On Tuesday, a federal judge tossed two of Apple counterclaims in its ongoing court battle with Epic Games, leaving Apple with the only option of breach of contract. Epic Games has a lawsuit against Apple’s practice of taking a 30% cut on all in-app purchases.
U.S District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled Apple ‘has no basis’ for its demand for punitive damages. Epic Games sued Apple after the company kicked Fortnite off its App Store due to a dispute over commissions.
Judge rules in favor of Epic Games and dismisses Apple’s counterclaims
In Tuesday’s Zoom hearing, Judge Gonzalez Rogers told Apple that it had not shown any “independently wrongful” act committed by Epic beyond a breach of contract. Apple argued that independently wrongful does not mean that it is an independent act and that it would have been wrongful even if it happened without a “contractual framework being present. Reported FOSS patents.
A few hours after the hearing, Apple gave out a public statement in which they explained the situation further by saying that Epic’s actions should be tried under California tort law. And that Apple has always encouraged developers to use the App Store as a platform.
We respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision and believe Epic’s conduct should be actionable under California tort law. It is clear, however, that Epic breached its contract with Apple. For twelve years, the App Store has helped developers turn their brightest ideas into apps that change the world. Our priorities have always been to provide customers with a safe and trusted place to download software and to apply the rules equally to all developers. In ways the Court described as deceptive and clandestine, Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines that apply equally to every developer who sells digital goods and services. Their reckless behavior made pawns of customers, and we look forward to making it right for them in court next May.
During the hearing, Apple also sheds light on the fact that Epic continues to generate steady revenue via in-app purchases even though having its developer account terminated in August. The argument could not sway Judge Gonzalez Rogers and granted Epic’s motion for judgment on the pleadings on some of Apple’s counterclaims.
The day Epic Games updated Fortnite to have an in-game purchase system directly linked to their company, Apple removed the game from the App Store the same day triggering a masterful media blitz and developed legal thrust. Epic’s main point of the argument is over the App Store policies like strict rules and developer fees that prohibit third-party marketplaces.
The case is expected to go to trial somewhere next May.