A new court date has been set for a judge to settle the fight between software developer Epic Games and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). The two sides will start presenting their cases in a district court in California on May 3, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. local time. The date was brought forward from July in order to avoid scheduling conflicts with other court cases, according to the case scheduling and pre-trial order.
Other pre-trial dates germane to the case have also been established by the court. Among these are a Feb. 15, 2021, deadline for both sides to provide written reports from experts supporting their arguments.
As previously agreed by both Epic and Apple, the proceeding will take the form of a bench trial. In contrast to a jury trial, in which a verdict is rendered by a group of outside individuals, a bench trial involves only a judge.
The two companies are locked in an increasingly bitter dispute over the fees developers pay Apple for their titles to be included in the tech giant’s App Store, the only legitimate source of software for users of the company’s popular mobile devices. Apple’s standard fee for developers is 30%, which includes in-app purchases of listed titles.
Epic argues that this violates antitrust law. Apple has characterized Epic as a company “that simply wants to pay nothing for the tremendous value it derives from the App Store.”
In August, Apple removed Epic’s enormously popular game Fortnite from the App Store, after Epic engineered an in-game purchasing system that circumvented Apple’s fee regime. Apple then took this a step further, removing Epic’s developer account entirely.
On Wednesday, Apple stock moved more or less in harmony with the broader equities market, ending the day 1.7% higher.