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Apple and Epic will do battle, hopefully in court, starting May 3

fortnite on iPhone XR
fortnite on iPhone XR (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple Vs Epic will kick off in-person on May 3 COVID-19 allowing.
  • Everything might need to be done via video if it isn't deemed safe to run it in-person.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California has today said that the Epic Games Vs Apple trial will begin May 3 with the intent being that it will be an in-person event. However, everything may need to be done via Zoom if it isn't deemed safe to put everyone into a courtroom.

As Foss Patents reports, even if the case is heard in a courthouse the number of people allowed to be involved at any given time will be limited.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California said at the outset of today's Epic Games v. Apple case management conference that this is a very significant case, so the judiciary should give it the best it has to offer, which is an in-person trial. But under the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be necessary to conduct the trial, in whole or in part, via Zoom. Even if it's fully in-person, the number of persons simultaneously present in the courtroom will be very limited.

Most interestingly, the judge is already playing hardball with anyone who could say that they can't attend for health reasons. Anyone who is a "COVID denier" will reportedly be given short shrift.

The judge won't take it lightly if someone who's a "COVID denier" on Facebook or goes on extensive travel for other purposes asks to be excused from showing up in person for the trial. She expects counsel for the parties to "investigate" the witnesses in that regard.

If all goes according to plan the courtroom will be set up to avoid any potential for contamination, although the use of plexiglass shields will allow witnesses to be present without the need to wear face masks. Whether it happens in-person or via Zoom, however, it looks like May 3 is set in stone at this point. We don't know how long the trial will run for due to the number of people giving evidence.

As a reminder, this whole sordid situation revolves around Apple's decision to remove Fortnite from the App Store after Epic bypassed its in-app purchase system last year. Epic and Apple have since been arguing amongst themselves about the App Store and the way it functions. Epic isn't happy about Apple's 30% cut.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.