US antitrust officials ask to join arguments in Apple’s appeal

US antitrust officials ask to join arguments in Apple’s appeal

Written by Stephen Niles

(Reuters) – Officials have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to participate in oral arguments next month in the Epic Games creator’s appeal to Fortnite for loss in court against Apple Inc (NASDAQ :), according to court documents filed Friday.

Epic sued Apple in 2020 alleging that the iPhone maker violated antitrust laws with App Store rules, which require developers to pay Apple commissions of up to 30% on in-app purchases. Apple emerged mostly victorious, allowing its commissions to stay. At the time of the trial, antitrust experts said Epic’s loss shuts down legal avenues for the Department of Justice, which has been investigating Apple since 2019, to file an antitrust complaint.

Epic appealed its loss, with oral arguments set October 21 in the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where Apple and Epic will each have 20 minutes to decide their case.

In January, the Department of Justice entered the case by filing a brief. Antitrust officials said they do not support either side in the disputes at hand but are concerned that the lower court ruling incorrectly interpreted Sherman Act, the country’s primary antitrust law. On Friday, US officials requested 10 minutes of discussion.

The Ministry of Justice wrote in the filing.

Neither Epic nor Apple opposed the move, although Apple wants the regulators’ argument to come from Epic’s time or to be given extra time.

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