Apple Wins iPod Class-Action Antitrust Lawsuit

PHOTO: People attend the Apple keynote at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts at De Anza College in Cupertino, Calif., Sept. 9, 2014.Getty Images
People attend the Apple keynote at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts at De Anza College in Cupertino, Calif., Sept. 9, 2014.

Apple has been found not liable in a decade-old class-action lawsuit alleging the company engaged in anti-competitive behavior by blocking songs sold by competing music stores from playing on its iPod music player.

The legal drama that played out over the course of a decade went to trial earlier this month. It was decided in a matter of hours by a California jury.

The plaintiffs, who are comprised of consumers and electronic retailers, alleged Apple would only allow music bought from its iTunes store to work on the iPod. According to the plaintiffs, this required them to continue to purchase iPods to keep their music instead of using competing cheaper music players.

The jury found that iTunes 7.0 was a genuine product improvement, according to the Wall Street Journal, meaning that Apple did not violate any anti-trust laws.

Herbert Hovenkamp, a professor at the University of Iowa and an expert in anti-trust law, told ABC News previous case law supports companies that make "an actual improvement" from antitrust violations, even if it makes some other products incompatible.

"The burden is on the plaintiff. They have to really prove it is not a legitimate innovation," he said. "The decks are kind of stacked against the plaintiff if there is evidence customers liked the change and demand went up."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.