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Court grants Apple's motion to dismiss Siri misrepresentation lawsuit

post #1 of 76
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After two years of legal maneuvering, U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken on Friday dismissed with prejudice a lawsuit alleging that Apple's iPhone 4S advertisements had misrepresented the capabilities of the company's Siri personal digital assistant.

Dismissal


Saying that the claims relied on "non-actionable puffery", Judge Wilken ruled that the plaintiffs failed to show adequate evidence of fraud in Apple's advertising and that a "reasonable consumer" would not expect the product to work flawlessly. The plaintiffs had argued that advertisements featuring Siri made it appear as though the feature could handle any query and would respond instantly.

"Apple made no promise that Siri would operate without fail," Wilken wrote when ordering the dismissal. "A reasonable consumer would understand that commercials depicting the products they are intended to promote would be unlikely to depict failed attempts."

Wilken also took issue with the timing of the lawsuits, originally filed separately in 2012 by Frank M. Fazio, Carlisa S. Hamagaki, Daniel M. Balassone, and Benjamin Swartzmann. Fazio filed suit on the same day he sent a letter notifying Apple of his intentions, while Balassone and Swartzman did so just four days after they sent a similar missive, an interval that Wilken said did not give Apple sufficient time to address the allegations.

Apple had previously argued that the claims were too general when filing a motion for dismissal in 2012.

The plaintiffs "fail to allege any supposed misrepresentation with particularity," lawyers for Apple wrote in the motion. The plaintiffs also did not indicate when they were "exposed to the purportedly misleading advertisements, which ones they found material, how and why they were false, or which they relied upon in purchasing their iPhones," they continued, reasoning that Wilken agreed with.

Because the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, the plaintiffs will not be allowed to bring another action over the same claims.
post #2 of 76
And the lawyers make money either way.
post #3 of 76
Dopey lawsuit. I hope they had to pay court costs.
post #4 of 76

While the lawsuit is obvious slop, I do find it a little disturbing that the judge has now, through wording of the judgement, created a precedent that says "Commercials are bullshit, and you can't expect a product to work as advertised." Yikes.

post #5 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by v5v View Post
 

While the lawsuit is obvious slop, I do find it a little disturbing that the judge has now, through wording of the judgement, created a precedent that says "Commercials are bullshit, and you can't expect a product to work as advertised." Yikes.

You seem disappointed that Santa Claus was "discovered" to be phoney. Hint: Most advertising is b.s.  ... always has been, always will be. Think of it like a woman who wears makeup on a date .... but never after "she gets her man".

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post #6 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

You seem disappointed that Santa Claus was "discovered" to be phoney. Hint: Most advertising is b.s.  ... always has been, always will be. Think of it like a woman who wears makeup on a date .... but never after "she gets her man".
Well said sir.

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post #7 of 76
So all that fine print at the bottom of ads are for what, nothing?

"Sequences shortened"
"Professional driver on closed course"
"Simulated images"
post #8 of 76

Not to hound you for your opinion, I understand your thoughts, however I have to agree with my other colleagues  here, commercial advertising has always been idealized, take the case of food, which is painted and coated to make it appear very appetizing, when if fact the aesthetic chemicals could be hazardous and inedible, you have to take all advertising with a grain of salt. Sorry that was in response to v5v thoughts. 

post #9 of 76
People are crazy
post #10 of 76

I think all the features represented in the ad were basically honest, but having them work only about 50% of the time is not something they would likely want to mention.

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post #11 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by v5v View Post
 

While the lawsuit is obvious slop, I do find it a little disturbing that the judge has now, through wording of the judgement, created a precedent that says "Commercials are bullshit, and you can't expect a product to work as advertised." Yikes.

I think you have this wrong... as the Judge said nothing of the sort. What he did say was that the typical consumer is not expecting perfection and understands that a commercial would not showcase flaws in the product.

post #12 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I think all the features represented in the ad were basically honest, but having them work only about 50% of the time is not something they would likely want to mention.

More "non-actionable puffery"?

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post #13 of 76

Can't get too much worse than Nissan's commercials. Their commercials really bug the hell out of me. The truck having a plane's front wheel land in the bed? Really? 150mph? SUV jumping on a train? Truck doing a flip?  

