UK judge rules against Epic in bid to sue Apple despite mixed Google decision

Epic’s legal battle with Apple has hit a roadblock in the UK. Despite a mixed ruling on Epic’s right to sue Google, Justice Roth has ruled that a lawsuit against Apple doesn’t reach the UK court’s jurisdiction.

Specifically, Epic Games was seeking permission to force action on Apple through the UK court system. Epic targeted Apple Inc., which is based in the US, and Apple Ltd, which is an English company and wholly owned subsidiary of Apple Inc.

In a decision reached today after a virtual hearing was conducted in January, Justice Roth concluded that Epic Games should not have permission to bring its case against Apple in the UK court.

In the Apple action (Case 1377), the application for permission to serve the proceedings on A1 out of the jurisdiction was refused.

That means Epic’s legal battle against Apple Inc. will be limited to the US court system, although the battle against Apple Ltd is in the UK court system’s jurisdiction.

Justice Roth made a mixed decision in the case of Epic versus Alphabet/Google:

In the Google action (Case 1378), the application for permission to serve the proceedings on G1 and G2 out of the jurisdiction was granted for certain claims for breach of the Chapter I and Chapter II prohibitions under the CA 1998, and the injunctions claimed at paras (c), (d) and (h) of the prayer to the Claim Form. Permission was refused as regards the other claims made.

G1 and G2 refer to Alphabet Inc and Google LLC, both US companies. Google has three other entities that are within the UK court’s jurisdiction. The complete judgement is available from the Competition Appeal Tribunal here.

The short of the case is that Epic Games wants to retain all revenue from its properties, including Fortnite. Both Apple and Google take a share of revenue generated through their respective app stores.

After Epic ignored policy and created in-game commerce that didn’t use platform in-app purchase systems, both Apple and Google removed Fornite from their app stores.

An Epic Games spokesperson issued this statement in response to the decision:

“We are pleased that the Court has granted Epic permission to pursue our case against Google in the U.K. Epic will reconsider pursuing its case against Apple in the U.K. after the resolution of the U.S. case. We note the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s assessment that Apple and Google’s anticompetitive app store policies are ‘serious issues to be tried’ under UK Competition law, and that it is ‘well arguable’ that their conduct has ‘an immediate and substantial effect in the UK’. We are unwavering in our commitment to stopping Apple and Google’s anti-competitive practices and will continue to fight for fairer app distribution globally.”

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Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.