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Judge scolds Apple's lawyers over appeals arguments

A US judge has chided Apple's legal arguments as the company asks for time to appeal an App Store antitrust case, but has granted the delay.

Apple won the lawsuit brought against it by "Fortnite" developer Epic Games, but it didn't win outright. There were some elements of the ruling that required Apple to make changes in its App Store rules, and the company has previously asked for a stay on a number of those.

Specifically, Apple doesn't want to follow the instruction that would see it having to allow apps to link out to alternative payment options. The 9th Circuit upheld the ruling in April, but Apple is now preparing to ask the Supreme Court to strike it down.

According to Reuters, the appeals court has now granted Apple 90 days to file its petition, and in the meantime has paused the ruling. However, Judge Milan Smith wrote in the ruling that the delay is allowed because of "our general practice of granting a motion for a stay if the arguments presented therein are not frivolous."

"I write separately to express my view that, while the arguments in Apple's motion may not be technically frivolous," wrote Judge Smith, "they ignore key aspects of the panel's reasoning and key factual findings by the district court."

"When our reasoning and the district court's findings are considered," continued the ruling, "Apple's arguments cannot withstand even the slightest scrutiny."

"Apple's standing and scope-of-the-injunction arguments simply masquerade its disagreement with the district court's findings and objection to state-law liability as contentions of legal error," said Judge Smith.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney called the decision "Justice delayed, again," on Twitter. As well as starting the lawsuit against Apple, Sweeney has more recently protested that Apple is a "major roadblock in the way of Epic's vision for a metaverse."