A federal appeals court has ruled that Apple must face antitrust charges in a lawsuit that alleges that the company monopolized the market for iPhone apps.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Thursday reversed a decision by a lower court and ruled that the app buyers filing the lawsuit are direct purchasers of iPhone apps from Apple, rather than from app developers, and hence have standing to sue. Apple was a distributor of iPhone apps, selling them directly to buyers through its App Store, according to the court.

The proposed class-action lawsuit started in 2011 with the complaint changing several times.

The purchasers object to the 30 percent “surcharge” that they pay to Apple. The company collects 30 percent of the revenue of third-party apps on its store, with the balance going to the developer, in a closed system in which Apple controls which apps can run on an iPhone, according to court records.

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