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Adobe Illustrator Monopoly Class Action Lawsuit

By Mike Holter

 

Adobe Systems
An antitrust class action lawsuit filed in California federal court says Adobe Systems is illegally monopolizing the market for professional vector graphic illustration software by pushing out its primary competitor, FreeHand. 
The monopoly began in 2005, the Adobe Systems class action lawsuit says, when Adobe purchased Macromedia and acquired FreeHand, the primary competitor to Adobe’s professional graphic illustration software product, Illustrator. The class action claims the acquisition of FreeHand allowed Adobe to gain monopoly power in the market. 
“Since acquiring FreeHand, Adobe has significantly raised the price of Illustrator while, at the same time, effectively removing FreeHand from the market by failing to update the program,” the Adobe class action states. 
Adobe announced in 2007 that it would stop developing FreeHand and published documents showing customers how to migrate from FreeHand to Illustrator. Adobe “explicitly encourages would-be purchasers of FreeHand to purchase the higher priced Illustrator software product due to the lack of support and development of FreeHand and its increasing advance to total obsolescence. If consumers are forced to transition to Illustrator, they will lose the use of designs they have created in FreeHand. Adobe has also refused to release the FreeHand code, which would allow FreeHand to continue to be used and developed as an open source code.”
The Adobe Systems monopoly class action lawsuit is seeking to restore competitive conditions in the vector graphic illustration software market. It is also seeking damages on behalf of the following classes of persons for injury to their business or property:
Mac Damages Class: All persons or entities that purchased FreeHand or Illustrator for a Macintosh operating system from any time since Adobe’s purchase of Macromedia in 2005 (the “Class Period”). Excluded from the Mac Damages Class are Defendants and their subsidiaries, parents or affiliates, and government entities.
 
Windows Damages Class: All persons or entities that purchased FreeHand or Illustrator for a Windows operating system from any time since Adobe’s purchase of Macromedia in 2005 (the “Class Period”). Excluded from the Windows Damages Class are Defendants and their subsidiaries, parents or affiliates, and government entities.
 
Mac Injunctive Class: All persons or entities that currently use professional vector graphic illustration software on a Macintosh operating system, in addition to Free FreeHand. Excluded from the Mac Injunctive Class are Defendants and their subsidiaries, parents or affiliates, and government entities.
Windows Injunctive Class: All persons or entities that currently use professional vector graphic illustration software on a Windows operating system, in addition to Free FreeHand. Excluded from the Windows Injunctive Class are Defendants and their subsidiaries, parents or affiliates, and government entities.
 
A copy of the Adobe Systems Antitrust Class Action Lawsuit can be read here. The case is Free FreeHand Corp., et al. v. Adobe Systems Inc., Case No. CV 11-02174, United States District Court, Northern District of California, San Jose Division. 
 

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Updated May 26th, 2011

 

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