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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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