(Corrects headline, paragraph 1 to add Bloomberg News as source; removes reference to an unrelated written order by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in paragraph 4)
Nov 11 (Reuters) - A federal judge in California late on Tuesday dismissed some of Apple Inc’s counterclaims against Epic Games, Bloomberg News reported, narrowing the scope of a dispute that has seen the online game maker’s “Fortnite” game removed from the iPhone maker’s App Store.
Apple and Epic have been in a legal battle since August, when the maker of the popular game launched its own in-app payment system to circumvent what it called Apple’s monopolistic practices.
Epic in October had filed a motion in advance of Tuesday’s hearing, seeking the dismissal of Apple’s counterclaims of intentional interference with prospective economic advantage and conversion, where in Apple had asked for lost App Store fees and other monetary damages.
Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday that U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers threw out those claims and limited Apple’s allegations to its breach of contract counterclaims against Epic.
A judge in October had ruled that Apple could bar Epic’s “Fortnite” game from its App Store but must not harm Epic’s developer tools business, including the “Unreal Engine” software, which is used by hundreds of other video games.
“This is a high-stakes breach of contract case and an antitrust case and that’s all in my view,” Judge Gonzalez Rogers told lawyers, according to Bloomberg News.
"You can't just say it's independently wrongful," Bloomberg quoted bloom.bg/3pgZDlx the judge as saying to a lawyer for Apple, referring to Epic's conduct. "You actually have to have facts," the judge said, adding that the rest of the breach-of-contract case moves forward.
Apple and Epic did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment. The iPhone maker told Bloomberg that it disagreed with the judge’s decision on Tuesday, adding that it was clear that Epic breached its contract with the company. (Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco)