Apple faces a fresh legal challenge after law firm King & Ferlauto filed a class action lawsuit against the company in the Superior Court, alleging Apple's violation of a Californian consumer protection act.

The law firm maintains Apple violated the act by not supporting certain G3-equipped models of Mac with the same features in Mac OS X afforded to more recently developed G4-based systems, MacCentral reports.

The allegations centre on an Apple press release distributed in May 1998. This promised: "Mac OS X will feature pre-emptive multitasking, memory protection and advanced virtual memory, and will be fully optimized for Apple's PowerPC G3-based computers."

Missing features King & Ferlauto counter that, in recent months, early generation G3-processor Macintosh users migrating to OS X have discovered that they've lost some features of their Macs. Such lost features include: DVD playback; support for older ATI graphics accelerators using OpenGL; and hardware-accelerated QuickTime movie playback.

MacCentral reports attorney Thomas Ferlauto, who accuses Apple of a "willful failure to write software drivers in OS X to take advantage of certain ATI-based hardware accelerators". It's also alleged that this failure was designed to "accelerate a deliberate policy of planned obsolescence".

The suit seeks damages and costs. As it's filed under Californian law, it only affects Californian consumers.