Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction Barring Apple From Harming Unreal Engine, Denies Request to Reinstate Fortnite

Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction Barring Apple From Harming Unreal Engine, Denies Request to Reinstate Fortnite

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Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers has issued a preliminary injunction barring Apple from harming Epic's Unreal Engine but denying Epic's request to restore Fortnite to the App Store.

The preliminary injunction cements the Judge's TRO decision and it will remain in effect for the duration of the litigation.

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As to Fortnite, nothing has changed in the prior analysis. The Court has empathy for Fortnite players regarding the continued unavailability of the game on the iOS platform. This is especially so during these continued difficult times that is the COVID-19 pandemic era, where gaming and virtual worlds are both social and safe. However, there is significant public interest in requiring parties to adhere to their contractual agreements or in resolving business disputes through the normal course. Thus, the public interest factor weighs in favor of Apple as to Fortnite.

The record has also remained the same as to the Epic Affiliate accounts and Unreal Engine. The record demonstrates potential significant damage to both developers and gamers absent the issuance of a preliminary injunction. Indeed, many games on iOS and on other platforms, including Fortnite competitor PUBG, are built using Unreal Engine and rely on the engine remaining compatible with future Apple software updates. Without the ability to update the underlying engine for these and other games, the gaming industry built upon developers and fervent consumers, including iOS consumers, will be unnecessarily impacted. Moreover, the need for increasing avenues for creativity and innovation has not abated since the prior order. If anything, the continued ongoing pandemic has demonstrated the imperative for substantial digital and virtual innovation. 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. Thus, the public interest weighs overwhelmingly in favor of Unreal Engine and the Epic Affiliates.
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Epic argued that Apple's guidelines and App Store policies violate antitrust law but this has not yet been proven.

As discussed, Epic Games has not made a preliminary showing of the likelihood of success on its claim. Therefore, it is not yet established that such an injunction reinstating Fortnite would issue in compliance with antitrust laws. Moreover, Epic Games’ argument with respect to damages only demonstrates that the harm to Fortnite is not irreparable. As Epic Games states, the loss of commissions to Apple would be for a short duration and would be “easily compensable . . . .” The converse is also true.

Apple and Epic are set to begin their court battle in May. Although a jury trial was suggested, both companies have said they would rather the case be decided by a judge.

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Read More [via The Verge]


Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction Barring Apple From Harming Unreal Engine, Denies Request to Reinstate Fortnite

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