Technology

Apple's antitrust lawsuit may not have any plaintiffs

What's a class-action lawsuit without a plaintiff? Apple is about to find out

The lawyer suing Apple for antitrust may have blundered in a way that could delay or even jeopardize the case.

A motion filed by Apple on Friday seeks to have the class-action lawsuit dismissed because, the company says, the two plaintiffs named by the lawyer to represent aggrieved consumers don’t qualify as members of the class.

The trial began Tuesday in Oakland. The lawsuit claims Apple violated antitrust laws when it released software updates for iPods sold from Sept. 12, 2006, to March 31, 2009; the software, the suit claims, made iPods incompatible with music downloaded from a third-party site, RealNetworks’ Rhapsody.

But Apple, in a letter to the judge, said serial numbers show neither of the plaintiff’s iPods were bought within that time period.

“What am I supposed to do if I don’t have a plaintiff?” District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said from the bench.

Plaintiff’s attorney Bonny Sweeney argues that Apple’s bundling of iTunes with the iPod led to it dominating the MP3 market, allowing it to overcharge customers and resellers. Sweeney said the overcharges amount to almost $325 million in damages.

The judge is reviewing Apple’s motion to dismiss.

Twitter: @traceylien

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