Apple, Psystar Prep for Summary Judgement Arguments

Apple and Psystar will get the chance to cozy up in court again on Thursday when they appear before Judge Alsup to present arguments to support their motions for summary judgement.

Apple filed a lawsuit against Psystar in Northern California claiming the small PC maker was violating the Mac OS X end user license agreement, and that it was violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act with the steps it used to install the Mac operating system on PCs. Psystar claimed that it should be allowed to build and sell PCs with Mac OS X pre-installed and that Apple is overstepping its bounds by blocking companies from selling Mac clones.

In its motion for Summary Judgement, Apple argued that the licensing agreement for Mac OS X states that the end user owns the disc the software ships on, but only licenses the use of the operating system. Since Leopard is licensed instead of owned, users are bound by Apple's terms that prohibit installing and running the software on non-Apple hardware.

In its Summary Judgement filing, Psystar argues that because users own the media Mac OS X ships on, they actually own the operating system as well. Owning the OS gives them the right to use it as they see fit, and in this case that includes installing it on Mac clones.

Pystar also filed its own suit in Florida claiming that Leopard are Snow Leopard are distinctly different products, and that the California case only addresses Mac OS X 10.5, not the newer Mac OS X 10.6.

Apple is asking the court in California to combine the two cases, stop Psystar from copying and modifying Mac OS X, and award it damages for infringing on both versions of Mac OS X. Psystar asked the court to rule that it can install Mac OS X on generic PC hardware, and wants to keep the California and Florida cases independent.

Since Judge Alsup has had the motions in hand for some time, he's had time to evaluate the arguments and form an opinion on how he might rule. That doesn't, however, mean that Apple and Psystar won't have any chance at swaying his opinion tomorrow.

"Oral argument is Judge Alsup's opportunity to clarify any matters and address any remaining concerns and provides the parties with one last shot at persuading him," The Mac Observer's legal contact said.

Judge Alsup could rule on the summary judgement motions as early as Friday the 13th, although that seems unlikely considering how full his docket is. Instead, it may be closer to the Thanksgiving holiday, or November 26, before he issues a ruling.

The two companies are scheduled to appear before Judge Alsup at 2PM pacific time on Thursday, November 12.