Apple Moves to Kill Psystar’s Florida Case

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Unauthorized Mac clone maker Psystar is pushing to keep its case against Apple alive in Florida, and Apple wants the court to force the company to drop it. Along with its dual legal battles, Psystar is planning on selling USB dongles that turn any PC into a Mac clone, too.

Apple and Psystar have been battling in court in California for several months over whether or not the PC maker can build and sell Mac clones without permission from Apple. The company made a surprise move at the end of August by filing a similar case in Florida with the assertion that a separate case is warranted because Mac OS X 10.6, or Snow Leopard, isn't covered in the California court.

According to Psystar, the case that's before Judge Alsup in U.S. District Court in Northern California has always focused on Mac OS X 10.5, or Leopard, and Apple never made any indication that it planned on rolling Snow Leopard into the mix. Apple, however, is claiming that Snow Leopard is a derivative work and is asking Judge Alsup to force Psystar to drop its case in Florida.

"Psystar's primary argument is that Apple's Amended Complaint does not reach alleged infringement of Snow Leopard, because Snow Leopard was not copyright and not in the market when Apple filed its Amended Complaint," an attorney familiar with this type of case told The Mac Observer.

The company also claimed that Apple never filed a copyright for Snow Leopard, although it appears that Apple filed its Snow Leopard copyright in September 11 -- several days after its August 28 launch, but still within the acceptable filing window. Even if Apple hadn't filed its Snow Leopard copyright, however, the new version of the operating system was still protected.

"Derivatives works, such as Snow Leopard, are covered under the federally registered copyright for the original work and, in any event, Apple has duly copyrighted Snow Leopard," the attorney said. "Therefore, Apple's Amended Complaint expressly includes infringement of Snow Leopard," which means Snow Leopard should be considered as an issue in the California court instead of Florida.

While Apple is dealing with the possibility of facing off against Psystar in Florida at the same time it is dealing with the court in California, it now has to deal with an additional headache: Psystar plans to sell USB dongles with Snow Leopard and the necessary code to turn any PC into a Mac clone. The company has continued to sell its Leopard-based PCs, and recently added computers with Snow Leopard pre-installed to its lineup, too.

Psystar hasn't said when it plans on brining its dongles to market or how much they will cost. Considering how many potential PC configurations are available, releasing the product could turn into a support nightmare for the company, especially since it is already dumping so much of its resources into fighting Apple in court. It's also possible that Psystar doesn't plan on shipping its clone dongles and instead is hoping to use the threat of the product as leverage for settlement discussions.

If the court decide that Psystar's case against Apple in Florida should be dropped, a lot of the ammunition the company needs for its "guns blazin'" tactics could simply disappear -- and that's bad news for the PC maker, because it looks like Apple's legal guns are still loaded.

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24 Comments Leave Your Own

Lee Dronick

“Psystar plans to sell USB dongles with Snow Leopard and the necessary code to turn any PC into a Mac clone.”

Will these be Apple branded dongles?

fo

I don’t see Apple going for a settlement on this - they need to bury Psystar to set a precedent.

Lee Dronick

I don?t see Apple going for a settlement on this - they need to bury Psystar to set a precedent.

Exactly! If they don’t stop it now it the pirates will take over.

Another Steve

I’d like to see a discussion on what the fundamental differences are between this case and the one that Connectix won years ago against Sony when they came out with their Virtual Game Station that allowed Sony Playstation One games to be played on Macs, and later on PCs.

What are the legal/IP reasons that Apple is expected to win, and what makes this case different from the Connectix case?

geoduck

Psystar plans to sell USB dongles with Snow Leopard and the necessary code to turn any PC into a Mac clone.

Lets set aside any idea that they want to win this. Actions like the USB dongle, along with attempting to court shop around the country and the bogus bankruptcy, look to me to be just designed to piss off the court and make there case even more unwinnable. Psystar wants to just go down in as expensive and painful flames as humanly possible.

Why?

geoduck

what makes this case different from the Connectix case

At the heart of it wasn’t Connectix using all their own code whereas Psystar is using OpenSource code along with OS-X written and copyrighted by Apple?

spacecowboy

Pystars’ an interesting story. It’s like a lunatic pilot steering his jet in a dive towards mother earth and stepping on the gas pedal without any intentions of pulling up. Pystars’ constituents need their heads examined.

Another Steve

“At the heart of it wasn?t Connectix using all their own code whereas Psystar is using OpenSource code along with OS-X written and copyrighted by Apple? “

With the dongle, the end user would have to provide a copy of OS X, and if the code in the dongle is proproprietary to Psystar…

Does that leave us with a more Connectix-like scenario?

geoduck

As I read the article

Psystar plans to sell USB dongles with Snow Leopard and the necessary code to turn any PC into a Mac clone.

They would be including OS-X on the dongle. A plug n’ Play way to build a hackintosh. I don’t see this as anything other than another attempt to work around Apple’s restrictions. I can see Psystar arguing that THEY are not installing OS-X on non-Apple hardware, the customer is. I don’t think that will fly any better than their first idea.

Lee Dronick

They would be including OS-X on the dongle. A plug n? Play way to build a hackintosh.

Not being a programmer I have to ask if a future version of OSX could check to see if it is running from a dongle and if so then refuse to boot up.

geoduck

Maybe that’s it.

Maybe one of the reasons for this is to push Apple to include more and more security in OS-X and thereby limit its functionality. Can’t make an emergency boot stick, then CD, then DVD. “But look over here Windows let’s you do all of that.”

