PARIS (Reuters) – A French court has set September 17 as the date for hearing a case brought by the Finance Ministry against Apple over allegedly abusive contract terms imposed by the tech giant for the sale of software on its App Store.
The case, tried by the Paris Commercial Court, is unlikely to lead to a significant fine if Apple is found guilty, based on previous similar cases. But the court could force the iPhone maker to change some of its contractual conditions on the App Store.
An Apple spokesperson declined to comment.
The case echoes a complaint from “Fortnite” creator Epic Games, which has been engaged in several lawsuits around the world against Apple since a dispute over app payment commissions surfaced last year.
The ministry’s trial comes after a three-year investigation by the DGCCRF’s Consumer Fraud Observatory, which falls under the jurisdiction of Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who ordered the investigation.
In France, the law allows the Minister of Finance to sue companies when abusive commercial practices are found in contracts.
The main French startup lobby, France Digitale, has joined the case, according to a court document viewed by Reuters.
“We are going to find ourselves in a situation of ‘head you lose, tail I win’”, declared Nicolas Brien, head of the European network of startups and general manager of France Digitale.
“Either the commercial court condemns Apple, and it will be unprecedented … or Apple gets away, and it will be proof that the current laws do not allow to regulate a systemic platform like Apple. “
Further hearings could follow and no date has yet been set for the court’s decision.