Over the weekend, Google filed a response to a sua sponte judicial referral, asking several judges not to try and combine the ongoing cases Epic Games has filed against it and Apple.
A sua sponte action (literally “of its own accord” in Latin) is generally one taken by the court without any prior prompting or request by any parties engaged in a given case. In this particular instance, there was apparently some contemplation by various judges, including Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers (currently hearing the Apple v. Epic case), to consolidate several cases against both Apple and Google. In their response, Google laid out just how far any consolidation should go insofar as ongoing litigation.
The response indicates that there are several cases currently pending against Google, which have a certain degree of overlap, and Google has no particular issue with those cases all being consolidated. In point of fact, they’ve specifically requested that those cases be handled by one judge instead of heard by multiple judges in different courts. But concerning cases currently filed against Apple, which may be similar to Epic’s lawsuit, Google argued that those cases are substantively different.
However, a footnote does take a swipe at Epic, saying, “This Response does not suggest that claims against Apple in the iOS/Apple Cases have merit.” Google’s position is that because of the differences in the technologies involved and the claims being filed, the Apple cases and the Google cases should be kept separate.
Food For Thought
From the summary of the cases listed in the response, Google does seem to be correct on this one. However, anything which comes out of the Apple cases (assuming they are consolidated) could conceivably be used in the Google cases, since there would then be a recent precedent set.
If the judges involved agree to consolidate the cases despite Google’s request to keep them apart, there’s no telling what the outcome could be.