Australia’s Apple vs Epic Games Court Case Has Been Suspended While They Battle It Out in the US

Australia’s Apple vs Epic Games Court Case Has Been Suspended While They Battle It Out in the US
Photo: Chris Delmas, Getty Images

Apple and Epic Games continue to battle in the Australian courts. On March 23, the two corporations partook in an interlocutory hearing in which Apple requested a permanent stay of the case.

At the time, Justice Nye Perram was yet to deliver a verdict but he has now issued his judgement.

What happened with Epic Games and Apple in court last time?

The Epic Games vs Apple battle comes down to the removal of the Fortnite app from the Apple App Store.

Apple removed Fortnite after Epic Games launched an in-game payment system that bypassed the official App Store system payment, of which Apple gets a cut. Apple said this was a violation of the App Store’s terms and conditions.

Epic then sued Apple on the grounds of anti-competitive restrictions. A case was launched in California but Epic also sued Apple in Australia a few months later.

During the proceedings in Sydney in March, Apple requested a permanent stay of this case in Australia. This would essentially allow Apple to stop the case from proceeding in a court in Australia on the grounds that Epic agreed to only litigate in California.

Apple argued that the case between Apple and Epic in the US was so similar to the one in Australia that it should be settled in the original jurisdiction that was agreed upon.

Epic’s response to this was that Apple’s anti-competitive structures override contractual agreements and should be tried by Australian law. Epic’s counsel said in March: “relief is sought under the Competition Act under Australian consumer law in a form that would not be available in California under any circumstances.”

What’s the judgement?

On April 9, Justice Perram announced his judgement on whether Apple would be granted a permanent stay of the case.

He ordered that the case be temporarily stayed for a period of three months. If Epic does not commence a suit in the US alleging contraventions to Australian Consumer Law within three months then the case will be permanently stayed.

Justice Perram also ordered that if Epic pursues this case in the US then the proceedings will continue to be stayed but can be brought back to Australian courts should the court in California decline to determine these allegations.

A spokesperson from Epic Games commented on the court’s recent decision, saying:

“We remain committed to our fight for increased competition on digital platforms in Australia and around the world. Australian consumers have the right to install apps from the sources they choose and avoid paying excessive prices for apps. We will continue supporting the Australian government and regulators in their pursuit of fair competition in mobile app marketplaces.”

This puts the case between Apple and Epic in Australia on hold for now, with all eyes turning to the court case in the US.

The US side has heated up in the past week with both Apple and Epic filing their ‘proposed findings of fact’ documents for the court case. The case is set to take place in California on May 3.