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Apple eager to go to trial in ebook price-fixing lawsuit; three publishers settling state litigation

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Apple and two book publishers signaled that they are eager to go to trial to prove their innocence, even as the three other publishers accused in the Department of Justice's ebook price-fixing lawsuit moved forward with plans to settle separate suits from individual US states.

iBooks iPhone Icon 640
iBooks iPhone Icon 640

When the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Apple and five book publishers, alleging that they'd colluded to raise ebook prices, it didn't take long for the other shoe to drop: three publishers settled with the DOJ that morning. Apple and the remaining two publishers, however, have maintained their innocence, and it appears Cupertino is anxious to make its case in the courtroom. Reuters reports that Apple attorney Daniel Floyd told a US district court judge Wednesday morning that "Our basic view is that we would like the case to be decided on the merits," going on to say that "we believe that this is not an appropriate case against us and we would like to validate that." Publishers Macmillan and Penguin, which have also denied any wrongdoing, took similar stances according to the report.

The issue of state litigation still looms, however. 15 states and Puerto Rico filed their own litigation last week against the three holdouts as well as Simon & Schuster. The remaining two publishers — HarperCollins and Hachette — have already reached a tentative agreement with the states in question, according to the Wall Street Journal. Both stated at Wednesday's hearing that they in fact hope to reach settlements with all 50 US states within the next 60 days. Simon & Schuster's attorney said that it too was in negotiations with the states, and anticipated reaching a similar settlement agreement. Still, with Apple, Macmillan, and Penguin showing no signs of flinching, it appears the story is still far from over. The next hearing for the federal case is scheduled for June 22nd.