Apple pressured to drop 4G iPad branding in Australia, asks to postpone May 2 court hearing

Apple pressured to drop 4G iPad branding in Australia, asks to postpone May 2 court hearing

Apple has said that a Melbourne court has not given it enough time to fully prepare for a defence of a case where it has been accused of misleading Australian consumers with the marketing of a its new 4G-enabled iPad tablet.

The company was in court on Monday, entering talks with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after the watchdog had taken issue with Apple’s advertising of its “iPad with WiFi + 4G”. The ACCC had said Apple’s previous branding represented “to Australian consumers that the product, with a SIM card, [can] connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case.”

During the meeting, lawyers representing the ACCC and Apple failed to reach an agreement in mediation, suggesting that Apple could face another lengthy legal fight in the country, adding to lawsuits it has brought against Samsung in the past year. The ACCC is said to be pushing for Apple to drop the 4G branding completely, something that could impact the company’s worldwide marketing campaigns.

Apple agreed to abide by three key clauses following its meeting with the ACCC in March. It said it would add a statement to its website that detailed the compatibility of the new iPad with Australian LTE and WiMAX networks both online and in-store, send signage with the same statement to resellers and contact existing iPad 4G purchasers, offering them the opportunity to claim a refund.

The company updated its website on March 30, following up with emails to customers in April.

The Australian agency is said to be considering taking action against Apple for a second time, this time over allegations that the Cupertino-based technology giant has engaged in price-fixing with titles in its iBookstore.

The ACCC has urged retailers to formally raise the issue as it considers following a move by the US Justice Department (DoJ), where the US government issued legal proceedings against Apple and five of the world’s biggest book publishers.

Last week, the DoJ proceeded with lawsuits against Apple, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Penguin, accusing them of working together in order to fix ebook prices and restrict the dominance of online retail giant Amazon (and also Barnes & Noble).

Within hours of the announcement, three publishers were reported to have settled, fearing a long and expensive legal fight.

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