Apple Questions Psystar Legal Tactics

| News

Unauthorized Mac clone maker Psystar filed a new lawsuit against Apple in Florida over Mac OS X 10.6 at the end of August, and now Apple has replied to the court questioning the PC maker's tactics. Psystar claimed in its suit that Apple is violating antitrust laws by locking Snow Leopard to its own hardware, and that a new case is reasonable since it has to use different methods to install the new OS on its PCs.

If Psystar's claims sound familiar it's because the should. The company used the same arguments early on in its legal battle with Apple in the Northern California District Court. Those arguments were shot down by Judge Alsup, the Judge that's overseeing the California case.

In addition to dealing with Judge Alsup in California, Psystar must now also contend with Judge Hoeveler in Florida, and there's no guarantee that he will buy into the arguments that have already been rejected in California. Psystar may, in fact, have trouble convincing Judge Hoeveler that the introduction of Snow Leopard merits its own case.

"Psystar must show that there are new facts that give rise to new legal claims and/or defenses with respect to Snow Leopard. This is an important point, that the Florida case is solely about Snow Leopard and not Leopard, and is the fatal weakness in Psystar argument that its filing in Judge Hoeveler's court is proper," an attorney familiar with antitrust cases told The Mac Observer.

Part of Psystar's argument in the Florida court hinges on the validity of Apple's end user license agreement for Mac OS X and whether or not circumventing the software that binds the OS to the hardware is a violation of the DMCA and copyright laws. Since that's the same battle Psystar is fighting in California, it will likely have a hard time convincing Judge Hoeveler that a new case should be granted.

"OS X is OS X. And even though Snow Leopard is meant to be an enhancement of Leopard, the EULA is the same," the attorney said. "Therefore, the legal issues are the same, and all of those legal issues with respect to the violation of antitrust law and injuries suffered by Psystar are the same, and Psystar could have raised them earlier in California. That it failed to do so is its fault."

Apple's response to Psystar's claims asserted that there aren't any new factual or legal issues that surfaced because of Snow Leopard's release, and that Psystar should have turned to Judge Alsup seeking an amendment to its complaint instead of starting a parallel case in Florida. Apple also pointed out that Judge Alsup already rejected the claims Psystar is now making, and suggests that the company is attempting to stall the proceedings in California.

In addition to potentially delaying the schedule in Judge Alsup's court, Psystar's new case will add an even larger legal financial burden for itself as well as Apple. Apple will likely be able to handle the extra costs, but the Florida case may raise new questions about where Psystar is coming up with the money to pay for its legal defense.

Unless Psystar can convince Judge Hoeveler that the new case should proceed, it will likely be dropped or transferred to Judge Alsup in California.

Apple and Psystar are scheduled to appear before Judge Alsup in California on September 4 to discuss discovery dispute claims from Psystar along with the company's case filing in Florida.

Despite the ongoing legal battle, Psystar is still selling its Mac clones, and is planning on shipping PCs with Snow Leopard pre-installed in the coming days, too. "We have developed new virtualization technologies to allow our Open Computers to interface with the all new Mac OS X like never before, ensuring a seamless computing experience. We support Snow Leopard on all new Psystar machines and we're already taking orders for computers with the latest OS from Apple," the company said on its Web site.

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Join the TMO Express Daily Newsletter to get the latest Mac headlines in your e-mail every weekday.

12 Comments Leave Your Own

Lee Dronick

This is not “news” Jeff, everyone questions Psystar’s legal tactics. smile

geoduck

This is not ?news? Jeff, everyone questions Psystar?s legal tactics.

Or at least their sanity : ))

B9robot

It still news that they have filed yet another legal action, now somewhere else. Yet it was only months ago that they filed for bankruptcy saying they couldn’t handle multiple legal battles. I don’t understand why the court system hasn’t filed perjury charges against them. If there plan is to try and wear down Apple they have no clue. Apple can handle there legal actions a 1000 times fold without any problem. Whatever there plan it isn’t going to work. Prystar is going down in any event sooner or later.

Ion_Quest

Macs are basically PCs now.  If I were going to make and sell a Universal PC—Windows/MacOSX/Linux capable—why would I include a copy of MAC OSX and agitate Apple?  If the customer adds his own retail copy of MAC OSX, couldn’t you sell a lot of PCs without all this legal stress?

Is some big company pouring money into Psystar’s legal fund?

Lee Dronick

Is some big company pouring money into Psystar?s legal fund?

You would think so, but they haven’t found a smoking gun yet. If someone was backng you would think that they would be getting better legal advice.

geoduck

If I were going to make and sell a Universal PC?Windows/MacOSX/Linux capable?why would I include a copy of MAC OSX and agitate Apple??

That’s the question a lot of us are asking. If PsyStar had sold the hardware and said “You know that <wink wink> it would not be legal <wink wink> to put Mac OS-X on this machine <wink> even though it “theoretically” would run on it.” They may have skirted along the ragged edge of Apple Legal and been able to keep selling boxes for some time. By directly challenging Apple in this Don Quixote fools errand they are just going to get creamed. The question is WHY are they doing this and WHO is putting up the money. Legal firms don’t work for free.

Somebody is pouring a heck of a lot of cash into this effort. If it’s the two guys then they are idiots, but it seems unlikely as they haven’t shown any hidden stash of money to keep fuelling this adventure. Could it be another company or individual that stands to gain from the hope that Apple looses the right to control their own software? <An unlikely outcome.> Could they be trying to impact Apple’s value? <An attempt at stock manipulation.> Could they just be some rich jerk that wants to throw a few bricks at Apple while remaining anonymous?

I don’t know but the cash is coming from somewhere.

Lee Dronick

Could they just be some rich jerk that wants to throw a few bricks at Apple while remaining anonymous?

It is a coalition of Apple hating blog trolls sending in spare change. smile

Was Psystar in business selling clones and/or components before they started selling MacClones? If not someone behind the scenes may have provided some startup funding.

Whatever, With all their shenanIgans I think that these guys have shot themselevs in the foot.

looper

Whatever, With all their shenanIgans I think that these guys have shot themselevs in the foot.

Ah HA!  I think you’ve solved the mystery—Apple themselves have been funding Psystar’s operations and legal actions, in order to have a straw man that they could knock over and thereby establish a legal precedent saying that their EULA is ironclad in case any real cloners get frisky in the future.

geoduck

Apple themselves have been funding Psystar?s operations and legal actions,

I like it!!
What this whole story has been lacking was a paranoid conspiracy theory.
: LOL

Lee Dronick

Ah HA!? I think you?ve solved the mystery?Apple themselves have been funding Psystar?s operations and legal actions, in order to have a straw man that they could knock over and thereby establish a legal precedent saying that their EULA is ironclad in case any real cloners get frisky in the future.

Seeing as you said that it is my idea, I am claiming the rights to sell the movie concept. smile

Coming this winter to the A&E Network Burning Strawman in Silicon Valley with the tag line “How dupes saved the software EULA”

Bob

If PsyStar had sold the hardware and said ?You know that <wink wink> it would not be legal <wink wink> to put Mac OS-X on this machine <wink> even though it ?theoretically? would run on it.? They may have skirted along the ragged edge of Apple Legal and been able to keep selling boxes for some time.

Psystar’s entire business model relies on using Mac OS X. Without it, they become just another “white box” generic PC assembler with nothing to distinguish them from tens of thousands of others who build boxes from off-the-shelf parts. So, while they could certainly have skirted the law, they wouldn’t have a compelling offering, and likely couldn’t sell enough computers to stay in business.

ctopher

It’s not an EULA its an SLA. Big Difference? Some think so.

Log-in to comment