Is Your Computer Battery An Energizer? - Technologist
Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Is Your Computer Battery An Energizer?

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the internet.

We are bombarded with advertising proclaiming longer and longer battery life for our various gadgets and devices.  Indeed, who hasn't had images of the Energizer Bunny burned into his or her mind?

But seriously folks, battery life isn't a joking matter.  When your cell phone or laptop dies on you for lack of battery power, you certainly don't feel like laughing.
And this feeling of unhappiness can even lead to legal proceedings.  Yes, a class action lawsuit was filed recently in federal court in San Jose against Intel.  The lawsuit not only complains about the battery life of laptops powered by Intel chips, but also makes accusations of testing manipulation for purposes of exaggerated representations regarding battery life.

Of course, at this point the allegations have not been proven in court, and Intel adamantly denies the allegations.  Moreover, Intel asserts that the tests accurately related to how the subject laptops usually are handled by users.  In addition, Intel notes that this lawsuit was filed by the same law firm that failed in a prior class action lawsuit against Intel.

The battery life tests were conducted under a benchmark known as MobileMark.  MobileMark has been embraced by the Business Applications Performance Corporation (BAPCo), which includes Intel, AMD, HP, Dell and other companies as members.  In addition to the recent lawsuit against Intel, there have been industry critics of MobileMark who argue that it does not accurately measure battery life based on true user experience, and as a result, it overstates battery life.

The proof will be in the factual pudding in the lawsuit.  In the event that the plaintiffs' law firm can convince the court that the case is a proper class action (which remains to be seen), then the trier of fact will have to decide whether battery life is reasonable when compared to advance representations.  Meanwhile, keep your charger cord handy to make sure you have enough juice when needed.

On a separate but related note, I can express happiness that the Apple 160 GB iPod that I bought recently runs on its battery for two full days (48 hours) without a charge!

Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP (http://www.duanemorris.com) where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes.  His Web site is http://www.sinrodlaw.com and he can be reached at ejsinrod@duanemorris.com.  To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please send an email to him with Subscribe in the Subject line.

This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.  The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.