Epic Games on Monday will seek to overturn parts of a court ruling in an antitrust lawsuit last year that largely favored Apple.
The “Fortnite” creator sued Apple in 2020, alleging that the iPhone maker’s App Store rules, which require software developers to pay commissions of up to 30 percent for in-app purchases, violated US antitrust laws.
After a three-week trial last year, a judge largely sided with Apple, stopping short of labeling the company an “illegal monopolist” and upholding its right to charge commissions.
But the judge found that Apple violated its home state, California’s unfair competition law, and ordered the company to let developers tell users how to buy apps outside of its proprietary payment system.
Apple appealed the order, and Epic appealed the finding that Apple did not violate antitrust laws. The two sides will argue their case before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Monday, where representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice and the state of California will also appear to outline relevant laws.
According to its court documents, Epic plans to argue that the trial judge did not correctly interpret US antitrust laws. In particular, the trial judge ruled that Apple’s contracts with developers to use its App Store did not violate antitrust laws because they were non-negotiable agreements — the developers either agreed or could not use the App Store. Epic argues that such standard agreements are still subject to antitrust laws.
Other major technology companies use similar agreements to protect access to their systems. The Justice Department, which has investigated Apple and other tech companies, asked to join the Epic appeal because it said the lower court ruling could “significantly harm antitrust enforcement beyond the specific context of this case.”
© Thomson Reuters 2022