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Australia court fines Apple for misleading consumers

An Australian federal court on Thursday fined [judgment] Apple's subsidiary in the country, Apple Pty Limited [corporate website], 2.25 million Australian dollars (USD $2.29 million) for its misleading marketing and advertising of iPad tablets. Justice Mordecai Bromberg for the Federal Court of Australia [official website] found, and Apple admitted, that the company's advertising of "iPad with WiFi + 4G" which occurred from March to May was misleading to the public in violation Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (ACL) [text]. The "4G" advertising misled consumers to believe that the new iPads were compatible with the 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile data network that was launched by Telstra Corporation Limited [corporate website] in September 2011 when in fact they were not. Apple knew that its product was not able to utilize the 4G network but ignored the warning by continuing the misleading advertising for two additional months. The judge mentioned, as a mitigating factor, that there was no evidence of any actual loss or damage to consumers or Apple's competitors. The judgment came after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) [official website] in March filed [press release] an application to the Federal Court in Melbourne for an order against Apple for its violation of the ACL. With the fine, the court ordered Apple to pay additional 300,000 Australian dollars for ACCC's legal costs.

Apple [corporate website] has been in the news recently as it faces lawsuits around the world. On Monday, Eastman Kodak [corporate website] filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against Apple alleging that the company is illegally using its patented technology that was developed when the two companies worked together in the 1990s. Last Friday, a federal judge revived [JURIST report] a case against Motorola [corporate website] after he tentatively dismissed [JURIST report] it a week earlier. Also this month, another court ruled [JURIST report] that Apple has to defend itself against lawsuits filed by the company's customers under two California consumer protection laws. Judge Lucy Koh for the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] allowed plaintiffs to pursue claims that Apple caused them to overpay for their devices.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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