Apple and Epic Games’ legal battle has finally begun with both sides arguing that the other is at fault. However, in a pretty significant win for Epic, Judge Yvonne Gonzelez Rogers has ruled that Apple can’t retaliate by terminating Epic’s developer accounts. Moreover, she has also ruled that Apple can’t restrict use of Epic’s Unreal Engine by other developers either.
However, Judge Rogers also said that Apple is not required to bring Fortnite back to the App Store. “The Court finds that with respect to Epic Games’ motion as to its games, including Fortnite, Epic Games has not yet demonstrated irreparable harm. The current predicament appears of its own making,” she wrote, and said that Epic Games “strategically chose to breach its agreements with Apple”.
Judge Rogers said that in doing so, Epic was disturbing the status quo.
The ruling should make Epic happy, however, since it won’t be losing its developer licenses from Apple. The hearings will continue, with both parties expected to file their arguments within the coming weeks for a preliminary injunction. The injunction will decide if Apple can keep Fortnite off the App Store, restrict Unreal Engine, and more over the course of the trial. A full hearing for the injunction is scheduled for September 28.
As for the trial itself, that is unlikely to take place this year. Epic’s counsel asked for four to six months to prepare for the trial, whereas Apple’s counsel suggested an even longer discovery period of 10 months.