Apple, Epson Face French Legal Complaints Over Allegedly Shortening Life of Products

Apple, Epson Face French Legal Complaints Over Allegedly Shortening Life of Products


  • A French consumer association filed preliminary, legal complaints
  • Apple is already facing lawsuits in the US
  • Planned obsolescence is illegal in France

Smartphone maker Apple and Japanese printer company Epson are facing legal complaints in France over allegedly speeding up the ageing process of their products to stimulate demand.

A French consumer association called “HOP” – standing for “Stop Planned Obsolescence” – filed preliminary, legal complaints in court against the two groups over the charges.

HOP said it filed its complaint against Apple in Paris on Wednesday. A prosecutor opened an investigation into Epson last month, a judicial source said on Thursday, following a complaint filed in September by HOP in a court in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.

Laetitia Vasseur, co-founder of HOP, told Reuters the aim of both complaints was to apply the French consumer law, which was modified in 2015 to include the notion of planned obsolescence.

Apple is already facing lawsuits in the United States over accusations of having defrauded iPhone users by slowing down devices without warning to compensate for poor battery performance.

These lawsuits came after Apple said last week that operating system updates released since “last year” for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE and iPhone 7 included a feature “to smooth out” power supply from batteries that are cold, old or low on charge.

Phones without the adjustment would shut down abruptly because of a precaution designed to prevent components from getting fried, Apple said.

Under French law, companies risk fines of up to 5 percent of their annual sales for deliberately shortening the life of their products to spur demand to replace them.

A spokeswoman for Epson France said Epson denied the charges made against it by the HOP association. She added that Epson was working with authorities on the matter and that the quality of its products was of the utmost importance for the company.

Officials for Apple France could not be immediately reached for comment.


Pokemon Booted Out of French World War I Memorial

Pokemon Booted Out of French World War I Memorial

A French World War I memorial has been removed from Pokemon Go following complaints about players gathering to do battle at a site containing the remains of 130,000 soldiers, the site’s management said.

The Douaumont ossuary in northeast France contains the remains of some of the more than 300,000 French and German soldiers who died in the Battle of Verdun, one of the bloodiest of the 1914-18 conflict.

In 1984, then French president Francois Mitterrand visited the site with West German chancellor Helmut Kohl, with the pair joining hands to symbolise their countries’ post-war reconciliation.

Both the underground ossuary and the plaque commemorating the Mitterrand-Kohl handshake featured in the Pokemon Go smartphone app until last weekend when the game’s creator Niantic removed them at the site’s request, Douaumount spokeswoman Elodie Farcage said.

The ossuary had been the location of a Pokemon “gym”, where rival teams do battle, while the plaque was a Pokestop, where players could collect virtual items.

A spokeswoman for the nearby Verdun Memorial said it too was listed as a Pokemon gym. “But we have no Internet network here so the players cannot use it,” Emeline Villeseche said.
The nearby village of Fleury-devant-Douaumont, which was destroyed during the war, also features in the app.

The mayor of the area told AFP he would ask Niantic to remove it.

The French battlefields are not the first memorials to send players of the global sensation packing.

Washington’s Holocaust Museum and Arlington National Cemetery have also asked visitors to show respect for the dead by refraining from playing the game there.

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Tags: Apps, Gaming, Pokemon, Pokemon Go