Epic Games Asks US Supreme Court to Allow Ruling Against Apple’s App Store Payment Practices to Take Effect

Epic Games on Thursday asked the US Supreme Court to allow a lower court ruling to take effect against Apple that could force the iPhone maker to change payment practices in its App Store.

Epic, maker of the popular video game Fortnite, filed a request asking the nation’s highest court to lift a July 17 decision by the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals to pause its ruling that upheld an injunction against Apple. The decision gave Apple 90 days to pursue an appeal at the Supreme Court.

In the closely-watched case, Epic filed its antitrust lawsuit in 2020 challenging Apple’s App Store practices.

The 9th Circuit in April upheld a federal judge’s 2021 order that could require Apple to allow developers to provide links and buttons that direct consumers to payment options outside the App Store and avoid paying sales commissions to Apple.

The trial judge had found that Apple violated California’s unfair competition laws by barring developers from “steering” users to other ways to pay, but also that Apple’s rules did not violate antitrust laws.

In seeking to pause the injunction from taking effect while it readies an appeal to the Supreme Court, Apple told the 9th Circuit that the trial judge had erred in prohibiting Apple from enforcing its rules against all app developers in the United States, rather than just Epic itself.

“Apple will be required to change its business model to comply with the injunction before judicial review has been completed,” the company told the 9th Circuit. “The undisputed evidence establishes that the injunction will limit Apple’s ability to protect users from fraud, scams, malware, spyware, and objectionable content.”

Epic told the Supreme Court on Thursday that the 9th Circuit’s standard for putting cases on hold is “far too lenient.”

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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