Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers granted part of Epic Games’ temporary restraining order (TRO). Apple can’t revoke Epic’s access to developer tools or restrict the use of Unreal Engine on its platforms. However, Apple isn’t required to bring Fortnite back to the App Store as long as it continues to break the rules.
Epic Games Ruling
In the ruling [PDF], Judge Rogers makes it clear that this case is specifically between Apple and Epic Games. Restricting the use of Unreal Engine would affect third-party developers that make use of it. In order for Epic to have its TRO granted, it had to prove four factors:
- That it was likely to succeed on the merits of its claims
- That it was likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a TRO
- That the balance of equities would lean in its favor
- That an injunction is in the public interest
By intentionally adding code to Fortnite that bypassed Apple’s in-app payment system, Epic didn’t demonstrate irreparable harm. Translation: Epic did this to itself and can easily fix it by removing the “hotfix.”
But losing access to Apple developer tools in respect to Unreal Engine was shown to cause irreparable harm, with Judge Rogers writing, “The record shows potential significant damage to both the Unreal Engine platform itself, and to the gaming industry generally, including on both third-party developers and gamers.”
A full hearing on the injunction is scheduled for September 28, but the trial isn’t likely to begin until 2021.