 

Please, most car commercials are stupid but at least they usually list features or semi-facts.

 

As long as Apple is realistic with their commercials, which they always seem to be, they won't bother me any.

post #14 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

More "non-actionable puffery"?

Of course I'm the only one who has limited success getting the correct information from Siri. For everyone else it is perfect. Seriously, about half the time she gets it wrong. Even when she prints to the screen the exact phrase, the answer is completely off. For example recently I asked her to show me an address on the map. I gave her the complete street address and city (the city where I was located), yet she insisted on pinning a completely different city a hundred km away which had the same name as the street address and informed me it was pretty far from where I was. I get crazy stuff from her all the time.

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post #15 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by v5v View Post

While the lawsuit is obvious slop, I do find it a little disturbing that the judge has now, through wording of the judgement, created a precedent that says "Commercials are bullshit, and you can't expect a product to work as advertised." Yikes.

Where have they advertised that Siri works 100% of the time?

I hope these bums pay ALL the court costs.
post #16 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Where have they advertised that Siri works 100% of the time?

 

Are you sure you're comfortable with that position? How are you going to feel when you sue for car trouble and the judge says, "You should know that commercials are fiction and besides, no one said the car would start EVERY day."

 

I'm not defending the ridiculous lawsuit, but the wording of the judgement is pretty troubling.

post #17 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post


Where have they advertised that Siri works 100% of the time?

I hope these bums pay ALL the court costs.

 

And it took TWO YEARS to dismiss this nonsense?

 

The lawyers and the judge should refund at least half of the "court costs" themselves.

post #18 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 
[...] recently I asked her to show me an address on the map. I gave her the complete street address and city (the city where I was located), yet she insisted on pinning a completely different city a hundred km away which had the same name as the street address and informed me it was pretty far from where I was. I get crazy stuff from her all the time.

 

The similarity of that to my own recent experience makes me wonder if the problem is something other than Siri.

 

I recently entered an appointment into Calendar on my Mac and pointed it to an address in Contacts. When I called up the appointment it had made up its own address that bore no resemblance to the one in Contacts. I then asked Contacts to show me the location of the CORRECT address and Maps came up with something that pointed me roughly 50 km (30 miles) in the wrong direction.

 

Admittedly that's all OS X and not iOS, but it leads me to suspect there may be underlying issues in the way apps pass data that could sabotage Siri.

post #19 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by v5v View Post

The similarity of that to my own recent experience makes me wonder if the problem is something other than Siri.

I recently entered an appointment into Calendar on my Mac and pointed it to an address in Contacts. When I called up the appointment it had made up its own address that bore no resemblance to the one in Contacts. I then asked Contacts to show me the location of the CORRECT address and Maps came up with something that pointed me roughly 50 km (30 miles) in the wrong direction.

Admittedly that's all OS X and not iOS, but it leads me to suspect there may be underlying issues in the way apps pass data that could sabotage Siri.

Siri is female for a reason...

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post #20 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by v5v View Post

Are you sure you're comfortable with that position? How are you going to feel when you sue for car trouble and the judge says, "You should know that commercials are fiction and besides, no one said the car would start EVERY day."

I'm not defending the ridiculous lawsuit, but the wording of the judgement is pretty troubling.

The judge didn't say commercials are fiction. She said any reasonable person can tell something will not be 100% accurate 100% of the time. As for new cars breaking down, there are addition laws that cover "lemons".

In addition, there are warranties. If the product fails to meet your expectations, you can return it or get it fixed for free.
post #21 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPilya View Post

the Judge said nothing of the sort. What he did say
She

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post #22 of 76
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post
Originally Posted by iPilya View Post
What he did say
She

 

Great, another game of he said she said.

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post #23 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by tookieman2013 View Post

Not to hound you for your opinion, I understand your thoughts, however I have to agree with my other colleagues  here, commercial advertising has always been idealized, take the case of food, which is painted and coated to make it appear very appetizing, when if fact the aesthetic chemicals could be hazardous and inedible, you have to take all advertising with a grain of salt. Sorry that was in response to v5v thoughts. 

You are referring to the old way food photography used to be. There are fairly strict rules on how food may be prepped and photographed now.

