California plunges into antitrust battle between Epic and Apple

California Attorney General Rob Bonta late Thursday filed a brief in the Federal Circuit pleading for fair competition under state law in Epic Games Inc.’s landmark antitrust lawsuit against Apple Inc.

The 36 page meager Takes no part in the dispute but says if the federal appeals court “is unsure whether the district court correctly applied California law,” it should certify the case in the California Supreme Court. The California Unfair Competition Act (UCL) imposes “broad” and “broad” prohibitions against unfair, illegal, or fraudulent business dealings or practices.

“California’s unfair competition law has protected countless Californians from unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices,” Bonta said in one statement. “It is important that the Ninth Circuit Court interpret the law correctly, regardless of the outcome of this particular dispute.”

For more: Epic v. Apple could be a legal marathon as appeals go through the system

“Apple’s cross-appeal raises issues related to the proper application of the UCL,” the filing reads. “The district court found that Apple’s anti-steering rules violated the UCL, but at the same time concluded that Epic had not done so
determined that Apple’s conduct violated the Federal Sherman Act or
California’s Cartwright Act.”

“This brief does not endorse either party or take a position on whether the judgment below should be upheld or set aside,” the filing added.

Apple’s AAPL,
The App Store’s anti-steering rules prevent app developers from linking to payment methods other than the iOS App Store, which would allow them to circumvent Apple’s 15% to 30% commission rates. Apple claims it will be irreparably damaged if it is forced to allow developers to direct their customers to other payment systems.

Apple, which filed two briefs in the case last week, declined to comment on Bonta’s brief Thursday. California plunges into antitrust battle between Epic and Apple

Brian Lowry

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