Wednesday, December 03, 2008, 01:10 pm PT (04:10 pm ET)
Apple argues only a fool would believe its iPhone 3G adsApple isn't lying in television ads that tout the iPhone 3G as twice as fast as its predecessor, but customers would have to be fools to take those claims at face value, the company argues.
That's essentially Apple's legal response to a lawsuit filed by San Diego resident William Gillis back in September alleging that Apple and AT&T knowingly oversold the new iPhone alongside misleading ads that promised it would perform twice as fast as the original model.
Apple's 9-page reply begins early off by maintaining that any statements it made "were truthful and accurate and were not misleading or deceptive." But it was a bullet point response a few pages later the caught the eye of Wired, as it suggests that only a fool would believe what the company says in its ads.
"Plaintiff's claims, and those of the purported class, are barred by the fact that the alleged deceptive statements were such that no reasonable person in Plaintiff's position could have reasonably relied on or misunderstood Apple's statements as claims of fact," Apple's attorneys wrote.
Gillis' complaint was the second of now half a dozen to charge the iPhone maker with selling a handset that didn't live up to the company's hype. Apple has moved to dismiss several of the other complaints, but hasn't made the same request regarding the suit at hand.
Michael Ian Rott, Gillis' attorney, believes that's because his client's allegations have "the most teeth and the most legs" and that if there was "any way that Apple could get out of it, they would have filed a motion to dismiss here, too." Or, it could be that Gillis is no stranger to Apple.
The 70-year old and an acquaintance sued Apple back in 2005 for misrepresenting the size of hard drives shipping in the then popular PowerBook G4. Apple ultimately settled, giving Gillis a free iPod and Ian Rott — yes, the same lawyer — $7500 to cover his legal fees.
Word of Apple's response in the iPhone suit comes just days after the UK's Advertising Standards Authority banned a television advertisement for the touch-screen handset after 17 viewers "complained that the ad was misleading, because they believed it exaggerated the speed of the iPhone 3G."
Apple's latest banned iPhone ad
The ad, which claimed the iPhone 3G could surf the Internet "really fast," was the second to be pulled from the air by ASA on grounds that it was misleading. In August, the regulator banned a similar 30-second spot which stated that "all the parts of the internet are on the iPhone."
That assertion was misleading, the ASA said, because the iPhone does not support Flash or Java, two proprietary technologies that sometimes prove integral in the display of certain web pages.
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