Class-action suit filed against Apple over iPhones locked to AT&T network

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Apple by two individuals named Zach Ward and Thomas Buchar. The suit was filed against Apple over locking consumers to the AT&T network without receiving the consent of the consumers to have their iPhones locked. The duo and their legal counsel are seeking to force Apple to provide consumers with unlock codes for the iPhone.

The suit also hopes to force Apple to provide unlock codes as a matter of practice on future versions of the iPhone. The suit was filed last week against Apple in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco. The complaint lists a single count against Apple of "Conspiracy to monopolize the iPhone voice and data services aftermarket in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act."

The suit is based in part on the allegation that Apple entered into a secret five-year contract with AT&T establishing AT&T as the exclusive provider of voice and data services for iPhone customers from launch in 2007 through 2012. The suit states that the plaintiffs and other class action members who purchased the iPhone didn't agree to use AT&T for five years.

By not disclosing the five-year exclusivity agreement with AT&T to consumers, Apple effectively locked the iPhone into using the AT&T network for five years without the user's knowledge. The plaintiffs are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, treble and exemplary damages, legal costs, and the software unlock codes mentioned before. The suit also seeks to force Apple to disclose that the iPhone is locked to specific network.

[via Patently Apple]