Epic Games has filed a “writ of certiorari” with the Supreme Court, pushing for the highest legal authority in the land to intervene in their dispute.
A “writ of certiorari” is a legal directive that compels a lower court to provide its case records for examination by a higher court. This process is commonly used by the U.S. Supreme Court to decide which cases it will consider. It's important to note that the “writ of certiorari” follows common law principles, although it can be altered or regulated by statutes or court regulations.
At the heart of this dispute is Epic Games‘ contention that Apple's App Store operates as a monopoly, exerting excessive control over app distribution and imposing unfair restrictions on developers. In contrast, Apple asserts that its policies are necessary for safeguarding user security and preserving the integrity of its platform. The battle lines have been drawn, and both companies are firmly entrenched in their positions.
The ‘Writ of Certiorari' and Its Implications
The submission of a “writ of certiorari” is a strategic move by Epic Games, indicating their unwavering commitment to pursuing a favorable resolution to this legal standoff. Essentially, this legal maneuver implores the Supreme Court to review the case and consider whether it merits a hearing before the highest court in the United States. By taking this step, Epic Games seeks to elevate the gravity and implications of the case.
Epic Games' petition to the Supreme Court, available for public scrutiny, lays out the company's arguments and the legal basis for its appeal. However, it's important to note that the Supreme Court has not yet decided whether it will grant the case a hearing. This decision will determine whether the courtroom battle that has captivated the tech world will reach the highest legal echelons.
A Protracted Legal Odyssey
Apple and Epic Games are locked in a legal battle over Apple's App Store rules. The case started in 2020 when Epic Games added a direct payment option in its popular game, Fortnite, to avoid paying Apple's 30% fee on in-app purchases. Apple kicked Fortnite out of the App Store, and Epic Games sued Apple for its “anti-steering” practices, which prevent developers from using other payment methods on the App Store.
A lower court ruled that Apple must let developers use any payment processor they want, which could hurt Apple's profits from its app sales and in-app purchases. The Epic Games vs. Apple saga has indeed been a protracted one, featuring a series of pivotal moments:
Apple's July 2023 Appeal: Earlier this year, Apple sought to halt the case by appealing to the Supreme Court, arguing that the lower court's decision to let the trial proceed was flawed. However, the Supreme Court denied Apple's request, allowing the trial to continue its course.
April 2023 Verdict: In April 2023, a judge delivered a verdict that brought mixed outcomes for both parties. While Apple secured a win on the antitrust front, with the judge ruling that the company had not violated antitrust laws, it wasn't an unequivocal victory. The court also determined that Apple must revise some of its App Store policies.
Throughout this legal odyssey, the case has attracted widespread attention and ignited discussions about app distribution, monopolistic practices, and the power that tech giants like Apple wield over their ecosystems. With Epic Games' latest move to involve the Supreme Court, the spotlight on this case will only intensify.