On 5 October 2007 a small two partner New York law firm, Folkenflik & McGerity, filed a class action Complaint in a court in California against Apple, Inc and AT&T Mobility, LCC.
The Complaint seeks direct, consequential and punitive damages totalling US$1.2 billion.
On 10 October a press release announced the action’s website. This is all in keeping with the firm’s statement on its main website that “The firm makes extensive use of new technologies to leverage its manpower and to develop cost-effective approaches to its cases.”
The Complaint regards as legally questionable the fact that the iPhone has a locked SIM card and locks in users to the AT&T cellular telephone voice service and only AT&T mobile data services.
Interestingly the Complaint also argues that Apple’s recent iPhone software release version 1.1.1 work to keep out workarounds which unlock the iPhone. Paragraph 54 states: “On information and belief, Apple expressly designed its software release version 1.1.1 expressly to disable Third Party Apps and to disable any unlocked SIM cards, and to create technical barriers to install new Third Party Apps or to unlock the SIM cards.”
The legal argument of the law firm which started the case, Folkenflik & McGerity, is that collectively such iPhone arrangements involve “unlawful business acts and practices”.
The Complaint cites law in California which uses that phrase. It also cites the Sherman Antitrust Act (the Australian equivalent is the Trade Practices Act 1974).
Meanwhile, in the marketplace Nokia plays to its advantage with advertising featuring an image of a lock and the tagline “Open to anything”. The ad messages in larger text are “Phones should be open to anything.” and “The best devices have no limits.