Pair sues Apple over iPhone locking

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Two iPhone users have filed a class action lawsuit against Apple, claiming that it's violating anti-trust laws by locking the phones to AT&T.

Back in 2007, Apple signed a five-year exclusivity deal with AT&T. But, say Zach Ward and Thomas Buchar, by doing this without getting the consent of Apple customers, the company has violated  the Sherman Act's ban on monopolization.

And by installing software locks on the iPhone, thry say, Apple violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which includes a clause allowing handset owners to modify their phones for use on the wireless network of their choice.

"Apple has prevented iPhone customers from exercising that legal right by locking the iPhones and refusing to give customers the software codes needed to unlock them," reads the complaint.

"Through these actions, Apple has unlawfully stifled competition, reduced output and consumer choice and artificially increased prices in the aftermarkets for iPhone voice and data services."

They're demanding that Apple stop selling locked phones and start giving the unlock code to any existing customers that request it, along with treble damages.

Since the pair bought their iPhones, back in 2009, Apple has changed its policy. In February 2011, a Verizon iPhone was released, and Apple started selling - very expensively - unlocked iPhones in the US later that year.