Judge won't let Apple block Unreal Engine, but won't make it unblock 'Fortnite'

Richard Lawler
·Senior News Editor

The trial over Epic Games’ legal battle against Apple over its App Store policies won’t take place until next year, but there’s an update in the case. Bloomberg reports that US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled against Epic’s request for a preliminary injunction that would force Apple to reinstate Fortnite, but stood by her earlier ruling in favor of an injunction that stops Apple from taking action against Unreal Engine.

Epic vs. Apple
Epic vs. Apple

In her ruling (PDF) the judge said she “has empathy for Fortnite players regarding the continued unavailability of the game on the iOS platform...However, there is significant public interest in requiring parties to adhere to their contractual agreements or in resolving business disputes through the normal course.” As for Unreal Engine, the potential for damage to other developers was too great to justify allowing Apple to block use of the tool.

Apple pulled Fortnite from mobile platforms in August after Epic flouted its rules by pushing players to buy items directly instead of via the App Store, where Apple takes a 30 percent cut. Since then Epic has banded with other companies seeking to rework the landscape of mobile app stores, as Apple and Epic have taken shots at each other in legal filings over whose fault it is that your kids can’t play Fortnite on their phone.

In a statement, Apple said:

“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.”