Last week, Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store after Epic Games introduced a direct payment option in the app, defying App Store rules. In what appears to have been an orchestrated move, Epic Games promptly filed a lawsuit against Apple, accusing the company of anti-competitive actions. Gibson Dunn has been selected to stand as counsel for Apple before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in the case.
The firm has represented Apple in high-profile litigation cases in the past, such as the second Apple v. Samsung case. Apple filed a lawsuit in February 2012 claiming that Samsung had violated five Apple patents. Samsung responded with a counterclaim, stating that two patents had been infringed on by Apple. Apple was awarded $539 million in damages as a result.
Interestingly, Gibson Dunn has also counseled against Apple in the Apple v. Qualcomm antitrust and contract litigation in the Southern District of California. The case saw Gibson Dunn attorneys counsel Apple’s contract manufacturer when Apple refused to pay royalties on Qualcomm’s intellectual property.
“The court is almost certainly going to ask why Epic can’t just live and comply with the same app developer agreement it had been honoring for years, gladly making a billion-dollar amount, while this litigation is ongoing,” Mueller speculated.
The first Epic Games v. Apple encounter in court is scheduled to take place on Monday in the form of a Zoom videoconference. Epic Games now faces the threat of its Apple Developer Program account being terminated on August 28 unless it resolves violations of Apple’s Developer Program License Agreement.