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China-based company sues Apple for breach of contract

Another day, another lawsuit. China-based, material producer Hebei Hengbo Fine Ceramic Material is suing Apple for breach of contract and demands a jury trial for disagreement with the tech giant over terms of a contract for high purity alumina melt stock, a material used to produce sapphire glass, notes AppleInsider. Such glass is used in some Apple Watch screens, Touch ID fingerprint sensors, and protective covers for rear-facing cameras on iPhones.

Filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the lawsuit by Hebei Hengbo Fine Ceramic Material seeks to revoke a current Apple contract and collect damages from the tech giant for an undisclosed breach of contract. If the court determines such action is not possible, Hengbo wants the tech giant to adhere to the original contract, notes AppleInsider.

All this has to do with the bankruptcy of GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT), which left a trail of debt around the world, including a claim of $6 million from Hebei Hengbo Fine Ceramics Material in the Handan City in China. GTAT filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2014 after its scratch-resistant sapphire glass was left out of Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 plus. 

GTAT claimed Apple imposed “oppressive and burdensome terms and obligations” on the company and were an “unnecessary drain” on its resources, reportedly costing $1 million a day. The display supplier closed plants in Arizona and Massachusetts, resulting in the loss of 890 jobs out of a total workforce of 1,100. GTAT said Apple was to blame even though Apple provided $578 million in funding for the Arizona plant, which GT agreed to repay the money over five years.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.