Judge Dismisses Psystar Antitrust Claims Against Apple

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The unauthorized Mac cloner Psystar watched its case against Apple crumble to the ground on Tuesday when the court dismissed its counterclaims that the Cupertino company violated antitrust laws by prohibiting other companies from selling Mac-compatible hardware. The ruling means Psystar may now have to face up to Appleis suit that alleges it is violating Apple-owned trademarks and copyrights.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup gave Psystar 20 days to amend its claim and added "Any such motion should be accompanied by a proposed pleading and the motion should explain why the foregoing problems are overcome by the proposed pleading. Plaintiff must plead its best case. Failing such a motion, all inadequately pled claims will be dismissed without further leave to amend."

Considering, however, that Judge Alsup called all of Psystaris arguments "unenlightening," it isnit likely that the company will be able to present a compelling case to the court within the next 20 days. If not, Psystar may find itself in a very weak position against Appleis claims.

Speaking anonymously, one attorney familiar with this type of case commented that for Psystar itis "game over. Itis that simple. Pssystar is now without either defenses or claims. Its only options are to appeal or settle with Apple on Appleis terms."

Psystar landed in this sticky legal bind after it began making and selling Macintosh-compatible clone computers earlier this year without permission from Apple. The real Mac maker hasnit offered a clone licensing program ever since CEO Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1996, and it doesnit seem likely that it will reverse that stance any time soon.

At this point, Psystaris future -- at least as a Mac clone maker -- doesnit look very bright, and the few systems it did sell may become collectoris items very soon.

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