The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Apple Inc’s challenge to an appellate court decision that it conspired with five publishers to increase e-book prices, meaning it will have to pay $450 million as part of a settlement.
The court’s decision not to hear the case leaves in place a June 2015 ruling by the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that favored the U.S. Department of Justice and found Apple liable for engaging in a conspiracy that violated federal antitrust laws.
Apple, in its petition asking the high court to hear the case, said the June decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upholding a judge’s ruling that Apple had conspired with the publishers contradicted Supreme Court precedent and would “chill innovation and risk-taking.”
The 2nd Circuit’s ruling followed a 2013 decision by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote after a non-jury trial that Apple played a “central role” in a conspiracy with publishers to eliminate retail price competition and raise e-book prices. The Justice Department said the scheme caused some e-book prices to rise to $12.99 or $14.99 from the $9.99 price charged by market leader Amazon.com Inc.
Publishers that the Justice Department said conspired with Apple include Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan.
On Feb. 17, the appeals court in New York upheld the proposed settlement, which had been challenged by an e-books purchaser.
The case is Apple v. United States, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 15-565.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley, images by b o w n o s e)