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post #24 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Of course I'm the only one who has limited success getting the correct information from Siri. For everyone else it is perfect. Seriously, about half the time she gets it wrong. Even when she prints to the screen the exact phrase, the answer is completely off. For example recently I asked her to show me an address on the map. I gave her the complete street address and city (the city where I was located), yet she insisted on pinning a completely different city a hundred km away which had the same name as the street address and informed me it was pretty far from where I was. I get crazy stuff from her all the time.

I get the address thing even within the Maps app and typing in an address that doesn't include a city. I don't understand why it wouldn't look for a best match in the vicinity over assuming I mean a city a thousand miles away.

I'm also not a fan of the lack of intelligence of the mapping service locating me a stop along my route. For example, I can have an active route in Maps and ask Siri for a restaurant or gas station along my route and often the results will be something close by that I have passed. My TomTom had the ability to find stops along the remaining route so I do expect Apple's Maps to include this service.
Edited by SolipsismX - 2/15/14 at 2:21am

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post #25 of 76
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Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

And the lawyers make money either way.

Not exactly. The Apple lawyers get paid, of course, but if they weren't working on this crazy lawsuit, they'd be working on another one.

 

The plaintiffs' lawyers, though, don't get paid unless the lawsuit is successful. However, it depends on the contract they wrote up - it could say their clients have to pay them for certain expenses anyway, like filing fees (but usually they pay nothing unless they win, and then the lawyer takes so much of the award that the clients are left wondering why they bothered in the first place). These people have shown themselves to be really stupid, so they could have actually signed a bad contract with the scammy lawyer.

 

I don't think Apple can ask for legal costs in a case like this, so the plaintiffs are lucky there. And I agree - why did this take 2 years to be dismissed?

post #26 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by v5v View Post
 

While the lawsuit is obvious slop, I do find it a little disturbing that the judge has now, through wording of the judgement, created a precedent that says "Commercials are bullshit, and you can't expect a product to work as advertised." Yikes.

 

Quote:
 

Are you implying that commercials are not bullshit, and you can expect a product to work as advertised?

 

Do you work for Google or are you hopelessly naive?

post #27 of 76
I'm fine with the lawsuit being tossed. However, Siri really is not particularly reliable in comprehension in various situations, even for contexts it supports.
post #28 of 76

Hoo, boy. If my wife ever decided to take me in front of the judge for all the times I heard her wrong, I'd be in divorce court doo-doo!

 

This suit hearkens back to that other California lawsuit against Apple back in 2010, complaining that iPads overheated and shut down for awhile when used for a time in direct sunlight. That one got tossed also.

 

Apparently there's high unemployment among the young, recently graduated lawyers who dream up this drivel. It's reasonable to surmise that a lot of these fledgling F. Lee Baileys are flapping their wings and jumping from the nest on their own, attempting their first flights and ending up crashing. They're pretty stunned when hard reality collides with a bang against their little brains.

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post #29 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by v5v View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Where have they advertised that Siri works 100% of the time?

 

Are you sure you're comfortable with that position? How are you going to feel when you sue for car trouble and the judge says, "You should know that commercials are fiction and besides, no one said the car would start EVERY day."

 

I'm not defending the ridiculous lawsuit, but the wording of the judgement is pretty troubling.

 

Do you say the same thing when you go to McDonalds and the burgers you are served are not as plump and juicy as shown on their menu cards...?

post #30 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluestone View Post
 
Are you implying that commercials are not bullshit, and you can expect a product to work as advertised?

 

Do you work for Google or are you hopelessly naive?

 

I'm saying it's not encouraging for consumers when a judge throws out a lawsuit on the grounds that people should not expect truth in advertising. That opens the door to ads making false claims with the tacit protection of the courts. A commercial tells you that a new wonder drug will repair your heart while you sleep and will for sure NOT kill you if taken with Aspirin. When it DOES kill you the lawsuit is thrown out because you should know better than to believe what a commercial tells you.

 

That's obviously an exaggerated example and again, the suit we're discussing was OBVIOUSLY ridiculous, but the wording of the judgement may still be cause for concern.

post #31 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by j4zb4 View Post
 

Do you say the same thing when you go to McDonalds and the burgers you are served are not as plump and juicy as shown on their menu cards...?

