A federal judge on Friday granted Epic Games’ petition to prohibit any action by Apple against the Unreal Engine, but denied the game maker’s bid to reinstate Fortnite to the App Store.
In her ruling, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers granted in part and denied in part Epic’s preliminary injunction that sought to both protect an affiliate developer account that maintains the Unreal Engine and force Apple to restore Fortnite after it was pulled for implementing a rule-breaking direct payment option.
The ruling cements an earlier decision from August and ensures the current state of affairs remains unchanged throughout a pending bench trial.
Following an initial attempt to return Fortnite to the App Store, Epic launched a second legal effort in September. During in-court hearings, Gonzales Rogers was largely unpersuaded to take early action by either party. She noted a heavy burden fell on Epic to prove Apple’s alleged antitrust misconduct, and the company simply failed to piece together a cogent argument.
“While consumers are feeling the impact of this litigation, the fact remains: these are business disputes. A putative class action on behalf of all developers on these
exact same issues was already in progress when EpicGames breached the agreements,” Gonzales Rogers said in today’s ruling. “Yet, Epic Games has never adequately explained its rush, other than its disdain for the situation. The current predicament is of its own making.”
Likewise, Apple failed to successfully argue that maintaining Epic’s affiliate developer account — Epic International — poses risk of irreparable harm. Removing the account, however, would deprive developers of access to the Unreal Engine.
“Apple’s aggressive targeting of separate contracts in an attempt to eradicate Epic Games and its affiliates fully from the iOS platform was unnecessary and imperiled a thriving third-party developer ecosystem,” the jurist