States Ask to File Amicus Brief in Support of FTC’s Challenge to Meta-Within Unlimited VR Acquisition

A motion filed on Monday by the attorneys general of more than two dozen states and led by Letitia James of New York, has asked for permission to weigh in on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) case contesting Meta Platform Inc.’s proposed purchase of Within Unlimited Ltd., a virtual reality app developer. The states claim that though the defendants challenge their proposed brief as untimely, it is not because the Northern District of California court overseeing the suit has no established deadline for amicus briefs and furthermore, they should be allowed to offer their opinion as the United States’ co-law enforcers.

The states party to the proposed amicus filing are New York, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington, the District of Columbia, and the Territory of Guam.

In terms of timeliness, the amici claim they “followed the default schedule in the Federal Rules of Appel-late Procedure and the Rules of the U.S. Supreme Court, filing their amicus brief seven days after the principal brief of the party being supported was filed.” They argue that they have given the defendants ample time to review and respond to their contentions, and also that courts exercise “‘great liberality’ in permitting such briefs.”

Substantively, the states assert that whether Meta Platforms is permitted to acquire Within Unlimited will greatly impact competition, innovation, and consumer welfare in each of their jurisdictions. Citing Meta’s dominance, recent pattern of acquisitions, and “rapid rise to dominance of digital spaces like the virtual reality space at issue in this case,” the states argue that they are duty-bound to share their experiences with the potential dangers of Meta’s “unchecked acquisitions.”

In addition, the motion says that as co-enforcers of federal and state antitrust laws, the attorneys general “have unique perspectives and experience to bring to bear in this case,” as they “have long been at the forefront of efforts to investigate and address digital platforms’ potential harms to competition.”

The case is before Judge Edward J. Davila, who is scheduled to hear argument on Meta’s motion to dismiss on November 17.