Apple Seeks Supreme Court Hearing on E-Book Price-Fixing Case

In paperwork filed Wednesday with the U.S. Supreme Court, Apple has indicated it plans to fight lower court decisions that found it violated antitrust laws in its dealings with publishers for e-book sales on the iPad.

Before Apple launched its first iPad in early 2010, it negotiated terms with five of the six top book publishers to sell e-books in the device's new iBookstore. Those deals were found to be anti-competitive, according to a 2013 U.S. District Court ruling that was upheld in a split decision by an appeals court panel in June.

On Wednesday, attorneys for Apple filed a request with the Supreme Court for a 30-day extension -- until October 28 -- to file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the court. Such a writ, "orders a lower court to deliver its record in a case so that the higher court may review it," according to Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute. The U.S. Supreme Court "uses certiorari to pick most of the cases that it hears," the institute noted.

'Exceedingly Important to the U.S. Economy'

Apple's application to the Supreme Court argues that the decision handed down by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York on September 5, 2013 "conflicts with this Court's precedent and with the decisions of other lower courts on a significant question of law."

That question applies to the Sherman Antitrust Act enacted by Congress in 1890. The act makes a distinction between "per se" antitrust violations -- that is, anti-competitive actions like horizontal price-fixing that need no further investigation into actual effects on the marketplace to determine they are illegal -- and "rule of reason" violations, which require greater consideration of whether the actions promote or harm market competition.

"This question is exceedingly important to the...

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