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Ludo Lugnani
Ludo Lugnani

Hi this is ZipLaw! Here are this week's top court cases and the law firms advising on them, taken directly from our ZipTracker database.

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Here’s what we’re serving today:

  • 📱 Google faces mega app-store trial
  • 🚋 Virgin fights train brand licensing deal
  • 🍿 Nokia sues Amazon over Prime Video

⚖️ Law firms in today's edition: Norton Rose Fulbright, RPC, Hogan Lovells, HSF and Sidley Austin.

Google faces mega app-store trial

Credit: Epic Games, Google

In Short: Google is gearing up for a "megatrial" as the Competition Appeal Tribunal merges two substantial lawsuits alleging the tech giant's app store practices are anti-competitive, focusing on excessive commission fees and unfair treatment of apps like Fortnite.

The Facts: Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, has been at odds with Google (and Apple) after its app was booted from their app stores for sidestepping their in-built payment systems. This legal tussle has now evolved into a consolidated courtroom drama set for 2026, amalgamating Epic's grievances with a hefty £920 million class action spearheaded by consumer advocate Liz Coll. Coll's lawsuit represents a vast pool of U.K. consumers arguing Google's Play Store commissions are not just exorbitant but also a direct violation of U.K. and European competition laws.

The Arguments:

  • Epic Games argues that Google's Play Store has overstepped its bounds by imposing unfair commission rules and stifling competition, particularly spotlighting the ousting of Fortnite for introducing a direct payment feature to its users.
  • Consumers argue that Google's Play Store monopolistic practices have led to inflated prices for app users, courtesy of the "excessive and unfair" 30% commission.

Key Points for Discussion:

  1. The Fusion of Consumer and Corporate Grievances: This consolidation marks a rare intersection of corporate litigation and consumer class action, setting a precedent for how similar future grievances might be collectively addressed. It underscores the growing scrutiny on tech giants' market practices and the evolving legal strategies employed by both corporations and consumer advocates to challenge these tech giants.
  2. The Delicate Dance of Antitrust Litigation: The tribunal's decision to merge these cases for a joint factual hearing, followed by separate assessments of expert testimonies, reflects the intricate balance courts must maintain in antitrust proceedings. This methodology could serve as a blueprint for handling complex litigation involving multiple stakeholders with overlapping but distinct grievances.
  3. Evolving Standards in Digital Marketplaces: At the heart of these lawsuits is the broader debate on the fairness of digital marketplace practices, particularly the commission fees charged by platform holders like Google. We have seen regulators pursue Apple and Google over their app store practices recently. The outcomes of these cases could push for a re-evaluation of what constitutes fair competition in the digital age, potentially leading to more consumer-friendly practices or even more regulatory intervention.

⚖️ Who is advising?

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