A group of Apple shareholders have confirmed plans to re file a lawsuit against the company over its backdating of stock options after a judge rejected their suit.

Judge Jeremy Fogel of the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday rejected claims of fraud raised by the shareholders. He did allow the litigants the chance to revise their complaint, which they have confirmed they intend to do.

The judge agreed with Apple that the alleged false proxy statements cited in the case landed beyond the statute of limitations, but he gave the plaintiffs an option to amend their complaint to change their argument. He described the plaintiff's arguments as "too general", and requested more detail.

A SEC probe was launched into Apple earlier this year for options grants which were awarded but the dates of which were changed to make for better profits (backdating).

The lawsuit was filed on 30 June, 2006. It claims company directors and officers, including CEO Steve Jobs, didn't do their job correctly and lied to shareholders when they backdated some option awards made between 1997 and 2001. The shareholders want any backdated options or profits on strength of them to be returned to the company.

The same judge last week rejected a similar shareholder lawsuit led by a New York pension scheme, but also offered the plaintiffs in that case the chance to re file their claims by joining this other case, Apple Computer Inc. Derivative Litigation, 06-04128.