Apple Files Appeal in epic games lawsuit for the app store issue.
According to company representatives and documents filed on Friday, Apple filed a notice of appeal in the Epic Games case and asked for a stay on the injunction that lets developers add in-app links to payment websites.
If Apple wins the stay, which a judge will decide in November, a rule change potentially allowing developers to circumvent App Store fees of 15% to 30% may not take effect until appeals in the case have finished, a process that could take years.
In September, federal judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in favor of Apple for nine of 10 counts in an antitrust trial brought by Epic, the maker of Fortnite. Epic was seeking the ability to install its app store on iPhones. Kate Adams, Apple’s general counsel, said at the time the ruling was a “huge win.”
Apple Files Appeal against Epic games.
Apple has opted to appeal the ruling Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers meted out in the Epic Games vs. Apple lawsuit back in September and today filed a notice of appeal with the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The Cupertino company is planning to appeal the ruling.
On Friday, Apple asked a federal appeals court to throw out a legal decision that would require the tech giant to tweak its strict App Store rules and force it to allow app developers to inform customers of ways to pay for subscriptions and services outside the app store.
The September verdict followed a yearlong legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, maker of the game Fortnite. Apple also asked a judge to delay the ruling mandating App Store changes until hearing the appeal.
Rogers said that Apple’s anti-steering rules prohibiting links to outside websites illegally stifle consumer choice in the original ruling. As a result, she prohibited Apple from restricting developers from including “in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms.”
At the time, she gave Apple 90 days to implement these changes, but Apple is asking to wait to make any updates to the App Store rules until all of the appeals in the case have wrapped up, which could take years as Epic Games has also filed an appeal.
According to Apple, making changes to the App Store rules could “upset the careful balance between developers and customers provided by the App Store,” resulting in irreparable harm to Apple and consumers. Apple says that a stay will allow it to safeguard its platform. At the same time, it works through “the complex and rapidly evolving legal, technological, and economic issues that any revisions to this Guideline would implicate.”
Further, as grounds for appeal, Apple said that Epic Games barely mentioned the anti-steering claim during the trial and offered no evidence that that particular App Store rule harmed it. Thus, Apple claims that it is likely to succeed on appeal and that Epic will suffer no harm from staying on the injunction. Apple also said that it is working on “enhancing information flow” without impacting the consumer and that App Store changes could be coming to eliminate the need for a permanent injunction.
The Bottom Line
The company said it had already done some of what Judge Gonzalez Rogers wanted by agreeing as part of a settlement in August to allow developers to use email and other methods to communicate with their customers about alternative payment methods.
In August last year, the legal battle began when Epic tried to direct Fortnite players around Apple’s payment methods, prompting Apple to boot Fortnite from the App Store. Epic sued, and the two companies met in May in a courthouse in Oakland, Calif. Apple recently rejected Epic’s request to reinstate its developer account and return Fortnite to the App Store.
It followed the dispute with keen interest by the tech industry. As a result, Apple faces accusations of anticompetitive practices and calls for regulation worldwide, from Japan and South Korea to the European Union and Congress.