Court shoots down Apple motion to rein in e-books antitrust monitor

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2014
Apple's latest attempt to rein in e-books antitrust monitor Michael Bromwich has been denied, with the federal appeals court hearing the case saying the company failed to present evidence of irreparable harm.

Bromwich
Michael Bromwich | Source: ZUMA Press via mnn.com


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit filed an order on Monday denying Apple's motion to halt Bromwich's operations until the court hands down a ruling on a request to remove the external compliance monitor. The decision, first spotted by Reuters, comes less than a week after initial arguments began earlier in February.

According to the ruling, Apple failed to adequately prove that Bromwich was overextending in the scope of his investigation and was thus causing irreparable harm to the company. As noted by the DOJ's counsel, the monitorship applied only to documents and interviews relevant to an authorized responsibility laid out by District Court Judge Denise Cote.

The three-judge panel did, however, reinforce the narrow scope of Apple's monitorship. Apple executives and board members are to be instructed on the antitrust compliance stipulations and what they mean, but Bromwich is not allowed to "investigate whether such personnel were in fact complying with the antitrust or other laws." This has been a point of contention as Apple previously stated concern over certain interview requests from the ECM, including asks for top-level executives like SVP of Design Jony Ive.
We agree with that interpretation of the district court's order. In addition, we take counsel's statement as a formal representation that appellees also accept that interpretation, and that the monitor will conduct his activities within the bounds of that order, absent further action by the district court or by the panel that will in due course hear the merits of the appeal.
Monday's ruling is the latest in an ongoing battle to have the ECM removed. In previous court filings, Apple has accused Bromwich of conducting a wide-roving and unconstitutional investigation, citing requests for documents and interviews the company feels is beyond his jurisdiction.

Bromwich was installed by Judge Cote in October after finding Apple culpable of colluding with book publishers to fix the price of e-books sold through the iBookstore.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 74
    That's rein, not reign (or even rain).

    rein in

    verb
    1. stop or slow up one's horse or oneself by or as if by pulling the reins; "They reined in in front of the post office" [syn: rein]
    2. control and direct with or as if by reins; "rein a horse" [syn: harness]
    3. stop or check by or as if by a pull at the reins; "He reined in his horses in front of the post office" [syn: rein]
  • Reply 2 of 74

    This just exemplifies that the DOJ has it in for Apple, and won't hear the case based on fact, merit, or legal grounds.

     

    As much as I hate to say it, I think if Apple wants the courts to view this objectively, they need to increase their contributions on Capitol Hill, otherwise the "law" just gets bent and reshaped to whomever holds the largest bills in their hand.

  • Reply 3 of 74
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,487member
    I suppose Amazon's check cleared.
  • Reply 4 of 74
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MagMan1979 View Post

     

    This just exemplifies that the DOJ has it in for Apple, and won't hear the case based on fact, merit, or legal grounds.

     

    As much as I hate to say it, I think if Apple wants the courts to view this objectively, they need to increase their contributions on Capitol Hill, otherwise the "law" just gets bent and reshaped to whomever holds the largest bills in their hand.


    At least they still have the White House in their pocket.

  • Reply 5 of 74

    Ridiculous courts, and a ridiculous waste of time. 

     

    Apple should just get rid of the business and save itself the grief.

  • Reply 6 of 74
    So does this mean Apple is going to be BFF with Bromwich now?
  • Reply 7 of 74
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,591member
    Can Apple sue US government if it later found irreparable harm? The Court is tricky using the word irreparable. What the Court says is OK if your found harm we will repair it for you but we will not pay the harm you already experienced.
  • Reply 8 of 74
    Bromwich stated he is not qualified and as such required a team to perform/assist with the investigation. At the very least, I would have like to have seen a replacement for the cronyism.
  • Reply 9 of 74
    foadfoad Posts: 697member
    What a joke. They probably just didn't want to undermine the judge because anyone with half a brain can see the fix is in.
  • Reply 10 of 74
    newbeenewbee Posts: 2,055member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MagMan1979 View Post

     

    This just exemplifies that the DOJ has it in for Apple, and won't hear the case based on fact, merit, or legal grounds.