/foil hat

Another Steve

“Psystar plans to sell USB dongles with Snow Leopard and the necessary code to turn any PC into a Mac clone.”

Is Snow Leopard going to be on the dongle, or is it intended to read that Psystar will be selling a copy of Snow Leopard along with the dongle?

geoduck

That’s a good question, the phrasing is somewhat ambiguous.

Nemo

Quoting from Psystar’s brief in opposition to Apple’s Motion To Dismiss Or Enjoin The Florida Case:

“One of the issues to be litigated in the Florida case is the legality of Psystar?s ?dongles? (an
industry term in wide use). Psystar?s dongles are USB sticks containing virtualization software that
allow end users to run Mac OS X on computers of their choice, not just computers purchased from
Psystar. The end user would buy a dongle from Psystar and a copy of Mac OS X from Apple or a reseller like Amazon or Best Buy and would then be able to run that copy of Mac OS X on their personal non-Apple computer. Psystar has worked out a design for a dongle that it intends to test, manufacture, and sell in the near future, possibly depending on the progress made in the Florida
action. The dongle, of course, would be an entirely new product that is different in kind from the Psystar computer systems at issue in this litigation.”

Psystar would make the dongle, but the customer would buy the copy of OS X.  However, in my opinion, the dongle would be illegal because it violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by circumventing the technical measures that Apple use to prevent OS X from running on non-Apple devices, and it would also be illegal for the customer because Apple’s EULA prohibits installing OS X on non-Apple devices, so that the customer would be liable for infringement and breach of contract.

Technophile

Does that leave us with a more Connectix-like scenario?

Just remember in the end Connectix had its butt handed to it and the VGS died a very quick death too.

papamaui

In my opinion, RIGHT is RIGHT regardless of how few do it and WRONG is WRONG regardless of how many do it. Call me “old fashioned” or whatever you want but I chose not to steal what others have worked to produce.

gnasher729

I don?t see Apple going for a settlement on this - they need to bury Psystar to set a precedent.

The way that Psystar behaves, Apple may have to do more than bury PsyStar. They may bury PsyStar, get a list of PsyStar’s customers, and send them a nice lawyerly nastygram. “We have reason to believe that you are using an illegal copy of MacOS X without a license. You can either give us evidence that you returned the computer you bought back to PsyStar (getting your money back is your problem), or we will see you in court”.

Lee Dronick

The way that Psystar behaves, Apple may have to do more than bury PsyStar. They may bury PsyStar, get a list of PsyStar?s customers, and send them a nice lawyerly nastygram.

I doubt that Apple will go after the Pystar’s customers. Being stuck with an unsupported brick, or block as the case may be, is punishment enough.

geoduck

OTOH maybe Apple could SAY they reserve the right to go after Psystar’s customers. That might scare them off and put even more of a squeeze on Psystar’s bottom line.

Nemo

What I find most interesting about Psystar’s proposed dongle, that would enable to anyone to run OS X on generic PC hardware, is that it is clearly an effort to destroy Apple’s business model of integrating hardware with its custom operating system, forcing Apple toward Microsoft’s model of manufacturing an operating system for generic third party hardware.  The dongle would also do server harm to, if not destroy, Psystar’s business of making PCs that run a hacked version of OS X. 

Why would Psystar take a step that would undermine its own business model?  I think that the answer is that there is some greater force using Psystar to target is Apple’s highly successful business model, which has proved that it can produce products that are superior to the products produced by Microsoft’s business model, and earn profits that are superior to the profits from Microsoft?s business model.  Microsoft is locked into its business model, for it can’t compete with its own customers, the third party PC OEMs, so the only option is to destroy Apple’s business model.

Psystar is merely a stalking horse for someone seeking to destroy Apple’s integrated approach to designing its products and the superior revenues that flow from it.

Lee Dronick

I think that the answer is that there is some greater force using Psystar to target is Apple?s highly successful business model, which has proved that it can produce products that are superior to the products produced by Microsoft?s business model, and earn profits that are superior to the profits from Microsoft?s business model.?

Yes, follow the money which I am sure that Apple is doing or trying to do. I was thinking about this the other day and how originally my suspicions of who is the deep pocket fell on a certain clone maker here in the USA. However, I wonder if it isn’t someone from offshore where it would be easier to hide the paper trail. Someone looking to export cheap, cheaper than our current cheap PCs that can run OSX.

Nookster

Giant pile of histrionic rubbish.

This dongle’s been here for over a year.

And this software solution doesn’t even need hardware.

Those perilous Brigands have won, but the sky, she hasn’t fallen… arrrr…

RyanN

Good news for iPhone lovers in the US! AT&T has stated that the Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) will be coming to the iPhone on AT&T on September 25th. Apple and AT&T are rolling out the long awaited iPhone MMS service on Friday, September 25th, as a free service.  The hitch is that it’s only available for owners of the iPhone 3G ? 1G and 2G users will be out of luck.  It has been lamented for a long time that the iPhone doesn’t have a multimedia messaging service, but it does now.  The only unfortunate drawback is this is going to make iPhone owners even more sanctimonious ? and they get annoying.  SO no need for iPhone owners to wait for their tax resolution checks from the government ? they now get free multimedia messages with the iPhone MMS.  http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2009/09/25/iphone-mms-free-service-finally-launches-today/

Nookster

At least pick an actual iPhone article to spam with your barely relevant crap RyanN, you crazy spambot you….

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