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Federal Court rejects Google’s bid to throw out Epic Games lawsuit

The Epic Games (Epic) lawsuit saga continues in 2022 with the Federal Court of Australia ordering a stay on proceedings against Google.

In late 2020, Epic brought a lawsuit against Apple over anti-competitive and anti-consumer practices. Epic accused Apple of breaching Australian consumer law due to Apple’s restriction on the mobile device marketplace. Apple effectively enforces a 30 per cent fee on all payments in the App Store, which was causing consumers to pay higher prices for in-game purchases on Epic’s game Fortnite. As such, Epic enabled users to pay directly for in-game purchases which led to Fortnite being removed from the App Store altogether.

Alongside its case against Apple, Epic filed similar proceedings against Google in March 2021 for breach of Australian competition and consumer legislation. Epics case against Google centred on an abuse of control over the Android operating system, which was consequently restricting competition in payment processing similar to Apple.

The Federal Court of Australia recently denied Google a stay on the proceedings and ordered Google to pay costs to Epic. Both Apple and Google sought to settle their respective cases in a more favourable choice of jurisdiction, namely California, USA. However, Justice Perram of the Federal Court ruled that if the case were to be resolved in California, neither Australian consumers nor the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would be able to rely on the findings of the judgement as prima facie evidence in Australia. Since the lawsuit was brought in Australia to apply comprehensive Australian competition and consumer law, Justice Perram viewed that permitting resolution of the case in California would go against the purpose of the lawsuit.

Epic has claimed a small victory, but Google has said it is presently preparing an appeal against the decision.

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