Beefing up its docket for the fall term, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday granted certiorari in five cases, including an antitrust class action dispute over Apple Inc.’s alleged monopoly over the market for iPhone apps.
In the case Apple v. Pepper, the court will consider Apple’s plea to end the class action, which could result in treble damages under the Clayton Act. The dispute turns on Apple’s “App store,” through which third-party software developers can sell software apps for the iPhone directly to consumers, in exchange for commissions paid to Apple.
“The threshold issue is who may seek damages based on allegedly anticompetitive conduct by Apple that allows it to charge excessive commissions on apps distribution: the app developers, the plaintiff consumers, or both?” Apple’s counsel of record Daniel Wall, partner at Latham & Watkins, wrote in his petition.
The question is “a critical question for antitrust law in the era of electronic commerce,” Wall added.
U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco also urged the justices to grant review in the case, which will be argued this fall. “The importance of the question presented will only grow as commerce continues to move online,” he wrote.