U.S. Ninth Circuit Confirms Apple’s Psystar Smackdown

The Court of Appeals for the U.S. Ninth Circuit issued a ruling confirming Judge William Alsup’s 2009 decision that Psystar was violating Apple’s copyrights on Mac OS X, as well as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) by selling its own PCs with Mac OS X installed on them.

To refresh your memory on this somewhat dusty story, Psystar was a small company in Florida who started buying copies of Mac OS X and installing them on their own PCs it called OpenMac, as seen in the figure below. The name was quickly changed to Open Computer, The Apple Alternative.

As If

Psystar’s Original OpenMac PCs Denied

Apple eventually sued the company, claiming that Psystar was violating Apple’s copyrights, its end-user agreement (EULA), and eventually the DMCA itself. Psystar hired first one, then another law firm, and eventually filed for bankruptcy, releasing multiple new unauthorized Mac clones all the while.

The company threw (laughable) antitrust claims against Apple, there were motions and counter motions and all manner of legal maneuvering in the case. Near the end, Psystar started selling its firmware hack that allowed Mac OS X to work on non-Apple computers, and the company even tried to make a go of it as a clothier.

But in the end, Judge Alsup gave Apple a complete and total victory in its suit against Psystar, including an injunction preventing Psystar from from selling Mac clones, selling or copying Mac OS X in any incarnation, installing Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware, circumventing Apple’s control measures that prevent Mac OS X from being installed on non-Apple hardware, selling or other distributing technology that allows such circumvention, or helping anyone in such circumvention efforts.

While some tiny, bankrupt companies might have thrown in the towel at this point, Psystar appealed the case. On Wednesday, the Ninth Circuit issued its ruling in that appeal. A three-judge panel effectively upheld everything Judge Alsup had ruled in his decision, according to CNet.

Again, some companies faced with the obvious that they can’t make a living predicated on selling or cirucmventing a proprietary OS marketed and sold as a whole widget solution and protected by trademarks, copyrights, and an onerous law called the DMCA that favors IP holders would have simply given up after not one, but four federal judges told them so.

Not Psystar, though. A source told The Mac Observer that the company is asking for an en banc review, which means it wants the full court to check over the homework of the three member panel. If a majority of the judges agree to do so, they would then take a gander at both Judge Alsup’s ruling and the three-member panel’s review of that ruling.

If not, Pystar has the option of appealing its case to the U.S. Supreme Court.