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November - 2008 - issue > Tech Tracker
Apple sued for monopolizing mp3 market
Christo Jacob
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
The mp3 battle is heating up with more players getting at loggerheads with Apple by trying to crack iTunes' monopoly on mp3 market. Luxpro, a Taiwanese electronics company, as a part of continuation of a long-running legal battle with Apple has sued the California based company on several counts including contract interference, attempted monopolization of the MP3 player market, unfair competition, and commercial disparagement. The lawsuit alleges that Apple has been illegally pressuring Luxpro's retail partners to stop selling Luxpro music players, in an attempt to monopolize the market.

The 2002 December founded Luxpro launched subsequent models followed by the launch of EZ Share MP3 player in January 2004. In March 2005, the company introduced its Super Shuffle MP3 player, as a rival to Apple's iPod Shuffle, in terms of looks and name, prompting Apple to seek an injunction against Luxpro. As a German court granted the injunction, Luxpro responded by renaming its Super Shuffle as 'Super Tangent'.

In the next month, says the complaint, Apple "engaged a third-party to purchase a Super Tangent from LuxPro" and "surreptitiously obtained two of Luxpro's proprietary price lists". The complaint also states that Apple sent threatening letters to Luxpro demanding to withdraw its MP3 players from the market.

In July 2005, Apple asked the Shihlin District Court in Taipei, Taiwan, for an injunction that prohibited Luxpro from making, distributing, or selling any MP3 player. The injunction was granted a month later, after a tough legal battle. The complaint that Luxpro filed does not name a specific damage amount; it seeks damages to be determined by a jury trial, plus attorneys' fees. And it describes the extensive effort by Apple to intimidate and pressure Luxpro's suppliers and partners as a means to keep Luxpro's MP3 players off the market.

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