NEW YORK (Reuters) — Apple Inc urged a
federal appeals court on Tuesday to put a court-appointed antitrust
monitor on hold, arguing that his efforts were harming the company's
The iPhone maker asked the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New
York to halt monitor Michael Bromwich's work while the court
considers Apple's bid to remove him altogether, a process that could
last several months.
"We can't turn back the clock," said Theodore Boutrous, a lawyer for
Apple, in explaining why the company would suffer irreparable harm
if the monitor is allowed to continue before the appeals court has a
chance to decide whether his appointment was appropriate in the
But a U.S. Department of Justice lawyer told the court that the
monitor was essential to ensure that Apple complies with the law,
after a federal judge last summer found the company liable for
conspiring with five publishers to raise e-book prices. Apple, the
lawyer said, cannot be trusted to comply on its own.
"The preliminary injunction demands that Apple fully understands why
and how it needs to comply with antitrust laws, not a year from now
… but today," Finnuala Tessier said.
The three-judge panel said it would take Apple's request under
advisement. For now, the monitor's work is on hold until the court
determines whether to grant Apple a longer stay.
The hearing followed months of legal wrangling over Bromwich, who
was appointed by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in October to
oversee Apple's compliance policies in light of her finding that
Apple had illegally fixed e-book prices. Cote rejected Apple's bid
to stop the monitor's work in January, and the company appealed to
the 2nd Circuit.
Apple has accused Bromwich of aggressively and unnecessarily
pursuing multiple interviews with top executives, including Jonathan
Ive, the company's chief designer. It has also complained that
Bromwich's fees and duties would cost it millions of dollars.
But the judges seemed skeptical of those arguments, noting that
Apple is one of the world's richest companies.
"Maybe if they had spent some of their very valuable time keeping
the company from violating antitrust laws, perhaps they wouldn't be
in this position," Judge Gerard Lynch said.
Apple also argued that under Cote's order, Bromwich's powers are far
too broad, permitting him unfettered access to executives and
Under questioning from the judges, Tessier said the monitor's duties
are limited to ensuring that effective policies are developed and
implemented. He is constrained from investigating instances in which
the company may have violated antitrust law and must turn over any
such evidence to the court, she said.
Lynch then suggested that the court could issue an order making
those limitations clear in an effort to assuage Apple's concerns.
But Boutrous said the company would still oppose the monitorship as
The case is U.S. v. Apple, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; editing by