(Reuters) – A federal judge in California late on Tuesday dismissed some of the Apple companies AAPL.O Bloomberg News reported that the counterclaims against Epic Games have narrowed the scope of the dispute that led to the online game maker’s “Fortnite” removal from the iPhone maker’s app store.
Apple and Epic have been in a legal battle since August, when the popular game maker launched its in-app payment system to circumvent what it called Apple’s monopolistic practices.
In October, Epic submitted a request prior to Tuesday’s session, demanding that Apple’s counter-claims for deliberate interference with potential economic advantage and diversion be dismissed, as Apple requested lost app store fees and other financial damages.
Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday that US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has dropped those claims and limited Apple’s allegations to breaching counter-contract claims against Epic.
A judge ruled in October that Apple could block Epic “Fortnite” from its app store, but that it should not harm the business of Epic’s development tools, including the “Unreal Engine” program, which is used by hundreds of other video games.
“This is a serious violation of a contract case and an antitrust case, and that’s all in my opinion,” Judge Gonzalez Rogers told attorneys, according to Bloomberg News.
Bloomberg quoted a judge bloom.bg/3pgZDlx as telling an Apple attorney, referring to Epic’s behavior: “You cannot say the order is illegal independently.” “In fact, you should have the facts,” the judge said, adding that the rest of the breach of contract case is moving forward.
Apple and Epic did not respond to a Reuters request for comment. The iPhone maker told Bloomberg that it did not agree with the judge’s decision on Tuesday, adding that it was clear that Epic had breached its contract with the company.
(This story corrects the title, paragraph 1 to add Bloomberg News as a source; removes the reference to an irrelevant written order of Judge Yvon Gonzalez Rogers in paragraph 4)
Covered by Bhargav Acharya from Bengaluru and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco