Judge awards Epic temporary restraining order against Apple in Fortnite fallout case

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Judge awards Epic temporary restraining order against Apple in Fortnite fallout case

Epic Games scored a minor win against Apple this week as a judge awarded the gaming giants a temporary restraining order against Apple removing them from the Apple Developer’s Program. 

Lawyers representing both companies appeared before a judge in a Zoom call on Monday, with Epic’s lawyers arguing that the company and the reputation of their Unreal Engine would be “irreparably harmed" with their removal from the developer’s program, being unable to produce games for iOS and macOS systems would drive clients to other rival engines in the time between the proposed termination date (28th August 2020) and the date their lawsuit is finally heard in court (April 2021).

US district judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers granted the temporary restraining order barring Apple from terminating Epic's accounts or blocking Unreal Engine updates on Apple operating systems. 

However, it is not a resounding win for Epic as Apple will not be required to return Fortnite to the App Store.

“The current predicament appears of its own making,” Judge Rogers said of Epic. “Epic Games remains free to maintain its agreements with Apple in breach status as this litigation continues.”

Epic really needs Fortnite back on iOS, it is one of their biggest moneymakers across all platforms but iOS is a significant market, especially internationally.

Epic's lawyer reiterated the argument that Apple’s move to remove both Fortnite and Unreal Engine from their service would damage their reputation with consumers on all levels, with players moving on to other games and developers allegedly already abandoning Unreal to work on other engines.

Apple also reiterated their core argument that any harm done to Epic's reputation was “self-inflicted” and everything would be resolved if they simply return Fortnite to its original form, with only App Store approved payment methods installed. On this matter, Apple and Judge Rogers were in agreement.

This is really only the opening salvo of what will be a lengthy legal battle between Apple and Epic Games as court will be resuming on the 28th September to argue over a preliminary injunction to confirm whether the Unreal Engine AND Fortnite can remain on Apple's platforms until April 2021, when the court case begins in earnest.

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