In brief: A new 37-page court filing from Apple in its legal battle with Epic Games harshly contends that the developer is solely responsible for any damages incurred from Apple's suspension of Fortnite from the App Store. It reiterates that it is willing to reinstate Fortnite when the offending in-app payment system is removed.
Epic is seeking injunctive relief from damages brought on by Apple removing Fortnite from the App Store. Cupertino filed an opposition brief on Tuesday, pointing out that the only suffering the developer is enduring is "self-inflicted."
"Epic will not suffer irreparable harm because its claimed harm is entirely self-inflicted," the filing reads. "Epic is a saboteur, not a martyr. It neither needs nor is equitably entitled to the extraordinary relief it seeks from this Court."
The harshly worded response continues, asserting that Epic is "holding its own customers hostage to gain leverage in a business dispute." Apple's legal team insists that Epic could have ended this at any time but has chosen to feed the fire instead.
"Epic started a fire, and poured gasoline on it, and now asks this Court for emergency assistance in putting it out, even though Epic can do so itself in an instant by simply adhering to the contractual terms that have profitably governed its relationship with Apple for years."
The brief also claims that Epic is only bringing legal action to generate publicity for a franchise that is losing popularity. From October 2019 to July 2020, Apple states that interest in Fortnite has declined by as much as 70 percent. It says that the Unreal Engine developer is using the court battle to generate interest in the brand by keeping it in the headlines.
The Cupertino firm also refutes Epic's claim of "reputational harm." It points to the pre-planned nature of Epic's court actions as evidence that it was not concerned with harm to its reputation and has, in fact, benefited from the legal battle.
"If Epic were truly concerned that it would suffer reputational injury from this dispute, it would not be engaging in these elaborate efforts to publicize it. From all appearances (including the #freefortnite campaign), Epic thinks its conduct here will engender goodwill, boost its reputation, and drive users to Fortnite, not the opposite. That is not harm."
The filing is a scathing rebuke of Epic's actions. It frames the lawsuits are a frivolous waste of the court's time and resources in what should be an open-and-shut breach of contract by Epic. But is it just a distraction? Epic maintains that the fight is about Apple's unfair walled garden and its policies that stifle any hint of competition.
This opposition brief is only a warm-up session. You can read it in-full above, but the real fireworks should start when the full multi-pronged case goes in front of a judge on September 28.