ACCC wants to appear in Epic-Apple lawsuit to provide its public policy views

Australia's competition regulator has thrown its hat in the Epic-Apple legal fight ring as it wants to share its views on competition public policy with the court.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor
Image: Getty Images

Another party has applied to participate in the Australian legal fight between Epic Games and Apple, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) stating it wants to provide its thoughts about competition public policy in court.

The Epic Games-Apple court case down under is currently on hold as the presiding judge, Justice Nye Perram, said he wanted to see the outcome of a similar lawsuit being heard in the US before continuing with the Australian case.

In his order to stay proceedings, Perram explained the Australian matter would only re-commence if Apple were to be formally accused of breaching Australian Consumer Law in the US or if US courts were unwilling to make a decision regarding whether Apple's app store practices were anti-competitive.

Despite the trial for the US lawsuit already underway, having commenced last week, Epic appealed Perram's decision to stay proceedings as it believes the Australian lawsuit should progress irrespective of the outcome of the US trial.

See also: Epic Games extends app store battle to Google in Australia

Homing in on Epic Games' appeal, the ACCC has applied to be an active participant for the appeal hearing as it believes its views, as Australia's competition watchdog, would be helpful to the court.

"The ACCC has taken the unusual step of seeking leave to appear in this appeal because the stay application raises significant public policy issues about which, as the statutory agency responsible for administering Australia's competition law, we believe we can be of assistance to the Court," ACCC chair Rod Sims explained.

If granted leave to appear, the ACCC would not become a party to the proceedings, but would make submissions on limited issues.

The ACCC's application for leave to appear is in respect of the appeal from the stay ordered by Perram.

At this stage, the ACCC has not sought leave to appear in the substantive proceedings in which Epic has accused Apple of acting anti-competitively through its app store practices, the regulator clarified.

Across various jurisdictions -- including Australia, the EU, UK, and US -- Epic Games has sued Apple over its app store practices, accusing the iPhone maker of misusing its market power to substantially lessen competition in app distribution and payment processes. 

The Fortnite-maker has also filed lawsuits against Google over similar accusations regarding its Play Store practices across the same jurisdictions.


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