Epic wins minor victory in Apple antitrust case

On Behalf of | Nov 25, 2020 | Business Law |

Many New York residents who are interested in the latest electronic devices tuned in on Nov. 10 to watch Apple Inc.’s product announcement event. What they may not have known is that the event was held at the same time that a federal judge in California was making an important ruling in an antitrust and breach of contract lawsuit involving the Cupertino-based iPhone maker and the video game developer Epic Games.

Tort-based claims

The “Fortnite” developer sued Apple for its allegedly unfair business practices after the technology giant removed the game from the iOS marketplace. Apple responded with a counterclaim that accused Epic of breach of contract for denying iOS users discounts that were offered to other players. Apple then filed additional tort-based counterclaims because Epic still receives revenue from players who use iOS devices even though the app is no longer available. Apple says that this amounts to theft.

Judge grants motion to dismiss

The judge questioned Apple’s tort-based counterclaims when they were filed, and she granted Epic’s motion to dismiss them during a Zoom hearing. The ruling means that Apple will not be able to seek punitive damages if it prevails in court. Some legal observers believe that Apple knew its counterclaims would be dismissed and only filed them to provide an additional avenue of appeal. Epic’s attorneys are pinning their hopes on their antitrust arguments as they concede that they are likely to be found in breach of contract.

Judge grants motion to dismiss

Cases like this one can take years to litigate, which is why attorneys with experience in business and commercial law may advise disputing parties to do everything they reasonably can to reach a settlement at the negotiating table. When these efforts are unsuccessful, attorneys may suggest exploring less adversarial approaches like arbitration or mediation.