The Federal Court of Canada agreed to order Apple’s Canadian subsidiary to turn over documents to the Competition Bureau to help investigate whether Apple unfairly used its control of suppliers to kill off competition.
The Competition Bureau said agreements Apple negotiated with wireless carriers may have cut into competition by encouraging the companies to maintain or boost the price of rival phones.
Under the order, Apple will have 90 days to turn over the documents, which include agreements it has reached with Canadian mobile carriers.
Competition Bureau lawyer Derek Leschinsky said Apple lawyers have threatened the company might launch a constitutional challenge of the right of Canadian courts to force Apple’s wholly owned Canadian subsidiary to turn over records held by the California-based parent company.
In other words, its lawyers were not going to tackle the problem of its anti-competitive behaviour, just that it has a right to do what it likes because it is a US company and did not have to hand over any incriminating documents.
Leschinsky pointed out that the provision of the Competition Act that gives Canadian courts the power to compel the production of documents held outside Canada has never been found to be unconstitutional.
Chief Justice Crampton agreed there is increasing legal consensus around the world that such provisions are legitimate.