 

Obviously some forms of "stretching the truth" are more egregious than others, which is essentially what the judge said. I just think she might have thrown in a little "gotcha" in her decision. Saying that consumers should EXPECT advertising to be bullshit, thus possibly tacitly protecting an advertiser's right to lie, strikes me as bad legal precedent.

 

The rest of her points about the plaintiffs failing to provide the most fundamental evidence made me wonder who was in charge of the claim and if said individual rides the short bus to court? Given that, according to some people here, Siri actually does have some genuine shortcomings, I wonder if a sharper legal mind might have had some success? I don't use Siri so I don't know myself, how good/bad is her hit/fail ratio? How clear has Apple been about Siri being a "Beta" product? Was there any grain of merit to the plaintiffs' claim?

post #32 of 76
Since Apple were throwing advertising weight behind Siri, which elsewhere they labelled as a "beta" product, I think they were a little bit lucky here.

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post #33 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by v5v View Post

While the lawsuit is obvious slop, I do find it a little disturbing that the judge has now, through wording of the judgement, created a precedent that says "Commercials are bullshit, and you can't expect a product to work as advertised." Yikes.

I hate to tell you, but in the US that is already a precedent. Companies are allowed to "puff" up the merits of their products.
post #34 of 76
The fact that Sri was a BETA release should had prevented the lawsuits to ever be heard.
post #35 of 76
Originally Posted by v5v View Post
the judge has now, through wording of the judgement, created a precedent that says  ommercials are bullshit, and you can't expect a product to work as advertised."

 

Except that’s not what he said at all.

 
"Apple made no promise that Siri would operate without fail," Wilken wrote when ordering the dismissal. "A reasonable consumer would understand that commercials depicting the products they are intended to promote would be unlikely to depict failed attempts."

 

Nowhere can what you claim be construed.

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post #36 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by v5v View Post

While the lawsuit is obvious slop, I do find it a little disturbing that the judge has now, through wording of the judgement, created a precedent that says "Commercials are bullshit, and you can't expect a product to work as advertised." Yikes.

I see no issues with his wording.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djmikeo View Post

The fact that Sri was a BETA release should had prevented the lawsuits to ever be heard.

Being Beta wouldn't affect this one way or another.

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post #37 of 76
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Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Except that’s not what he said at all.
She said.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I see no issues with his wording.
Her wording.


Come on people, not all judges are male.
Edited by Crowley - 2/15/14 at 1:00pm

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post #38 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

She said.
Her wording.

Come on people, not all judges are male.

Does it help that I made my comment without caring if the judge was male, female, or the 50 other gender options Facebook now offers users? I tend to use both they and he to refer to an unspecified gender. The former is now considered old-fashioned but it's still common, probably because it sounds better in certain contexts because they is usually used to refer to more than one person. Perhaps we need a new all encompassing term to refer to a single person.

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post #39 of 76

You made your comment without caring, and yet assumed male as default.  That matters.  You shouldn't.

 

The argument that you use "he" or "his" as genderless singulars is nonsense, no serious person does that.  Facebook is not relevant.

 

She and her.  Or "the judge" if you want to keep gender out of the equation altogether, as would be proper.

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post #40 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

You made your comment without caring, and yet assumed male as default.  That matters.  You shouldn't.

The argument that you use "he" or "his" as genderless singulars is nonsense, no serious person does that.  Facebook is not relevant.

She and her.  Or "the judge" if you want to keep gender out of the equation altogether, as would be proper.

1) Facebook has one the highest number of active users and traffic on the internet but you think they are irrelevant? Seriously?

2) You can check out usage to see that he and his has been used exclusively up until quite recently to denote an unknown gender.

3) The real issue is your inability to see your own bigotry and sexism at play since you think it's perfectly acceptable to use a plural pronoun with a singular antecedent but have no capacity to allow a similar action for a masculine term to also be gender-agnostic within the same context.

4) How about I start referring to you as the gender-agnostic it to appease your unfounded sensibilities? I personally would think that would be offensive but it is gender-agnostic, is it not.


PS: Let us know how you feel about sexist laughter. hehe
Edited by SolipsismX - 2/15/14 at 2:15pm

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