June 30, 2015 10:20 a.m. ET
A federal appeals court upheld a 2013 decision finding Apple Inc. liable for conspiring with publishers to raise the price of e-books.
The 2-1 ruling Tuesday by the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan follows three years of litigation, millions of dollars in legal fees and a bold decision by Apple to challenge the U.S. Department of Justice to a trial, even after all the publishers with which it was accused of colluding had settled their cases.
The iPhone maker is expected to pay $450 million, most of it to e-book buyers, as part of a November agreement with private plaintiffs and 33 states that joined the Justice Department’s 2012 lawsuit accusing Apple of violating civil antitrust law. The deal hinged on the outcome of the appeal.
“We conclude that the district court correctly decided that Apple orchestrated a conspiracy among the publishers to raise e-book prices,” wrote Second Circuit Judge Debra Ann Livingston. The conspiracy “unreasonably restrained trade” in violation of the Sherman Act, the federal antitrust law, the judge wrote.