Apple’s ebook damages trial tentatively scheduled for May 2014


US District Court Judge Denise Cote sent out an order on Tuesday, made public last night, calling for all parties involved in Apple’s e-book case to prepare for a damages trial set for May 2014. Apple could wind up owing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

Back in June, Judge Cote found the Cupertino company guilty of conspiring with 5 major book publishers to raise the price of ebooks. At the time of the ruling, the court hadn’t set dates for any of the follow-up hearings. But yesterday’s order helps fill in the blanks…

Reuters reports:

“The federal judge who ruled that Apple Inc violated antitrust law by conspiring with five major publishers to raise prices of e-books has scheduled a May 2014 trial to determine damages, according to an order made public on Wednesday.

Absent an earlier resolution, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan would be expected at the trial to consider whether Apple should pay damages that could reach hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Additionally, the order calls for the government and Apple to wrap up their interviews with experts by December 13, and all Court papers must be submitted by that date. Steve Berman, a lawyer for the DOJ, says they are pleased that the court agreed to their timeline.

iBooks iCloud

The damages trial is significant because of what’s at stake here for Apple. Experts estimate that the company could have to pay in upwards of $500 million to appease the Department of Justice and the 33 US states and territories that are listed as plaintiffs in the case.

That being said, Apple would rather pay the half a billion dollar fee than agree to settle with the DOJ. The government’s settlement proposal includes everything from the iPad-maker canceling its ebook deals with publishers, to changing its App Store pricing structure.

Stay tuned.