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Psystar to countersue Apple, cites antitrust laws

updated 05:00 pm EDT, Tue August 26, 2008

Psystar countersuing Apple

Psystar, a Mac-clone manufacturer and defendant in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Apple, has been preparing its defense and is planning a countersuit. According to CNET, the legal battle between the two companies has been heating up for a while, beginning with Psystar's blatant modification of Mac OS X so it can be installed on its cheaper $400 PC. Apple finally filed suit on July 3rd after a long silence, following Psystar's release of the Mac OS X 10.5.4 update for free to its customers.

Apple's suit and Psystar's defense both center around the Mac OS X license that prohibits it from being installed on any other hardware. Apple claims this to be copyright infringement, while Psystar alleges that the license itself is a violation of antitrust laws. The company says that Apple inflates the prices for its hardware and the end user license agreement unfairly prevents other companies from competing with alternative systems.

The law firm representing Psystar is Carr and Ferrell, LLP, a firm which successfully sued Apple in 2006 in a patent infringement suit that lead to a $10 million out of court settlement. Psystar defiantly announced it was "definitely still shipping" its clones earlier this month. It was the first company to begin selling clones but a few other companies have since followed.

Apple appears to be preparing for the same angles with their an attorney James Gilliland, Jr, who is familiar with antitrust, breach of contract, and intellectual property suits. This is a high stakes fight for Apple: if they were to lose, the damage would be much larger than anything Psystar could inflict with their competing products. Many other companies have seen the opportunity in direct competition with Apple, but have not taken the risk of legal issues. A successful defense by Psystar, and more importantly a successful antitrust countersuit, would open the doors to companies eager to take a bite of Apple's market share.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    Remember IBM

    Apple could loose this. Remember IBM, they lost when Amdal created a IBM clone and ran IBM software on it.

  1. jameshays

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003



    "The company says that Apple inflates the prices for its hardware and the end user license agreement unfairly prevents other companies from competing with alternative systems."

    Apple doesn't stop you from competing. Windows and Linux compete just fine. You can compete all you want, you just can't compete by using their products. There's nothing wrong there. I can't wait to see this unfold. On the other hand, Psystar has absolutely nothing to loose here. Even if they loose, all they have to do is file bankruptcy. They have nothing to loose and everything to gain with this legal battle. The worst that would happen is they loose their business and they are set back a few years.

  1. icrew

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    Upgrade license

    I thought the only way to purchase a full license for Mac OS X was to buy a new Mac and get the license included with it. I always understood that the licenses in the boxed software were upgrade licenses, not full licenses.

    If that's accurate, what Pystar is doing would be analogous to purchasing an upgrade copy of Photoshop, hacking out the previous version check, and reselling it cheaper than Adobe does. That's very obviously illegal, ergo what Pystar is doing is illegal too.

  1. Koda

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2003



    Wasn't there something in the DMCA about reverse engineering software like what Pystar did to make the update work on their hardware?

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    On The Other Hand. . .

    "Apple could loose [sic] this." Covering the intellectual waterfront here . . . "Apple could also WIN this."

    Nowhere in Microsoft's current EULA does it specify the platform on which platform their software can be run. (They changed this policy briefly with VISTA, but soon backtracked thereon.)

    As a major shareholder of AAPL, I expect Steve and company to spare absolutely no expense to drive these cheap, opportunistic b******* into the sea. Let MSoft/Dell/et al live on bargain-basement software and components--not Apple.

  1. gambit-7

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2001



    Isn't this like complaining that only Pepsi sells Pepsi?

  1. nat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 2002



    I'm curious, did Amdal modify IBM's software to make it run?

    Jamesshays is right, this as no different than modifying PS3 software to make it run on your own game box, or modifying Xbox software for the same purpose.

    Inflates the price? Geesh, how many articles have to be written that show that comparable Windows machines cost roughly the same?

  1. dliup

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006



    Oh no, only Gucci can sell Gucci bags?! Only Tiffany can sell Tiffany jewelry? Why don't the scam artists from psystar go sue every single corporation?

    Not sure who has IQ low enough to pick up this case.

    PS. I like the photoshop example. You've nailed it.

  1. lkrupp

    Junior Member

    Joined: May 2001


    Putting up a front

    This is sounding more and more like Psystar is just a front operation for someone with deep pockets looking to test the legal waters. Psystar came out of nowhere. Where did they get their capital? Is the law firm representing them putting up the cash to carry this forward? This is going cost millions to carry through and Apple can keep it in the air for years, maybe a decade, if they want to.

    Follow the money. Something ain't quite right here.

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001


    oughta be open-and-shut

    if i understand correctly, they are not getting the licenses from Apple for these OS X installs?

    Then that is pretty much open-and-shut, shouldn't it be?

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