Apple Inc. -- the multinational electronics and software giant responsible for fueling our obsessions with iPods, iPads, and iPhones -- has had a lot of lawsuits thrown at it. (With a reported Q1 2011 revenue of $26.74 billion, and a projected Q2 of $22 billion, is it any wonder that every other person with a grudge wants money from them?) Here's a look at some of the most frivolous lawsuits thrown at Apple--in history:
In 2007, a customer filed a class-action suit against Apple for iPhone's lack of a user-replaceable battery. Jose Trujillo claimed in his suit that: "Unknown to the plaintiff, and undisclosed to the public, the iPhone is a sealed unit with its battery soldered on the inside of the device so that it cannot be changed by the owner." However, Apple has always made it clear that the iPhone lacks a replaceable battery; moreover, its design makes it so that the battery will retain 80% capacity even after 400 charging/discharging cycles.
In 2006, a Louisiana man filed a complaint against Apple (the actual suit was filed in San Jose, California) charging that "the iPod music player can produce sounds up to 115 decibels even though some studies suggest that listening to music at that level for 28 seconds a day can cause damage over time." The suit also states that "Millions of consumers have had their hearing put at risk by Apple's conduct." The requests? A software upgrade, limiting the iPod's output to 100 decibels, and a share of the iPod's profits." The case was ultimately dismissed in 2009 -- the court ruled that the iPod's potential for causing hearing loss did not "represent a reasonable cause of action," since iPods can also be used in a way that doesn't cause hearing loss.
iPads are just like books, but aren't actually books. Right? Well, one 2010 lawsuit claims that Apple's marketing materials are false, since, contrary to Apple's claim that "Reading on iPad is just like reading a book," using the iPad is not "just like reading a book" at all since books do not close when the reader is enjoying them in the sunlight or in other environments." The three plaintiffs claim that the iPad "does not live up to reasonable consumer's expectations created by Apple insofar as the iPad overheats so quickly under common weather conditions." In February 2011, a federal judge tossed that lawsuit, writing that the "allegations were insufficient."
In July 2010, the so-called iPhone 4 "death grip" caused two Maryland residents, Kevin McCaffrey and Linda Wrinn, to file a class-action lawsuit against Apple, claiming "negligence, fraud, and deceptive trade practices." The suit claimed that both plaintiffs began to "experience significantly reduced reception and performance when handling the phones." The court claimed that the plaintiffs could not return their phones without incurring a 10% re-stocking fee. The two are currently suing for damages "and other remedies."
In 2005, iPod consumer Jason Tomczak filed a class-action suit against Apple for ignoring "obvious defects" with the iPod nano. The lead attorney, Steve Berman, wrote that "We intend to prove that in an effort to rush the iPod nano to the market, Apple ignored defects in the design and later tried to cover up negative responses received from consumers…We seek to recover money lost in purchasing this product as well as the $25 fee Apple has chosen to impose on those who have returned their product after it became unusable." The press release described the nano's defects, writing that "In designing the nano, Apple reconstructed the housing into a seamless front where the screen and controls reside directly under a much less durable film of resin allowing irreparable damage to occur." In 2006, Tomczak balked, saying he never wanted anything to do with the case, claiming that he only spoke to lawyers to give them background information. In 2009, Apple agreed to pay a $22.5 million settlement -- amounting to refunds of about $15-$25 per person.
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