Apple Ordered to Pay $6.5M For Private Copy Levy on iPads in France
By Rick Mitchell
PARIS–In a May 30 summary judgment, a French court ordered two Apple subsidiaries to pay 5 million euro ($6.5 million) to a government body empowered to assess levies on electronic storage media to compensate intellectual property rights holders for revenues purportedly lost to home copying of protected works (Apple Retail France v. Copie France, TGI Paris, docket number unavailable, summary judgment 5/30/13).
According to the Paris First Instance Court’s ruling text, the Private Copy Tax Collection and Redistribution Commission, through its agent Copie France, sought a 7.18 million euro ($9.4 million) private copy levy on Apple’s sales of iPads in France from February 2011 to December 2011.
Apple had collected most of that amount from customers, but declined to turn it over to the commission, pending a decision by the country’s highest administrative court–the State Council–on the legality of the levy. The U.S. company argued that if the council struck down the levy, it could return the amount collected to customers,
The First Instance Court accepted Apple’s argument that there was a “serious question” about the levy’s legality, but said the commission has the right, under France’s intellectual property code, to collect a “provisional” levy until the council rules.
It further said Apple had “harmed” the commission by forcing it to go to court to obtain that sum.
Apple did not immediately reply to emails seeking comment.