The request was denied Thursday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson, who held that Epic, which produced the video game Fortnite, hadn’t explained how Apple’s foreign business documents related to the claims that the company monopolized the App Store system, which required game makers to pay out 30% commissions on in-app payments.
“The problem here is not that Epic’s discussion of why foreign documents responsive to any particular [request for production] are relevant to claims or defenses under U.S. law was insufficiently detailed,” the judge wrote in his nine-page order. “The problem is that Epic did not even attempt that showing.”
The judge also wrote that he can’t endorse a simplistic holding that documents about foreign conduct are always relevant or never relevant, because neither proposition is true.
Apple has repeatedly denied claims of App Store monopolization brought by developers and consumers. Epic is going after restrictions that it says essentially force app developers like them to distribute their apps through Apple App Store.
Apple removed their hit game Fortnite from its app store after the game offered a discount on its virtual currency for purchases made outside of the app, from which Apple receives a 30% cut. The company sued Apple earlier this year after it took Fortnite out of its App Store. Because of the suspension, Epic is barred from making apps for the iPhone or iPad.
Epic previously accused Apple of operating “a complete monopoly” over the one billion users of its operating system, which commands all Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad and Macbook.
Apple has said that Epic has itself benefited from being on the App Store and had “grown into a multibillion dollar business”.
A bench trial in the high-profile dispute between Epic and Apple is slated for mid-spring.
The cases are In re: Apple iPhone Antitrust Litigation, case number 4:11-cv-06714, Donald R. Cameron et al. v. Apple Inc., case number 4:19-cv-03074, and Epic Games Inc. v. Apple Inc., case number 4:20-cv-05640, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.