Judge Rules Case Against Apple Over 'Bait Apps' Will Move Forward
U.S. District Judge Edward Davila has responded to Apple's motion to dismiss a case brought against the company over 'bait apps' and ruled it can move forward.
Apple is defending against a lawsuit involving minors, where parents of minor children argued that Apple's practice of distributing free apps was misleading because minor children could purchase "game currency" for a short duration after the parents had logged in. The children's games that use this model are known as 'bait apps'.
In the past Apple allowed a 15 minute window after you had logged in to make additional purchases without authenticating again. This made installing applications less of a hassle to users; however, resulted in the scenario described above.
PaidContent notes that last year, a federal judge consolidated a series of class action suits from parents which Apple then filed to dismiss.
U.S. District Judge Edward Davila responded to Apple's motion upholding four of the five claims made by the parents, including on that alleged Apple violated consumer protection laws by marketing the apps as free:
Contrary to Apple's argument, Plaintiffs have alleged with specificity which misrepresentations they were exposed to, their reliance on those misrepresentations, and the resulting harm. Plaintiffs pled specific facts that Apple "actively advertis[ed], market[ed] and promot[ed] its bait Apps as 'free' or nominal .
Seattle tech lawyer Venkat Balasubramani takes a more detailed look at the case on Eric Goldman's Law and Marketing Blog. Surprisingly, it appears the parents have a pretty strong case but Balasubramani believes Apple will eventually win.
"One thing is for sure. The knives of plaintiffs' lawyers are sharpened when it comes to online litigation. I can see Apple defeating this lawsuit eventually, but the claims themselves surprised me from a factual standpoint. I doubt Apple could have anticipated something like this."