Top tech legal battles over the past decade

This first part of a four part series looks at all the legal issues that spawned across the IT industry in the past decade. Part one looks at some of the top class action lawsuits.

  • EFF files surveillance lawsuit against NSA, Bush and Cheney In 2008, the [[artnid:260912 |Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit against the US National Security Agency (NSA), US President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney]] and other government officials, alleging that an NSA electronic surveillance program continues to illegally spy on US residents. The lawsuit alleges that the NSA is conducting mass surveillance on US residents, even as Bush and other officials say the program only targets US residents when they communicate with overseas terrorism suspects. Filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California, the lawsuit is a class-action complaint on behalf of all residential customers of AT&T's telephone and Internet services.

  • MS anti-trust: MS settles state class action lawsuits: In 2003 [[artnid:41138|Microsoft settled antitrust class action]] lawsuits with five states and the District of Columbia. The six new settlements, with a total value of about $US200 million, bring the total number of states that have settled to 10. Class action lawsuits against Microsoft for antitrust-related practices continued in five other states. The total cost to Microsoft of all 10 class-action lawsuits it has settled is about $US1.55 billion, including a $US1.1 billion settlement of a California lawsuit in January. Years later, when Microsoft launched its Vista operating system, it was up for another class action suit when users claimed the giant unfairly labelled PCs "Windows Vista Capable" even when the computers could only run the most basic form of the operating system.

  • Lawsuit charges CRT makers with price fixing In 2007, a [[artnid:200044|class-action lawsuit was filed against six monitor manufacturers]] alleging the companies of being a "global cartel" involved in price-fixing of CRT monitors. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of Nathan Muchnick, alleges that six manufacturers: Chunghwa, LG Electronics, Matsushita, Philips Electronics, Samsung and Toshiba , artificially inflated the prices of CRT products to remain stable despite a rapid decline in demand.

  • Google slapped with class action lawsuit over Buzz A Florida woman, [[artnid: 336788 |Eva Hibnick]], filed a class-action lawsuit against Google Inc., charging that the new Buzz social networking tool set violates the privacy rights of users. Hibnick filed the suit in a San Jose, Calif., federal court on behalf of herself and the approximately 31 million U.S. users of Google's popular Gmail e-mail service.

  • Facebook hit with class action lawsuit over privacy changes The class action lawsuit was filed against [[artnid:336528|Facebook over changes that the social networking site made to its privacy settings]] last year. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that the modifications have in reality reduced privacy protections for Facebook users rather than increasing it, as the company had claimed it would.

  • Resellers gain court victory over Fujitsu The [[artnid:321028|five year court battle between Australian resellers, ASI Solutions and Webster Computer Systems and Fujitsu,]] reached new heights when the two won significant victories in the Federal Court of Australia over vendor. The pair was among several OEM PC assemblers who claim to have been exposed to substantial commercial losses after selling faulty Fujitsu MPG3 and MPF hard drives between 2000 and 2002. Although steps were made to launch a class action suit on behalf of all the resellers effected in 2003, it was stymied when lawyers, Levitt Robinson Solicitors, failed to secure backing from at least seven parties.

  • ACCC takes Allphones to court The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched class action and contempt of court proceedings in the Federal Court against [[artnid:340705|Allphones Retail for its alleged treatment of franchisees.]] The action is based on existing Federal Court proceedings brought by the ACCC in October 2008 against Allphones and its CEO, Matthew Donnellan, director and COO, Tony Barker, and its former national franchising manager,Ian Harkin, for breaches of the Franchising Code of Conduct and the Trade Practices Act (1974).

  • Dell settles discrimination suit In 2009, [[artnid:312434|Dell was asked to pay $US9.1 million]] to settle a class-action lawsuit in which former employees accused the company of sex discrimination, the computer maker said. Of the total, $US4.5 million will be paid out to the plaintiffs and $US1.1 million will pay their lawyers and other legal costs. The other $US3.5 million will go into a fund for base pay adjustments for current female employees who were part of the suit, subject to an equity review and salary analysis, Dell said.

  • Sex discrimination lawsuit brought against EMC EMC could face a [[artnid:193652|sexual discrimination]] class action lawsuit, if a judge opens an existing case up to other female EMC workers, the Wall Street Journal reported. Two women filed a lawsuit against the IT giant in 2004, alleging discrimination and harassment.

  • Sony, LG, Samsung, Hitachi, Toshiba accused of price fixing Home electronics retail store, [[artnid:337769|Prisco Electric Co, filed a class-action lawsuit against Sony, Samsung Electronics, Toshiba, LG Electronics, Hitachi]] and several subsidiaries, accusing the electronics manufacturers of colluding to fix prices in the U.S. optical disc drive (ODD) market. The 31-page complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California details Prisco calling the companies co-conspirators in attempts to "fix, raise, maintain and stabilise the price of Optical Disk Drive Products sold in the United States." The lawsuit also claims the disc drive manufacturers used trade organisation forums to meet and discuss agreements to keep prices of CD, DVD and Blu-ray drives in products like the Sony PlayStation 3 and PCs artificially high.

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