The U.S. Supreme Court Ruled in Favor of Wolf Haldenstein in an Antitrust Case Against Apple

On May 13, 2019, in Apple Inc. v. Pepper, No. 17-204, the United States Supreme Court affirmed a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals holding that iPhone purchasers have standing to sue Apple for monopolizing the market for iPhone apps in this longstanding antitrust class action.  Writing for the Supreme Court, Justice Kavanaugh explained that the consumers, who allege that Apple is able to charge too much for the apps sold on its App Store, where Apple forces consumers to shop for apps by virtue of their complete control over the distribution of apps for the iPhone, are “direct purchasers” from Apple with standing to sue the company for “the full amount of the unlawful overcharge that they paid to Apple.”

Wolf Haldenstein’s Mark Rifkin, who has been Lead Counsel for the plaintiffs since 2007, said, “We are gratified that the Supreme Court reaffirmed the straightforward principle that consumers who purchase a monopolized product directly from the alleged monopolist may sue the monopolist to recover the full amount of the overcharge they are forced to pay by reason of the monopoly.  Yesterday’s decision is an important victory not only for iPhone consumers, but for all those who favor fair and open competition in e-commerce markets.” Kellogg Hansen Todd Figel & Frederick PLLC served as U.S. Supreme Court counsel to Wolf Haldenstein and argued this matter before the Court.

The case was commenced in federal district court in Oakland.  The Supreme Court’s decision clears the way for the plaintiffs to proceed on the merits of their claim.  The plaintiffs do not seek a specified sum of damages. However, for more than a decade, Apple has collected billions of dollars in annual revenue from the App Store.  The plaintiffs expect to prove that the overcharges paid by consumers since Apple’s monopoly began in 2007 will be measured in the billions of dollars.

See the U.S. Supreme Court Decision here.

Supreme Court deals Apple major setback in App Store antitrust case, CNBC, Tucker Higgins, May 13, 2019.

Consumers Win Over Apple at Supreme Court (podcast) with Wolf Haldenstein’s Partner Mark Rifkin, Bloomberg, June Grasso, May 13, 2019.

Apple Must Face App Store Class Action, Justices Say Law 360, Bryan Koenig, May 13, 2019.

Opinion: Apple’s loss at the Supreme Court is ‘a big victory’ for consumers’ fighting Big Tech’s app an platform monopolies, Market Watch, Therese Poletti, May 13, 2019.

In rare bipartisan move, 31 states ask SCOTUS to undo ban on consumer antitrust claims, Reuters, Alison Frankel, October 9, 2018.