‘Epic vs. Apple’ global legal battle continues with the Federal Court granting Fortnite developer’s appeal to sue Apple in the country. The new ruling makes the previous court’s three months stay order null and void. This ruling has come at a time when the companies are waiting for the case’s verdict in the United States.
In February this year, Epic Games filed a complaint against Apple to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the country’s market regulatory authority, accusing that the company’s “unrestrained market power” is stifling innovation and competition, and is artificially increasing the price of iPhone and iPad apps. In response, Apple told the Australian court that Epic’s case is “self-serving” and wants to “redefine the terms of access” which Epic has always been subject to on the company’s platforms.
In April, an Australian judge, Justice Perram, temporarily suspended Epic’s lawsuit because the companies were already fighting the same case in a California court in the United States. And to reverse that decision, the developer was required to appeal in California claiming a violation of Australian Consumer Law which it did.
Apple plans to appeal the Australian court’s new ruling
Australian publisher, Financial Review reported the court’s decision. Three Federal Court judges ruled in Epic’s favor stating that the lawsuit is a public interest issue that rules out exclusive jurisdictional stipulations. As per MacRumors, Epic is satisfied with the decision while Apple plans to appeal the new ruling. Epic said in a statement that;
“This is a positive step forward for Australian consumers and developers, who are entitled to fair access and competitive pricing across mobile app stores. We look forward to continuing our fight for increased competition in app distribution and payment processing in Australia and around the world.”
Cupertino tech company responded that the ruling is in breach of Epic and Apple’s contract which restricts all legal proceedings to the United States. The company says that;
“The initial decision in April from Australia’s Federal Court correctly ruled that Epic should be held to the agreement it made to resolve disputes in California. We respectfully disagree with the ruling made today and plan to appeal.”
Epic’s case against the Cupertino tech giant is over 30% commission for all in-app purchases. During the trial in California court, the developer argued that Apple is using App Store as a walled garden to keep users locked in and the court should instruct the company to allow sideloading on iOS so users and developers have more choices. On the other hand, Apple argues that Epic wants to violate its terms of agreement and is looking for preferential treatment. In defense of the App Store review process, for which the earned commission is used, the company argued that it is absolutely necessary to ensure the protection of users’ privacy and security.