Epic Games appeals to the US Supreme Court in latest Apple legal clash

The move follows Apple’s own appeal filing earlier this month as Epic seek to make a 2021 ruling stick

Epic Games appeals to the US Supreme Court in latest Apple legal clash

Epic Games has filed an appeal with the US Supreme Court, asking it to pause an injunction granted to Apple as it attempts to overturn the ruling in the long-standing legal battle between the companies.

Apple and Epic have been at loggerheads for due to Epic seeking to circumvent Apple's 30% fee on in-app purchases by directing users to its own site for transactions. This move led to the high-profile removal of Epic’s hit game Fortnite from the App Store and kicked off a - so far - long-running and ongoing saga.

September 2021 saw Epic emerge victorious with a California court ordering the tech giant to allow developers to implement in-app purchases outside the app store, however this kicked off a series of appeals which eventually led to something of a mixed bag of results in April 2023, with Apple emerging successful in many aspects of the lawsuit - although perhaps most crucially, it lost the right to prevent companies from circumventing the commission fee.

Both companies quickly appealed the decision, with Apple filing for an injunction earlier this month, giving it time to prepare its own case. Epic is now attempting to ensure that the 2021 ruling stands.

Inching towards victory?

Apple’s argument to the supreme court is that the previous decision forcing it to allow all developers to take third-party payments based on one specific case was an overreach. Epic, meanwhile, argues that granting a pause on the decision is too lenient, perhaps suggesting a certain level of bias towards Apple.

So where does the story go from here? That remains to be seen. The battle between the two companies has lasted for almost three years now, and shows no signs of ending quite yet. Apple’s move to force developers to give up 30% of their profits may seem like good business, but with more and more game makers selling their products on alternative app stores, it's increasingly encouraging developers to sell their products elsewhere.

With courts seemingly agreeing time and time again that Epic should be able to offer in-game purchases outside of the established ecosystems, overturning this decision seems something of a longshot.

We listed Epic Games as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022. We’ll be unveiling our list for 2023 in the coming months.

Staff Writer

Lewis Rees is a journalist, author, and escape room enthusiast based in South Wales. He got his degree in Film and Video from the University of Glamorgan. He's been a gamer all his life.