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.