Apple and Epic Games have been at odds over the past month and a half in the early phases of a lawsuit concerning Fortnite’s presence on the App Store. Epic has filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Apple concerning their control of the App Store while Apple have returned a countersuit based on Epic breaking the terms of service for the store by adding a secondary payment option inside Fortnite to circumvent the App Store payment system. After a lot of barbs and posturing, they’ve at last come to agree on at least one thing. Both request that their cases are tried by the court rather than a jury.
Earlier this week was the hearing for the preliminary injunction that Epic filed asking the court to prevent Apple from removing Fortnite from the store and revoking Epic’s App Store developer licenses. (Unreal Engine was spared but Fortnite remains gone). During that hearing, as reported by Cnet, California Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers maintained her initial decision to uphold Apple removing Fortnite from the App Store.
She criticized Epic’s decision to covertly bypass Apple’s cut of V-Bucks sales, the event that initially led Apple to kick Fortnite off the App Store. “You were not forthright,” she said. “You were told you couldn’t do it, and you did. There’s an old saying, a rose by any other name is still a rose […] There are plenty of people in the public could consider you guys heroes for what you did, but it’s still not honest.”
She also challenged Epic’s claims of irreparable harm from their the preliminary injunction filing. “There’s no case law that says that my billion-dollar company is losing some millions and so therefore that’s irreparable harm,” she said.
On Monday, Rogers recommended that the lawsuit go to a trial by jury, saying “I think it is important enough to understand what real people think. Do these security issues concern people or not?”
Well, that recommendation revealed one thing that Apple and Epic do actually agree on. They both say thanks but no thanks to a trial by jury. Games Industry Biz reports that the companies have filed a joint statement on the matter.
“Epic and Apple have met and conferred, and the parties agree that Epic’s claims and Apple’s counterclaims should be tried by court, and not by a jury.
“Therefore, with Epic’s consent, Apple hereby withdraws its demand for a jury trial…The parties respectfully request that the case—including any claims and counterclaims—proceed to a bench trial on a schedule determined by the court.”
Rogers expects the case to be heard in July 2021.