Apple Urges US Court to Undo Antitrust Order on App Store in Epic Games Case


Apple said on Monday it will ask the US Supreme Court to hear its challenge to a judge’s order in an antitrust case brought by Fortnite maker Epic Games that could force the iPhone maker to change payment practices in its App Store.

Apple said in a court filing it will ask the justices to take up its appeal of a ruling on Friday by the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals that kept in place most of the order issued in 2021 by US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

The judge’s order said Apple could not prohibit developers from providing links and buttons to payment options in their apps that take consumers outside of the App Store — a step that could reduce sales commissions paid to Apple.

Epic sued Apple in 2020, challenging the fee Apple imposes on in-app payments. Epic was seeking an injunction to stop Apple’s practice, not monetary damages. Rogers ruled against most of Epic’s claims, though did issue the order that Apple is contesting. 

In appeals to the 9th Circuit, Epic challenged key parts of the judge’s ruling that favored Apple, while Apple challenged the order concerning the App Store. The 9th Circuit in April upheld most of the judge’s action. On Friday, the 9th Circuit rejected petitions from Apple and Epic urging the court to revisit its April decision.

Epic Games also can ask the Supreme Court to hear its appeal.

Epic in its appeal to the 9th Circuit had sought to revive its antitrust claims against Apple over its restrictive app distribution and payment services.

Apple’s attorneys in Monday’s filing said the 9th Circuit reached too far in issuing a nationwide injunction against Apple alleging that it violated a California state unfair competition law.

Apple said its petition in the Supreme Court that it will raise “far-reaching and important” questions about the power of judges to issue broad injunctions.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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