 1 minute tailoring their software for unauthorized hack compatibility.
E, don’t click “Install” next time. Hah!
T is for Troll!

Posted by R on October 13, 2007 at 12:01 PM (CDT)


why is it that my post’s from friday (2times) are deleted???

Did I offended anyone when i said that people need to stop trying to sue AT&T and that these people are about the money they think they can get out…

Posted by dennis on October 13, 2007 at 10:23 PM (CDT)

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