Updates on the Apple vs. Fortress, Apple vs. Epic Games legal battles

A California federal judge appeared open Tuesday to tossing Apple and Intel’s fresh complaint alleging that Fortress Investment Group is orchestrating an anti-competitive patent aggregation scheme, saying evidence of above-market pricing is “key” to the complaint’s survival, but the suit’s pricing allegations are “like taking a stab in the dark, reports Law360 (a subscription is required to read the entire article).

Apple and Intel allege that Fortress and firms it either owned or whose patent portfolios it effectively controlled – and which do no make any technology products – stockpiled patents for the primary purpose of suing technology companies and did so in a manner that violated U.S. antitrust laws. Some folks would consider Fortress a “patent troll.”

“Apple has suffered economic harm in the form of litigation costs and diversion of resources away from innovation to respond to these entities’ serial nuisance suits,” Apple wrote in the complaint.

By the way, a patent troll is an individual or an organization that purchases and holds patents for unscrupulous purposes such as stifling competition or launching patent infringement suits. In legal terms, a patent troll is a type of non-practicing entity: someone who holds a patent but is not involved in the design or manufacture of any product or process associated with that patent.

Law360 also reports that Apple and Epic Games battled before a California magistrate judge Tuesday over whether the Fortnite game maker can depose two top Apple executives in its antitrust fight over App store fees, with Apple arguing the depositions are unnecessary because they report to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who will be deposed.

This is part of an ongoing legal brouhaha. On Aug. 13,  Epic Games announced that it had introduced a new direct payment option in the Fortnite app for iPhone and iPad, allowing players to purchase 1000 V-Bucks for US$7.99 rather than $9.99 through Apple’s in-app purchase mechanism. Shortly thereafter, Apple removed the gamer from the App Store.  Epic immediately filed a lawsuit against Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Apple countersued, and so it goes.