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nrlpa:oant, ccos, clj, cmpelc, cmpny, coms, coms08, crim, cycs, cycs08, ent, fraud1, gen, judic, mdia, mdia08, monop, phne, phones, pub, pxp, regs, ret, rete, shop, shopal, sofw, spcret, swit, tech, tech08, teeq, teeq08, tmt, vgame, amers, us, namer, legal, reuters-legal, topnws, nrlpa:olit
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Fortnite game graphic is displayed on a smartphone in front of Apple logo in this illustration taken May 2, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Nov 9 (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Tuesday questioned whether Apple Inc (AAPL.O) needs a potentially years-long pause on orders she issued in an antitrust case brought by “Fortnite” creator Epic Games.

Epic went to trial earlier this year over Apple's practice of forcing developers to use its in-app payment system and to pay commissions to the iPhone maker. In September, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued a ruling that was mostly favorable to Apple.

But she expressed concern that Apple was keeping consumers in the dark about alternative payment methods and ordered Apple to lift its ban on in-app links, buttons and messages to users about other ways to pay. Apple has until Dec. 9 to implement the orders.

Apple has appealed the judge's ruling, asking her to pause her orders while the appeals process plays out.

At a hearing on Tuesday, Apple attorney Mark Perry of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher argued the company needed more time to write a new policy for developers.

“It is exceedingly complicated. There have to be guard rails and guidelines to protect children, to protect developers, to protect consumers, to protect Apple. They have to be written into guidelines that can be explained and enforced and applied,” he said.

Gonzalez Rogers was skeptical that Apple needs a stay of proceedings, or pause in the order, for the full length of an appeal.

“You did not ask for a few months. You didn't ask for six months. You didn't ask for a limited amount of time. You asked for a an across-the-board stay which could take three, four or five years,” she said.

Gonzalez Rogers did not make a ruling on Apple's request during the hearing on Tuesday but said she intended to do so “very quickly” in writing.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Richard Chang

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