Supreme Court


'Supreme Court' Articles

Supreme Court Allows App Store Monopoly Lawsuit Against Apple to Proceed [Updated]

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled 5-4 against Apple in an anticompetitive case involving the App Store, allowing iPhone users to move forward with their class action lawsuit against the company, as first reported by CNBC. From the Supreme Court's ruling:In this case, however, several consumers contend that Apple charges too much for apps. The consumers argue, in particular, that Apple has monopolized the retail market for the sale of apps and has unlawfully used its monopolistic power to charge consumers higher-than competitive prices. A claim that a monopolistic retailer (here, Apple) has used its monopoly to overcharge consumers is a classic antitrust claim. But Apple asserts that the consumer plaintiffs in this case may not sue Apple because they supposedly were not "direct purchasers" from Apple under our decision in Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois, 431 U. S. 720. We disagree. The plaintiffs purchased apps directly from Apple and therefore are direct purchasers under Illinois Brick. At this early pleadings stage of the litigation, we do not assess the merits of the plaintiffs' antitrust claims against Apple, nor do we consider any other defenses Apple might have. We merely hold that the Illinois Brick direct-purchaser rule does not bar these plaintiffs from suing Apple under the antitrust laws. We affirm the judgment of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The lawsuit was filed in 2011 by a group of iPhone users who believe Apple violates federal antitrust laws by requiring apps to be sold through its App Store, where it

Supreme Court Rules Police Need Warrants to Obtain a User's Smartphone Location Data

The United States Supreme Court today ruled that the government "is required" to obtain a warrant if it wants to gain access to data found on a civilian's smartphone, but only when it's related to the user's location data (via The New York Times). Image via Wikimedia Commons The decision is expected to have major implications for digital privacy moving forward as it pertains to legal cases, and could cause ripples in unlawful search and seizure cases that involve personal information held by companies like emails, texts, internet searches, bank records, and more. In a major statement on privacy in the digital age, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the government generally needs a warrant to collect troves of location data about the customers of cellphone companies. But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said the decision was limited. “We hold only that a warrant is required in the rare case where the suspect has a legitimate privacy interest in records held by a third party,” the chief justice wrote. The court’s four more liberal justices joined his opinion. Today's vote in the case Carpenter v. United States came down to a 5-4 ruling, and originally emerged from armed robberies of Radio Shacks and other stores in Detroit dating back to 2010. In the case, prosecutors relied on "months of records" obtained from smartphone makers to help prove their case, ultimately showing communication between Timothy Ivory Carpenter outside of a robbery location -- with his smartphone nearby -- and his accomplices inside of the location. The

Apple and Other Companies File Brief Arguing Against 'Rigid Analog-Era' Fourth Amendment Rules

Apple, Twitter, Snap, Facebook, Microsoft, and a collection of other technology companies have filed a legal brief this week, aimed at the Fourth Amendment and its "rigid analog-era" protections that lag behind protecting users in the modern age (via Reuters). The brief was filed in regards to the case Carpenter v. United States, which is a Supreme Court case focusing on the warrantless search and seizure of historical smartphone records, and whether or not such data collection by the government is prohibited by the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizures. Carpenter v. United States specifically ties to smartphone data held by a third party -- or any company that has access and can store personal user data -- and includes information revealing the "location and movements" of the user over 127 days. With the new filing, which is in support of neither party, the companies state that customers should not be "forced to relinquish Fourth Amendment protections" against intrusion by the government, simply because they choose to use modern technology. "To resolve this case, the Court should forgo reliance on outmoded rules that make little sense when applied in the digital context. In particular, the third-party doctrine and the content/non-content distinction should not operate to categorically foreclose Fourth Amendment protection; instead, Fourth Amendment law should favor a more flexible approach that assess reasonable expectations of privacy in light of new and evolving technologies and the highly sensitive data they implicate."

Supreme Court Ruling Should Spell the End of Apple's Patent Troll Battles in East Texas [Updated]

The Supreme Court of the United States today decided that U.S. companies may only face patent infringement lawsuits in the jurisdiction in which they are incorporated, which in Apple's case would be California. The decision is significant for Apple, as the iPhone maker faces several patent infringement lawsuits in a single district court in Eastern Texas that is considered friendly to patent holding entities, or so-called "patent trolls." That very court in Tyler, Texas has, for example, ordered Apple to pay $532.9 million to patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC in 2015, and $22.1 million to Acacia Research last September for infringing upon patents it acquired from Nokia. By limiting where patent infringement lawsuits can be filed, the Supreme Court's decision means that Apple will likely be able to battle patent infringement lawsuits in Northern California, and finally put East Texas behind it. The Supreme Court's decision today relates to a Delaware-based lawsuit between Heartland Food Products Group and The Kraft Heinz Company, but it extends to all domestic companies across the United States. Update: The appears to be considerable confusion throughout media coverage of this ruling. The ruling narrowly limited a company's "residence" to the place of incorporation, but patent lawsuits may still be filed anywhere "the defendant has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business." As a result, it appears patent lawsuits can still be filed against Apple in many jurisdictions, including the Eastern District of