CARY – In a new legal filing, Apple says Epic Games “started a fire, and poured gasoline on it” in an intensifying legal battle and is “holding its own customers hostage” rather than agree to Apple’s 30% fee for purchases made in its App Store.

“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,” Apple’s attorneys wrote in a filing made in federal court on Sept. 15.

“This Court was right when it previously ruled that ‘self-inflicted wounds are not irreparable injury.’”

Epic is seeking relief from an Apple ban on Fortnite and a hearing is scheduled for Sept. 28. The legal war erupted last month when Apple banned Epic for what it calls a “hotfix” that enabled players to make in-game purchases while avoiding Apple’s fees. Last week Apple said Epic was “no Robin Hood.”

The judge in the case did bar Apple from banning access to Epic and game developers from its Unreal game engine development and other parts of the Epic ecosystem.

In the latest filing, Apple says “the public interest warrants denial of injunctive relief because Epic is responsible for harming the very community it purports to be protecting. If Epic were really concerned about preserving iPhone users’ access to Fortnite, or developers’ access to Unreal Engine, it would deactivate the’hotfix’and comply with Apple’s policies pending resolution of its claims.

“Instead, Epic is holding its own customers hostage to gain leverage in a business dispute. In contrast, Apple is protecting a billion iPhone users threatened by Epic’s actions (and the requested injunction). This Court should not sanction such unauthorized and dangerous activity, or strip Apple of the ability to protect its users against such attacks, particularly given the very early stage of this litigation.”

Apple in a countersuit says Epic has breached contract terms and is seeking damages.

In a recent tweet, Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney (himself a billionaire) said the dispute with Apple could destroy his company.

Epic also has sued Google for a similar Fortnite ban.

The legal standoff cooled a bit last week when Apple deciding not to block players of Epic’s Fortnite from logging on by using its “Sign In with Apple” tool.

Read the latest filing online here.

Epic Games CEO warns Apple’s ban could be a ‘death sentence’ for his company

Apple blasts Epic Games, says Fortnite publisher is hardly a ‘Robin Hood’