Apple defeats bid by rival app store to prolong antitrust case

The Apple logo is shown atop an Apple store at a shopping mall in La Jolla, California, US, December 17, 2019, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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  • Lawyers for plaintiff Cydia at Quinn Emanuel said litigation would benefit from 9th Circuit’s decision in Epic v. Apple
  • Apple lawyers at Gibson Dunn won bid for early 2024 trial

(Reuters) – Apple Inc won a bid on Monday in California federal court for an early 2024 jury trial in an App Store antitrust case, as a judge declined to hold up the litigation while a US appeals weighs a parallel lawsuit challenging the tech company’s policies as anticompetitive.

Lawyers for Apple at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and attorneys for rival app store Cydia at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan were at odds over how quickly to press ahead in the case. Plaintiff SaurikIT LLC, which developed Cydia, alleged in 2020 the iPhone maker was violating competition law in the app distribution and payment processing markets.

Cydia’s attorneys said the litigation would benefit from hearing from the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in the blockbuster antitrust case Epic Games v Apple, which could be argued as soon as October. But US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who oversaw that case and ruled largely last year for Apple, said on Monday she wanted the case to move ahead faster.

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“If something happens that changes the landscape, just come back and talk to me. I’m not going to sit here and wait. [Epic’s] case could go all the way to the Supreme Court,” Gonzalez Rogers said. “We’re going to litigate based upon the current state of the law.”

She added: “Shorter times make you focus. So, focus.”

A lawyer for Apple, Jay Srinivasan at Gibson Dunn, and an Apple representative on Tuesday did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Cydia’s lawyers David Nelson and Adam Wolfson at Quinn Emanuel did not immediately return similar messages.

The lawsuit “seeks to open the markets for iOS app distribution and iOS app payment processing” and “to recover the enormous damages Apple caused Cydia.” Apple has denied any liability. Gonzalez Rogers in May declined to dismiss Cydia’s amended lawsuit.

Wolfson had asked Gonzalez Rogers to allow certain depositions and other fact-finding to extend to June 2023, giving more time for the parties to hear from the 9th Circuit in the Epic case.

Srinivasan at Gibson Dunn said “neither the parties nor the court can divine when an appellate decision will issue.” Apple opposed extending “discovery” to next June.

The 9th Circuit hasn’t yet said when he will hear Epic’s case. Apple’s lawyers have said they prefer a hearing next year.

Gonzalez Rogers set Cydia’s trial for March 25, 2024.

The case is SaurikIT LLC v. Apple Inc, US District Court, Northern District of California, No. 4:20-cv-08733-YGR.

For SaurikIT: David Nelson and Adam Wolfson of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan

For Apple: Jay Srinivasan of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Read more:

Epic accuses Apple of ‘delaying’ key US appeals court hearing

Apple can’t dodge rival app store Cydia’s antitrust lawsuit

Apple urges court to reject Epic’s appeal in App Store antitrust case

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