     

    As much as I hate to say it, I think if Apple wants the courts to view this objectively, they need to increase their contributions on Capitol Hill, otherwise the "law" just gets bent and reshaped to whomever holds the largest bills in their hand.


    It's just one more example of having "the finest legal system that money can buy". ... and often does. As one of my favourite song states:  When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn.

  • Reply 11 of 74
    newbeenewbee Posts: 2,055member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post



    I suppose Amazon's check cleared.

    This.

  • Reply 12 of 74

    Time to make a call to the president, board member Al Gore.

  • Reply 13 of 74
    Quote:

     Thus, according to appellees, the monitor was empowered to demand only documents relevant to his authorized responsibility as so defined, and to interview Apple directors, officers, and employees only on subjects relevant to that responsibility. We agree with that interpretation of the district court’s order. In addition, we take counsel’s statement as a formal representation that appellees also accept that interpretation, and that the monitor will conduct his activities within the bounds of that order, absent further action by the district court or by the panel that will in due course hear the merits of the appeal.


     


    Upon due consideration, it is hereby ORDERED that the motion is DENIED because, on the above understanding of the order and judgment, Appellant Apple had not demonstrated that it is entitled to a stay pending appeal


    (key lines bolded for emphasis)

     

    Is this not a win for Apple? As far as I can see, the court has stated that Bromwich can't get unrelated documents or interview people about unrelated things, and that if he does Apple may be entitled to a stay pending appeal.

     

    He's not off the case, but unless I'm misunderstanding this badly it looks like he's been heavily reined in?

  • Reply 14 of 74
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DarkLite View Post

     

    (key lines bolded for emphasis)

     

    Is this not a win for Apple? As far as I can see, the court has stated that Bromwich can't get unrelated documents or interview people about unrelated things, and that if he does Apple may be entitled to a stay pending appeal.

     

    He's not off the case, but unless I'm misunderstanding this badly it looks like he's been heavily reined in?


    I think you're correct. See here:

     

    http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2014/02/10/apple-koh-appeal-monitor/

  • Reply 15 of 74
    foadfoad Posts: 697member
    sacto joe wrote: »
    darklite wrote: »
    (key lines bolded for emphasis)

    Is this not a win for Apple? As far as I can see, the court has stated that Bromwich can't get unrelated documents or interview people about unrelated things, and that if he does Apple may be entitled to a stay pending appeal.

    He's not off the case, but unless I'm misunderstanding this badly it looks like he's been heavily reined in?

    Yup. It seems as though he actually did get reined in quite a bit without flat out calling out Judge Cote. I still think it is weird that while the case is pending appeal that he gets to keep going.
  • Reply 16 of 74

    Poor Apple!

     

    But not to fear, fanbois, Obama/The White House will soon right this wrong...

  • Reply 17 of 74
    AppleInsider writers have a hard-on for war or race metaphors. "Shoots down"? Everything is a showdown, fight, battle for, or else competition for or race for.
  • Reply 18 of 74
    Seems like a win for Apple to me as well.

    Before reading the decision I would have suggested a different tactic for Apple.

    Whenever Bromwich truesto talk to someone not related or tries to bring up something outside his scope, have the employee state firmly they refuse to answer questions. Let Bromwich complain to the court that Apple isn't co-operating and explain his justification for wanting to speak to them.

    But I see that isn't necessary as he's been restricted in who he can talk to.
  • Reply 19 of 74
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,541member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MagMan1979 View Post

     

    This just exemplifies that the DOJ has it in for Apple, and won't hear the case based on fact, merit, or legal grounds.


    Note that this decision is simply to halt Bromwich's operations until the court hands down a ruling on a request to remove the external compliance monitor.

    ?A decision to remove the monitor completely is still pending.

  • Reply 20 of 74

    I am a lawyer on this - Appleinsider editor messed this reading up.

     

    Apple one it  - M.B. is forced to focus/ask question ONLY relating to compliance -no more unrelated "fishing expedition" - unlimited billable hours finding out about the next IWATCH and selling it to Google/Samsung et al -

     

    Boring - compliance work - MB is screwed - no bottomless BS pit - 

     

    No "loving" billing code to go demand to "shoot the breeze" with Tim Cook or J Ives - NADA

     

    Get lost charley - only so much this guy can do now - go get a real job buddy MB

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