Apple Inc. v. Robert Pepper, et al.

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Citation Number: 17-204

Brief of the United States (Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission), to reverse the court of appeals decision. This amicus brief argues that the appellate court misapplied the rule established in Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois, 431 U.S 720 (1977), that indirect purchasers lack standing to sue for antitrust violations under federal law, whereas direct purchasers from a monopolist may sue for anticompetitive overcharges even if those overcharges are passed on to downstream purchasers. iPhone owners sued Apple for charging an anticompetitive commission on apps, which plaintiffs argued resulted in higher app prices. The appellate court held that the plaintiffs were direct purchasers because Apple delivered the apps to them even though the commissions were first imposed on app developers who determined how much of the overcharge to pass on to consumers. The appellate court decision therefore misapplied the indirect purchaser rule and created a direct conflict with the decision of another court of appeals analyzing an analogous transaction.