iPhone user files class-action 'iBrick' suit

iPhone user files class-action 'iBrick' suit

Unlock block opens legal can of worms for Apple

California resident Timothy Smith has begun a class-action lawsuit against Apple after the recent iPhone update which rendered unlocked phones inoperable.

The suit, filed by San José lawyers M. Van Smith and Damian R. Fernandez, states: 'On September 27 2007 Apple punished consumers for exercising their rights to unlock their iPhones.

'Apple issued a software update that "bricked" or otherwise caused iPhone malfunctions for consumers who unlocked their phones and installed the update.

'Under an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998, consumers can lawfully modify their phones for use on a cellphone network of their choice. Apple ignored the exemption in disregard of consumers' rights.'

Smith's lawyers have set up an Apple iPhone Lawsuit website to encourage others to join the action, and have provided a full copy of the suit (PDF) for visitors to view.

Smith and his lawyers have outlined at least seven ways in which they claim consumers have been harmed by Apple.

These include customers who own an iPhone and are unable to transfer to a wireless carrier other than AT&T, and the disabling of iPhones or erasure of third-party applications.

Smith added that there may be other ways that customers have been harmed, and asked disgruntled iPhone users to let him know so that he can consider them for inclusion in the lawsuit.

The legal filing is currently classified as a State Class Action suit, mean ing that only Californian residents who have been affected can join.

However, the team is trying to get the designation changed to a Nationwide Class Action suit so that all US users can join.

Smith is seeking unspecified monetary damages, and for Apple to be barred from selling carrier-locked iPhones.

The suit also seeks to force Apple to provide warranty services for those users who have unlocked their phone.