Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Wrist Competition: Though Apple (AAPL) has never confirmed that it is actually working on a smartwatch, leading Swiss watchmakers say the tech giant has been attempting to lure away some of their best technicians, the Financial Times notes. LVMH president Jean-Claude Biver claims that Apple has tried to persuade employees of LVMH’s Hublot watch brand to join the iPad-maker. Biver says that he “saw the emails personally.” He adds that all of the Hublot employees contacted by Apple declined the tech giant’s offers. He also notes that a number of Swiss watch component makers have experienced similar poaching efforts from Apple. Other Swiss watchmakers, including Swatch (SWGAF), say that a growing number of technology companies aside from Apple are looking to lure away watchmakers as interest in wearable computers and smartwatches grow. Other companies looking to recruit Swiss watch talent reportedly include Samsung and Google (GOOG). Swatch CEO Nick Hayek indicated that his company saw “no reason” why it should form a partnership with any technology company. Patek Phillippe’s US president told the Financial Times that Apple might be looking to create “a type of hybrid with some type of mechanical aspects” since “the Swiss watch industry is very adept at metallurgy”.
Yet Again: Samsung and Apple will square off in a California court again this week in the latest round of their seemingly never-ending patent infringement battle, the Wall Street Journal notes. In the latest case, Apple is suing Samsung for violating five mobile device patents and is asking $2 billion in damages. Samsung counter-claims that Apple has infringed on two of its patents. The trial begins on Monday in U.S. District Court in San Jose. This is the second major patent case in California involving the quarreling technology giants. Samsung emerged the loser in the first case. A jury found the South Korean electronics manufacturer guilty of violating Apple patents in 2012 and imposed a $1 billion award in Apple’s favor. The judge in the case reduced the award to $600 million, but a new trial over additional damages added $290 million to that last year. In the latest round of litigation, Google engineers are likely to testify on Samsung’s behalf, drawing Google deeper into the patent dispute. Samsung claims that four of the features that allegedly violate Apple patents were licensed under Google’s Android OS. Google engineers are expected to claim that Google was working on the technology in question before Apple received its patents.
Bigger: On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote approved class action certification for a lawsuit accusing Apple of manipulating e-book prices on the iBookstore, Reuters notes. Finding that the group of consumers who filed the lawsuit had “more than met their burden” to obtain class-action status, the judge scheduled a trial for later this year, probably in July or September. The lawsuit could cost Apple hundreds of million of dollars if the court rules in the plaintiffs’ favor. Apple is appealing a court ruling last year that found it guilty of conspiring with five publishing companies to fix e-book prices in violation of antitrust laws.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.