Today marks a major point in the Apple Vs. Epic Games saga. During another hearing today, the Honorable Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers denied Epic Games a preliminary injunction against Apple, one that would force the latter to reinstate Fortnite on the App Store, and in turn any and all iOS devices. The failure of obtaining this preliminary injunction means that Fortnite will remain permanently blocked from the App Store, at least just for the duration of this trial should Epic Games come out triumphant at the end.
Judge makes permanent injunction preventing Apple from banning Epic’s Unreal Engine https://t.co/4s1ttOrFyk
— CNET (@CNET) October 10, 2020
While this was a huge blow for Epic, they were still able to succeed with another injunction. Judge Rogers granted the company the injunction of which will keep Apple from removing the Unreal Engine account on the App Store, which Epic Games also owns and operates. This is a key victory, as the account is also utilized by other developers in iOS software, and is essential for studio’s who use it for their games. Basically, the temporary restraining order that was granted to Epic Games back in August has now become a permanent one.
Speaking on the Unreal injunction, Judge Rogers stated that others should not have to suffer for this battle between the two behemoths: “Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate this action for the future of the digital frontier, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders.” This might be something that saves Epic in the long run, but for now, Apple has the ball in their court. Still, the former ruling isn’t all that surprising considering that Judge Rogers severely admonished Epic Games and their practices in the previous hearing.
Before this hearing began, Judge Rogers recommended that both companies request a trial by jury, which would take place sometime in July of 2021. However, in between the previous hearing and this one, both Apple and Epic decided on keeping the case’s decision to a Judge. The next trial hearing is now expected to take place sometime in May 2021, which just makes the time that Fortnite is off the App Store even longer.
Apple seems to think that the case is going along swimmingly, making a statement to Bloomberg shortly after the trial:
Our customers depend on the App Store being a safe and trusted place where all developers follow the same set of rules. We’re grateful the court recognized that Epic’s actions were not in the best interests of its own customers and that any problems they may have encountered were of their own making when they breached their agreement. For twelve years, the App Store has been an economic miracle, creating transformative business opportunities for developers large and small. We look forward to sharing this legacy of innovation and dynamism with the court next year.
The battle between Apple and Epic began when the latter implemented their own in-game ability to purchase V-Bucks in Fortnite, something which Apple claimed violated the App Store agreement with developers. Apple responded immediately, by removing the game from the App Store. After that, Epic filed a lawsuit against Apple, Apple attempted removed Unreal from the App Store, Apple then removed Epic themselves from the App Store, and finally, Apple announced that they were seeking damages from Epic Games.