The US Department of Justice has been granted time to present its own oral arguments during Apple’s upcoming appeal against Epic Games, along with the State of California. On Friday, US Department of Justice officials filed a request to present 10 minutes of oral arguments during the trial, in addition to the 20 minutes of arguments per side. The lawyers said they wanted time to explain to the court the proper legal framework for evaluating antitrust claims against Apple.
Although the Justice Department’s arguments will technically support “neither side,” according to court documents, its intent is to spell out its existing concerns about how lower courts had originally ruled on the case. In an amicus brief filed on January 27, 2022, US officials noted that there were “multiple legal errors” in the district court’s analysis of US antitrust law, the Sherman Act, that could “put into question jeopardizes the effective enforcement of antitrust laws, especially in the digital economy,” the new filing explained.
Specifically, the DoJ had concerns about several aspects of that analysis, including how the lower court had interpreted portions of the statute too narrowly, as well as other issues related to the lower court’s lack of understanding of the market and Apple’s monopoly power with respect to pricing. among other things. The attorneys asked for time to present these errors to the court and explain how, if left uncorrected, they could damage antitrust enforcement beyond this case alone.
The US request to join the arguments in this legal battle follows news that the Justice Department is in the early stages of preparing its own antitrust lawsuit against Apple. US government attorneys have been interviewing affected parties, including app developers large and small, and even hardware manufacturers like Tile. He probably doesn’t want any decision in the Apple-Epic ruling to set a precedent in terms of antitrust law that could hurt his own upcoming case.
In addition to the Department of Justice’s request, the State of California also requested time to present arguments to the court to present its views on how the court should assess its consumer protection law known as the California Unfair Competition Law. .
Both requests were granted, according to documents filed in court Friday night. The US was given 10 minutes of argument time and the state of California is given five minutes. Apple is also given an additional 10 minutes of argument time on top of the time already allotted, the filing noted.
The original Apple-Epic ruling had left neither side completely satisfied, leading both sides to appeal the decision last fall.
While Apple largely won the case, as the court decided the tech giant was not a monopoly, it took issue with the part of the ruling that said Apple had to stop banning app developers from adding links for alternative payments within Apple. of your applications. While the case is on appeal, Apple was granted permission to suspend the ordered changes to the App Store. Meanwhile, Epic Games has appealed the ruling because it still wants to prove that Apple is acting anti-competitively and wants the courts to force Apple to support alternative payments and third-party app stores.
Order Allowing US Department of Justice to Argue in TechCrunch’s Apple-Epic Trial on Scribd