Psystar: Snow Leopard Belongs in Florida

Psystar reasserted its claims that Leopard and Snow Leopard copyright-related issues should be dealt with in court independently in its response to Apple's motion to dismiss the unauthorized Mac clone maker's recent case filing in Florida. Apple and Psystar have been battling in U.S. District Court in California over whether or not the PC maker can build and sell Mac clones for months, but the clone maker added a new wrinkle to the case when it started the legal process over again with a new filing in Florida.

Psystar filed a new lawsuit against Apple in Florida over Mac OS X 10.6 at the end of August claiming 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. Apple countered that the cases in California are essentially the same and filed a motion with Judge Alsup, the Judge overseeing the west coast case, to dismiss the Florida case.

In its response to Apple's motion Psystar claimed that Mac OS X 10.6, or Snow Leopard, wasn't explicitly included in the California case, so any copyright-related issues relating to it should be dealt with independently. The company also alleged that Apple hadn't filed a copyright for Snow Leopard as of September 14, 2009 even though the new operating system was released on August 28.

Psystar commented in its opposition to Apple's motion, "Apple elected not to take steps to add Snow Leopard to this case by seeking a late pleadings amendment. Apple elected not to raise the issue of Snow Leopard's impending release and its effect on the time needed for discovery conference requested for that purpose."

"Psystar is arguing that Apple's Amended Complaint did not and could not have covered Snow Leopard, because Snow Leopard was not copyrighted when Apple filed its Amended Complaint, notwithstanding that Apple's Amended Complaint clearly alleges infringement of the Mac OS, Mac OS X, and/or all version of Mac OS X Leopard," an attorney familiar with intellectual property issues told The Mac Observer.

He added that Psystar's "arguments should fail because Apple's Amended Complaint embraces Snow Leopard the moment that Psystar infringes on Apple's copyright in it. The minor differences in licensing and the technical measures that Psystar uses to infringe don't make any legally relevant difference, because even with those differences, the same legal claims and defense are at issue before Judge Alsup, as existed before Apple released Snow Leopard."

Convincing Judge Alsup in California and Judge Hoeveler in Florida that the release of Snow Leopard warrants its own trial may be easier said than done. Many of the legal arguments Psystar is using in Florida have already been shot down in California, and the company could potentially risk looking as if it is shopping around for a more sympathetic court -- and that's never a good tactical move.