Although we are still awaiting the verdict of the second circuit of appeals courts of United States that Apple seeks to clear his name of the charges of conspiracy to increase the selling price of e-books, the Court will meet the coming month to resolve the appeal of Apple against the special observer imposed on the company, Michael Bromwich.
Bromwich was chosen by judge Denise Cote that it exercising external observer to monitor compliance with the antitrust by Apple, but the company did not hesitate to protest because of the unusual applications of the lawyer and his astronomical fees, more than $1100 per hour.
The Wall Street Journal, who already in 2013 openly criticized Bromwich establishing political relations and staff joins Cote as well as his lack of experience in this field, return to the charge against him putting into relief the 2.65 $ million that the observer has claimed until January to Apple in Exchange for a research work that goes far beyond the initial goal of responsible.
“According to the billing records and semi-annual reports to the judge Cote, there are new reasons for the second circuit bid farewell to Mr. Bromwich and put an end to something that constitutes an important abuse even by the standards of the modern antitrust”, says the Publisher of The Wall Street Journal.
For The Wall Street Journal, the Attorney seems to have interpreted its position as a carte blanche to act as “arbiter of all things happening in Cupertino”
Companies usually agree this type of observers when they reach agreements agreed but Apple has never admitted guilt and Bromwich was released despite objections by the company, mainly “because of their long-term political connections with the judge Cote. “The observador-a – salary did not have previous experience in antitrust, but it has the dubious distinction of being the first and only involuntary observer of the history of civil antitrust litigation”.
Fruit of this inexperience and despite their own fees, Bromwich hired the law firm of Fried Frank lawyers as experts in the field at a cost of $1025 at the time. Judge Cote gave running back with plans to keep a secret communication with Bromwich following objection from Apple, but it has not denied anything more to his friend. Bromwich has thus got access to all the executives of the company with the exception of the design and marketing divisions, this is, even to the groups responsible for the recognition of voice of Siri, maps or the hardware engineering team. None of them have less relevance in the antitrust case.
Bromwich has not acted as a neutral court employee, but as an agent of the Prosecutor’s office, only to cobrandole to Apple for the inconvenience. (…) Apple can be forgiven for veil as an adversary and an intruder, because that is what it is.
The editorial concludes: “Apple could have agreed a long time ago as they do the majority of the companies, and that option could have been even cheaper than a prolonged appeal. But the company is doing a public service when trying to assert a legal principle and curb the growing abuse of the observers appointed by courts and a maniacal theory of competition that could harm many more innovative if allowed to take hold.”
Closing the book
Aside from this whole situation with the observer, Apple are placed in the verdict of the second circuit courts of appeals of United States, where the company has defended the need to apply the rule of reason, according to which all the circumstances of the case must be weighed to decide if the practice unreasonably restricts competition, requiring the plaintiff to try anti-competitive effects or current damage to the competition and not only if the practices were unfair.
Apple argued against the Court that precisely this case revolves around its vertical commercial agreements with publishers, also testing the relevance of the monopoly on Amazon in the market of electronic books as a legal justification. I.e. Apple wonder can be condemned their behaviour in terms of the defence of competition, when precisely what were trying to do was break up the monopoly of Amazon.
If the second circuit confirms the decision of the District Court, Apple will have to pay $ 400 million to plaintiffs and 50 million dollars in Attorney’s fees. If the second circuit cancels the decision or considers that there are grounds for a new trial, figures to be paid would be reduced to 50 and 20 million respectively. The third and final option is that they clear liability to Apple, in which case would not have to pay absolutely nothing.