Apple Argues to Get App Store Injunction Thrown Out in Epic v. Apple Appeal

Apple today submitted its final filing in the ongoing Apple v. Epic legal battle, which is playing out in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Both Apple and Epic Games chose to appeal the original ruling as neither company was satisfied with the outcome.

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The appeal battle has been ongoing since January, but it is wrapping up with Apple's cross-appeal brief, which follows Epic's opening brief, Apple's own opening brief, and Epic's cross-appeal brief.

Throughout the appeal, Apple has maintained that ‌Epic Games‌ lost the initial trial because of a flawed argument and "unprecedented" and "unfounded" accusations of anticompetitive conduct, not a legal error. In today's cross-appeal, Apple continues to argue against the injunction that would require Apple to make App Store changes to allow developers to use outside payment methods.

Apple claims that it was an "unprecedented result" that was handed down despite the fact that Epic was unable to prove irreparable harm from Apple's anti-steering rules that prevented it from directing customers to alternate payment methods.

Epic introduced no evidence below that it ever suffered injury-in-fact from the anti-steering provisions, and it cites none on appeal. Having failed to prove such harm--before, during, or after litigation--Epic never had standing to sue under the [California Unfair Competition Law].

Apple goes on to point out that ‌Epic Games‌ in fact no longer meets the legal requirement of "standing" because it is not an iOS developer and cannot be impacted by a Guideline that applies to iOS developers.

Back when ‌Epic Games‌ first violated the ‌App Store‌ rules by implementing alternate payment methods in Fortnite, Apple suspended its developer account, and has not since reinstated it. Apple has said that it has no plans to allow Fortnite back on the ‌App Store‌ while the legal dispute is ongoing.

Apple suggests that the injunction that was handed down as part of the original ruling goes too far because it applies to all developers when it should not. Epic was the sole plaintiff in the case, and there was no class action lawsuit. "The trial involved Epic alone, without a shred of evidence about consumers or other (non-subscription) developers, whose interests have been or are being pursued in separate class actions," Apple writes in the lawsuit.

Following the briefs submitted by Apple and ‌Epic Games‌, the court will set a date to hear arguments. Apple has said that it expects a decision to come by summer 2023 at the earliest, so there is still some time to go before the legal dispute is settled.

Apple's full cross-appeal brief can be read on Scribd for those who are interested.

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Top Rated Comments

icanhazmac Avatar
25 months ago

Galaxy brain stuff:

1. Get sued by iOS developer.
2. Revoke their developer account.
3. Get tangled up in court for a long time.
4. On appeal, argue that plaintiff has lost standing to sue because they’re not an iOS developer anymore.
Did you purposefully leave out the part where said developer purposefully broke their agreement with Apple? Shouldn't the order be:

.5) Developer signs agreement with Apple
1) Developer breaks rules
2) Apple revokes dev acct
3) Dev sues Apple
4) etc.....
5) etc.....
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
erikkfi Avatar
25 months ago
Galaxy brain stuff:

1. Get sued by iOS developer.
2. Revoke their developer account.
3. Get tangled up in court for a long time.
4. On appeal, argue that plaintiff has lost standing to sue because they’re not an iOS developer anymore.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wowfunhappy Avatar
25 months ago

Did you purposefully leave out the part where said developer purposefully broke their agreement with Apple? Shouldn't the order be:

1) Developer breaks rules
2) Apple revokes dev acct
3) Dev sues Apple
4) etc.....
5) etc.....
That's beside the point, though. Epic was an iOS developer, so they should clearly be able to argue their case.

Imagine an alternate scenario where EvilCorp is engaging in sexual harassment. An employee complains, and EvilCorp fires them. The employee sues. EvilCorp claims that the former employee has no standing because they no longer work for EvilCorp. Wat?
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JPack Avatar
25 months ago
Keep in mind Apple has $1B legal budget. It basically means their team will try to argue anything and everything, regardless of likelihood of success.

https://venturebeat.com/2019/06/10/apples-former-top-lawyer-1-billion-budget-enabled-high-risk-strategies/
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cocky jeremy Avatar
25 months ago
I hope Apple buries these idiots.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
icanhazmac Avatar
25 months ago

That's beside the point, though. Epic was an iOS developer, so they should clearly be able to argue their case.

Imagine an alternate scenario where EvilCorp is engaging in gender discrimination. A contractor complains, and EvilCorp pulls all their contracts. The contractor sues for wrongful retaliation. EvilCorp alleges that the contractor has no standing because they no longer do business with EvilCorp. WTF?

This stuff matters regardless of whether you agree with the underlying case, because it sets precedent.
Sorry but it is not besides the point. Epic agreed to the dev rules and purposefully broke that agreement, then sued. They could have stuck to the rules and filed suit.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)