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Apple\'s motion to dismiss denied in antitrust case


A federal court last week denied Apple's motion to dismiss an antitrust suit brought by a disgruntled iTunes Music Store customer, AppleInsider has discovered.

In January, Thomas Slattery filed a class action suit against Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that the company is violating federal antitrust laws and California's unfair competition law by requiring that customers use an iPod in order to listen to music purchased from its industry-leading iTunes Music Store.

In the 9-page ruling dated Sept. 9th, United States District Judge James Ware did side with Apple in dismissing a few individual claims. Specifically, Ware threw out a claim arguing that Apple has been unjustly enriched from sales of iTunes and iPods. The Judge also dismissed two claims of attempted monopolization against the iPod maker, but granted Slattery and his attorneys a month to amend the two arguments.

However, the judge denied Apple's overall motion for a dismissal in the case and is allowing Slattery to proceed with seven of his ten original claims. These include allegations that Apple possesses monopoly power and has coerced customers into purchasing both iPods and iTunes files. Slattery also argues that Apple has violated state law under the Cartwright Act and California's unfair competition law.

Antitrust lawyers have said the key to such a lawsuit would be convincing a court that a single product brand like iTunes is a market in itself, separate from the rest of the online music market.

The court is requiring Slattery to file an amended complain on or before Oct. 11th. Apple will then have 15 days to respond.