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Judge Tosses Apple Counterclaims Against Fortnite Maker

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) — A federal judge late Tuesday dismissed two counterclaims by Apple against Fortnite maker Epic Games, in the popular online game maker’s antitrust lawsuit challenging Apple’s practice of taking a 30% cut on all in-app purchases.

U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers also ruled Apple “has no basis” for its demand of punitive damages.

Epic Games sued Apple and Google after the tech companies kicked Fortnite off their app stores due to an ongoing dispute over commissions.

The legal dispute began when Epic encouraged its users to pay it directly for in-game upgrades instead of using Apple, which earns a 30% commission on all app payments through its app store.

That policy is at the center of several lawsuits by app developers who claim Apple is using its app store to exert monopolistic power over the market.

Apple countersued for breach of contract, claiming Epic is trying to circumvent the app store’s rules to avoid paying millions of dollars in commissions Apple says it’s owed for sales of Fortnite content. According to Apple, Epic breached the contract by launching its own in-app payments system.

In its counterclaims, Apple also accuses Epic of intentional interference with prospective economic advantage and conversion.

In a motion for judgment on the pleadings filed in advance of Tuesday’s hearing, Epic said “a judgment dismissing these claims will ensure that the case stays focused on the validity of Apple’s agreements and practices. These are the issues on which Epic’s claims and Apple’s contract-based counterclaim depend.”

On Tuesday, Gonzalez Rogers told Apple’s attorney Anna Casey the tech giant “is on the losing side of this.” Read from source….