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US Court Denies Apple, Epic Rehearing Appeal Of Antitrust Ruling

 |  July 3, 2023

Apple and Epic Games were unsuccessful in persuading the full Ninth Circuit to reconsider its findings in a highly anticipated antitrust dispute regarding Apple’s management of its App Store.

According to Bloomberg, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision in April that had mixed outcomes for both Apple and Epic, the creator of Fortnite. The court ruled that Apple must allow app developers to direct users to alternative payment methods, but it rejected Epic’s request to bring third-party app marketplaces onto the operating system.

The appeals court overturned the lower court’s decision that Epic was not obligated to pay Apple’s attorney fees.

The Ninth Circuit denied the rehearing requests from both Apple and Epic without providing an explanation. Bloomberg reports that the next possible course of action in the litigation would be a petition to the US Supreme Court, if either party decides to pursue it.

Read more: Apple & Epic Both Ask US Appeals Court To Reconsider Antitrust Ruling

Apple stated in its petition for rehearing that the court’s decision would hinder the company’s ability to utilize a security and privacy tool, which is essential for competing with other platforms.

“Moreover, the uncontradicted evidence at trial showed that virtually every online platform has adopted anti-steering (or anti-circumvention) rules similar to Apple’s,” the company said.

In contrast, Epic stated in its petition that Apple hinders the progress of more inventive and superior app stores and payment solutions, which could offer enhanced privacy and security, and diminishes its own product investments.

All the petitions for rehearing were denied by the panel. Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. voted to deny the petitions for rehearing en banc, and was joined by Judge Sidney R. Thomas and District of Oregon Judge Michael J. McShane, sitting by designation.